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Transitioning from De La Riva to X-Guard
There is a lot of interplay and connectivity between the different open guards utilized in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Being a great guard player doesn’t mean being great at one type of guard, but learning to connect them together to get the desired results the guard player has such as sweeping and submitting.
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When playing a certain open guard, we get so attached to the idea of using only that guard in that specific circumstance to sweep and submit from. We often fail to realize that sometimes, it is a better option to transition to a different guard that may be more effective.
X-guard is one of those open guards that are pretty much fail proof unless you are going against someone way better than you. X-guard works so well because it allows the guard player to have tremendous control of the top player’s entire lower body. This is unfortunate, however, because it can be extraordinarily difficult to catch X-guard.
De la riva guard, on the other hand, is an open guard position that is very easy to catch, but the consequence of this is that it can be difficult to sweep from. De la riva guard is a great position to control the top player and should be used as such, but we should always be ready to transition to another guard that is more effective, namely X-guard. In the following video by BJJ Fanatics, you will see how this transition between the two guards can be done.
The hard part about transitioning to X-guard from any position is that it is difficult to get under the leg you will end up controlling with you are hands. From de la riva guard, however, it is easy to get the close side leg lifted, as all it requires is the forcing the top player to focus their weight on their far side, which can be done by pushing the far leg and twisting them.
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Another similar transition that can be done the same way is moving to single leg-X instead of full X-guard. Instead of reaching it for the far leg, let it wrap around the close side leg. This is a great transition for grapplers who like to play with leg locks.