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Using Single Leg X and X Guard for Lower Body Attacks

Using Single Leg X and X Guard for Lower Body Attacks

Lower body attacks have recently exploded with popularity.  There is a sensation sweeping the Jiu Jitsu world and that is lower body attacks.  Everybody wants to learn how to develop a good system for attacking and defending the lower body.  We are here to help you develop a system of attacks for lower body submissions.  Why is everyone trying to learn leg locks in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu now?  Well, this could be attributed to a number of variables.  The first being the rise of submission only and professional bjj events.  

We have recently seen a massive increase in sub only formatted tournaments.  We have things like the Eddie Bravo Invitational, Fight To Win Pro, Metamoris, and all of these other sub only or "professional" bjj events.  More than the events, what has triggered this obsession with lower body attacks is the fact that the guys winning these events are using leg locks to do so.  If you want to learn more on why leg locks are here to stay check out our article "Leglocks: they're here to stay." So how can we learn lower body attacks?  Are we to far behind? 

A good place to start learning lower body attacks is to start learning the single leg X Guard and the X Guard.  These guards were popularized by one of the greatest grapplers of all time, Marcelo Garcia and he never did leg locks.  Learning these will allow us to develop an offense, a defense and knowledge on how leg locks work.  The single leg X Guard and the X guard are like the advanced fundamentals of leg locks.  You can use these positions for so much. Let's have a look at why you NEED to know the single leg X guard and the X guard to do leglocks below. 

Single Leg X for Lower Body Attacks

Single leg X has quickly become one of the most popular guards that we see today due to the prevalence of leg attacks from this position.  The single leg X is also referred to as Ashi Garami.  If you are following bjj these days then you know that submission only tournaments have exploded with popularity recently and as a result, so have leg locks.  We see more leg locks than we have seen before in the past. 

Competitions like Fight To Win Pro, Eddie Bravo Invitational, Polaris, and all of the other submission only events have lead to an evolution in bjj.   Many of us are familiar with the dreaded Danaher Death Squad.  If you are not, it is an elite group of athletes who implement the famous John Danaher Leg Lock system.  Garry Tonon, Gordon Ryan, Eddie Cummings, and Nicky Ryan are just some of the names that this team is comprised of.  All of these athletes have an absolute mastery of the single leg X position.  

The reason they have so much success with lower body attacks is because of how much knowledge they have on the single leg X.  The single leg X is like the closed guard of lower body attacks.  It is the position that everything else is developed from.  You can do ankle locks, heel hooks, estima locks, toe holds, and more.  

If you want to learn how to do leg locks, your starting point should be the ashi garami, AKA Single leg X.   Many people try and learn how to finish the leg locks without ever having drilled the single leg X or learning the intricacies of the position. Single leg X is the MOST important guard for leg locks.  

One thing we cannot forget about the single leg X is that it is a GUARD.  Single leg X was utilized by the best grappler ever, Marcelo Garia and he never went for lower body attacks.  He just used this position to control his opponent and sweep them. 

Many people constantly assume the Single Leg X or “Ashi Garami” is only a position for submissions and overlook the sweeping and control capabilities of the guard.  Some people actually don’t even consider the Single Leg X a guard and consider it similar to being in an armbar when their opponent is defending, or in the diamond position before a triangle is locked up.  If you want to check out an awesome sweep from Single Leg X, check out our post “The Best Single Leg X Sweep.”

The Single Leg X guard has been proven time and time again to be one of the best and most effective guards for sweeping your opponent.  It’s actually one of the most effective and utilized guards in the Black Belt World Championships every year. Check out this single leg X entry with Craig jones below.  Craig is quickly becoming one of the best leg lockers there is.

X Guard For Lower Body Attacks

The X Guard is one of the most popular guards in sport Jiu Jitsu today.  There are several reasons that make the X guard an incredible option for the open guard player.  The X guard has incredible sweeping power, and it is one of the best guards to play for attacking the lower body, but there are not many traditional submission opportunities from this position. 

The X guard was popularized by Marcelo Garcia who utilized its effectiveness in the highest level competition.  The benefits of the X guard include how functional it is in both gi and nogi, the high percentage sweep success, leg lock attacks, and the defense.  There are a few submissions that may present themselves from X guard, but at the highest levels of competition, it is rare to see them.

The X guard may be one of the best guards to play if you are trying to attack the lower body.  Lower body attacks have exploded with popularity in the last few years.  There are several contributing factors that have made the lower body attacks so popular lately.  There are many submission only tournaments that are giving grapplers and opportunity to perform like professional athletes.  Tournaments like the Eddie Bravo Invitational, Metamoris, Fight to Win and other have given us a platform to utilize leg reaps and heel hooks as we mentioned above.

The increasing popularity of leg reaps and heel hooks has not only led to an increase in lower body attacks but it has also led to a dramatic increase of opportunity from the X Guard.  The x guard is one of the best places to get to the heel hook, the toe hold, the knee bar, and many other attacks.  Prior to the introduction of a lot of these tournaments we did not even get to see the X guard being used to its true potential. 

In the X guard you are completely underneath your opponent and this will allow you to elevate them and attempt to get some leg locks.  The X guard also goes hand in hand with the single leg X Guard which may be the absolute best position for leg locks.  These two guards supplement each other very well.  If you are aspiring to become the next Gordon Ryan and want to learn some leg locks, one of the best places to start you adventure would be with the single leg x guard and the x guard.  Both of these positions are the most promising for attacking the lower body.  Check out this video below with none other than the amazing John Danaher where he goes into several details about the heel hook, but also shows us some X guard things. 

So there you have it.  In order to progress on the lower body attacks you will want to develop a system and this system should consist of the single leg X and X.  These are only two of the positions that can be used to help with leg entanglements and attacks but they are two of the most important.  

Once you are able to develop a system from these positions you can take it to the next level and start to use other leg entanglement positions.  The benefit of learning these guards is not only that you will be able to attacks the lower body but it is also that you will be able to use these guards always.  These are "Guards" first and foremost.  They are used to control and sweep your opponent and they are some of the best guards in bjj.  They are extremely versatile and you can use them in different tournaments like the IBJJF.  

If we have keened your interest and now you want to really learn lower body attacks then you should check out the bible of lower body attacks in John Danahers 8 part system "Leglocks: Enter The System."  This is the number one selling instructional set that has ever hit the market and for good reason.  John Danaher is the most sought after instructor there is and he has an abundance of knowledge on all things bjj, especially lower body attacks.