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The X Pass, Simple, Versatile and Effective
Passing the guard can be one of the most difficult tasks in BJJ. It can be nearly impossible to pass your opponent’s guard. Developing a good guard passing game is essential to improving in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If you have not yet established a good guard passing game, check out our article “Developing your Guard Passing.”
Today, we discuss one of the most versatile, effective and simple passes you can learn, the X pass. The X pass is an extremely good pass because it works against multiple guards, it works extremely well in gi and nogi, and it can be a quick pass that chains together with other passes.
The X pass vs Open Guards
The X pass is one of the best and simplest ways to pass the open guard. The pass occurs when you are in a one in and one out passing position. This means that one of your legs is in between your opponent’s legs, and the other is on the outside. For instance, in De LA Riva, Reverse De La Riva, and many other open guards, you will naturally be in the one in one out position. You must keep one hand on your opponent’s chest or lapel to keep them on the mat, and the other on their knee on the side you’re passing.
If you are passing to the left (more common) your right hand will be on your opponent’s chest or lapel, and your left will be on their knee or pant grip. You would apply forward pressure on your opponent’s chest or lapel by supporting your body weight with the grip, and you would alleviate all the pressure and kick your right leg back as you push down their knee, then go to knee on belly. Seems complicated, right? We have a video below of JT Torres who is amazing at this pass breaking down how to do it, and hot to beat De La Riva with the X pass.
X Pass Versatility
The X pass is one of the most versatile passes. It works extremely well in gi, nogi, and even MMA. This is because it is not very grip dependent. Marcelo Garcia often uses the X pass in nogi and has an extremely high success rate.
The X pass can be applied with a hand on the chest or sternum and a hand on the knee. The mechanics of the pass are the exact same in gi and nogi. The reason It is so effective nogi is because it is an extremely quick and aggressive pass. If your opponent elects to play butterfly guard, you can push them down and pass simultaneously with the X pass. Check out what we mean with this video below where Marcelo Garcia breaks it down.
X Pass and Aggression / Chaining Passes Together
The X pass is also a great pass because of how fast it can be applied. Since it is not very grip dependent you can just engage your opponent quickly with an X pass. In BJJ, sparring often starts with either both people on their knees or one of them is sitting guard (butterfly). If someone is sitting guard when you start your roll or sparring session, you can use the X pass as an engagement point. You can simultaneously push your opponent down, jump passed and push their knee down as well. It can be an extremely fast pass.
You can also chain passes together with the X pass. If your opponent is good and they invert as you pass you can start to do other passes like leg drag, and if they hook the leg that your kicking up, you can do folding passes and knee slides with the X pass. Check out this video below of a folding pass. This is a great pass to chain together with the X pass.
If you want to implement the X pass into your arsenal, check out JT Torres 4 DVD set “Passing, Back Takes, and Finishes.” JT is one of the best passers in BJJ and one of his favorite passes is the X pass. The first DVD in this set is devoted entirely to the X pass.