Transitioning from Half Guard to X-Guard
Half guard is one of the most commonly utilized supine positions in Jiu Jitsu. This form of guard is popular because it allows for a lot of versatility in regards to sweeps, submission attacks to the upper body and lower body, and is also a good defensive position. In fact, many grapplers, especially bigger ones, prefer to play half guard as opposed to other guard because they can put a lot of pressure against their opponents in many different directions.
Half guard can be played in many different ways and as a result there are numerous subtypes of half guard each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Some of these subtypes include the lockdown, made famous by 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, Z-guard, commonly employed by Craig Jones, and finally butterfly half guard, used notoriously by leg lockers like Gordon Ryan and Garry Tonon.
The butterfly half guard, as the name suggests, is a combination of butterfly guard and half guard. It is widely popular among grapplers who use leg locks because it allows them to elevate and get under their opponents. In order to set up this guard from traditional half guard, the guard player should hip escape and place a butterfly hook using their top leg in between their opponents knees.
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One of the most popular techniques from butterfly half guard is the transition to X-guard. The reason transitioning to a different guard, namely X-guard, is valuable is that X-guard is a superior position to sweep from and enter leg locks. Watch the following video by BJJ Fanatics that illustrates how to execute this technique.
There are numerous options to consider once you have achieved the X-guard. Sweeps from this position are relatively easy because it is easy to off-balance opponents since the attacker has good control of their opponent’s lower body. The most common sweep from this position is the technical stand up sweep, which, as the name suggests, utilizes the basic technical stand up to sweep an opponent.
Another option the attacker may consider after getting to X-guard is transitioning to single leg-X guard. This is a great option if you feel like you can’t lock the X-guard tightly or if you want to transition to leg locks and other leg entanglements.
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