Artemis BJJ (7 Easton Rd), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK – 01/08/2022
X guard involves having one of your knees behind their leg, the foot hooking across their hip, while the other leg hooks behind their far knee. There are other variations, but this is the one I was taught by Henk Heneweer and find the easiest to use. In Henk’s grip, your arm then hooks around their nearest leg. Another common x guard grip is to instead grab on the inside of their leg.
A simple entry, which is most typically a drill, is to stamp on the floor between their legs to pull yourself under, then quickly bring your legs into position. You could also enter from single leg x, swivelling the foot you have on their hip into position for x guard if they push it off. Alternatively, it is possible to spin into x guard from the inside spiralhook. See below video for a brief demo.
When you pull yourself underneath, it’s important that you are right under their hips. The goal is to keep them off balance, constantly pushing and manoeuvring so they can’t establish a solid base. The more under their hips you are, the more effective that off-balancing will be. Too far away from their hips, and they will be able to just drop their weight and prevent your efforts to establish a good x guard.
To sweep from this position, we’re going to knock out their legs. If you can, secure their far sleeve, though the sweep will still function without it. Extend your hip-hooking leg, while your behind the knee leg drops and kicks their leg out. Follow them up, ready to pass the guard. It may be possible to establish a superior top position than that, but in the attempt you may end up vulnerable to being swept or reversed in the process. Hence why I prefer to settle for a solid guard passing platform.
It is also important to be able to switch into single leg x, in order to have a solid x guard. To counter x guard, they will often push your foot off their hip. When that happens, transfer you legs to their other leg, clamping your knees just above their knee. Your outside leg has a foot on their hip, your inside leg has a foot hooking behind their other leg. If they then push your foot of their hip, you can switch back into full x guard. It is also possible to do a simple sweep from single x, raising your hips and driving through.
Teaching Notes: Is it too much to have both techniques? I think they need to be taught together, as pushing that foot off is so common, but I could try seperating them out. Also, remember to emphasise getting your hips underneath, the whole guard messes up if you don’t have your hips underneath them.