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The X-Guard: Gi Tips and Tricks from a Brown Belt Competitor


The X-Guard: Gi




If you are looking for a versatile and dynamic guard that works well in both gi and no-gi, you might want to consider the X-guard. The X-guard is a popular guard among high-level grapplers, especially those who like to attack the lower body. In this article, we will explain what the X-guard is, why it is effective, how to enter it, how to sweep from it, and how to submit from it.




The X-Guard: Gi


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What is the X-Guard?




The X-guard is a type of open guard where you position yourself underneath your opponent and hook your legs around their legs in an X-shape. You use your legs to control their balance and your arms to control their posture. The X-guard can be played with or without grips, depending on your preference and the situation.


Why is the X-Guard Effective?




The X-guard is effective because it gives you several advantages over your opponent:


  • You are directly under their center of gravity, which makes it easy for you to off-balance them and sweep them.



  • You have access to their legs, which opens up many opportunities for leg locks and other submissions.



  • You are protected from most of their attacks, such as punches, elbows, knees, and chokes.



  • You can transition to other guards easily, such as single leg X-guard, reverse X-guard, or 50/50 guard.



Benefits of the X-Guard




Some of the benefits of playing the X-guard are:


  • It works well in both gi and no-gi. You can use different grips depending on what you have available.



  • It is suitable for all levels of BJJ. You don't need any special attributes or skills to play the X-guard effectively.



  • It is fun and creative. You can experiment with different angles, movements, and attacks from the X-guard.



Drawbacks of the X-Guard




Some of the drawbacks of playing the X-guard are:


  • It can be hard to enter. You need to have good timing and mobility to get under your opponent and hook your legs around theirs.



  • It can be risky. If you lose control of your opponent's legs or posture, they can pass your guard or counterattack you.



  • It can be tiring. You need to constantly move your hips and legs to maintain pressure and leverage on your opponent.



How to Enter the X-Guard




There are many ways to enter the X-guard, but here are some of the most common ones:


From Butterfly Guard




The butterfly guard is a good starting point for entering the X-guard. Here are the steps:


  • Sit in butterfly guard with both hooks inside your opponent's legs and both hands on their collar and sleeve.



  • Pull them towards you and lift them slightly with your hooks.



  • As they try to base out, slide one of your hooks under their leg and hook it behind their knee.



  • Switch your grip from their collar to their far leg and pull it towards you.



  • Slide your other leg under their other leg and hook it behind their knee as well.



  • Adjust your position so that you are under their hips and your legs are crossed in an X-shape.



From Half Guard




The half guard is another good option for entering the X-guard. Here are the steps:


  • Lie on your side in half guard with one leg trapped and the other leg free.



  • Use your free leg to hook under their free leg and lift it up.



  • Use your arms to push their trapped leg away from you and create space.



  • Slide your trapped leg under their trapped leg and hook it behind their knee.



  • Switch your grip from their trapped leg to their far leg and pull it towards you.



  • Slide your free leg under their free leg and hook it behind their knee as well.



  • Adjust your position so that you are under their hips and your legs are crossed in an X-shape.



From Open Guard




The open guard is a more general term for any guard where you don't have closed legs around your opponent. You can enter the X-guard from many types of open guards, such as spider guard, de la Riva guard, or collar and sleeve guard. The steps will vary depending on the specific guard, but the general idea is to create an angle, elevate your opponent, and slide under them with your legs in an X-shape.


How to Sweep from the X-Guard




Once you have entered the X-guard, you can use it to sweep your opponent and get on top. There are many sweeps from the X-guard, but here are some of the most basic ones:


The Basic Sweep




This is the simplest and most common sweep from the X-guard. Here are the steps:


  • From the X-guard, control your opponent's posture with your arms and keep them off balance with your legs.



  • Pick a side and extend both of your legs in that direction, pushing your opponent's legs away from you.



  • As they fall to that side, release one of your hooks and follow them up, placing your foot on the floor for base.



  • Use your other hook to lift their leg up and prevent them from recovering their base.



  • Come up to a kneeling position and secure a top position, such as side control or mount.



The Stand Up Sweep




This is a variation of the basic sweep where you stand up instead of kneeling. Here are the steps:


  • From the X-guard, control your opponent's posture with your arms and keep them off balance with your legs.



  • Pick a side and extend both of your legs in that direction, pushing your opponent's legs away from you.