The basics of BJJ are pretty simple. You will have to drill and master a few important positions, such as the full guard, the half-guard, the side-control and some others. You will also have to master a few basic moves such as the armbar, the kimura, the triangle, and some others. But if you wish to really get ahead in the art of BJJ, then you will have to learn other, less widely used positions. One such position is the X Guard.
Origin of the position
The X Guard was brought to prominence by none other than Marcelo Garcia himself – a BJJ legend. He implemented this position masterfully in many of his ADCC performances and the position became known because of it. Nowadays there are many BJJ practitioners that incorporate various elements of this position for the improvement of the game. Check out Marcelo Garcia X guard instructional: The X-Guard: Gi & No Gi Jiu-Jitsu.
How to get to this position
This is a guard that’s somewhat difficult to pull. In most cases, you will have to reach a certain position with your rolling partner before you will be able to get to the X Guard. In essence, you will have to lie down and your opponent to stand up. You will grab his front leg with your arm and then form two hooks with your feet on his hind leg – one from the outside and one from the inside. And this is the basis of the position – you’re now holding your opponent in the X Guard.
Benefits of using this position
While this is a relatively new position in the sport of BJJ – it was introduced pretty recently – the BJJ masterminds around the world, including Marcelo Garcia himself, have dedicated themselves to finding all of the quirks that this position has to offer. So, if you find that this is a position that you naturally gravitate towards – then you will be glad to learn that there are many attacks that you can try out from here. This is primarily known as a sweeping position – there are certain BJJ practitioners that don’t consider the X Guard to be a guard position per se.
Regardless of this, you can use the X Guard pretty effectively for the purpose of sweeping your opponent and getting to a more favorable position. By using your arm and your hooked feet you can pretty much decide in which way you’re going to destabilize your opponent. You can move him to the left or to the right, or you can pull him towards you and push him away from you. There are also many variations of leg attacks that you can perform from here – this is a position that we’re seeing more and more in tournaments that promote full leg attacks such as the EBI and Polaris. Moreover, you could do some nifty tricks here and perform a triangle or even take your opponent’s back.
Variations of the move
The most popular variation of the X Guard is the so-called single leg X Guard. This is a position in which you won’t form a cross with your legs. The reason why this variation still contains the letter “X” in the name is that you can use it to make a seamless transition to the full X Guard. In fact, you will be able to see many of the more experienced BJJ practitioners perform this transition on a regular basis. Not to say that this position has no merits of its own – it can be used phenomenally for the purpose of setting up leg attacks.
The X Guard, while relatively a novel position, remains one of the most potent weapons that you can use in the game of BJJ. Granted, this move is not for the beginners – if you’re a novice, then we recommend you to focus on the more basic positions and guards in BJJ. However, if you feel that you’re drawn to this position, then we recommend you to start drilling it with your mat-buddies. You will be surprised at just how potent can the X Guard be.