Sometimes when I start an article, I wonder what can I tell about the technique history. In fact, not all the guard have a clear background like the DLR, for example. They have been more or less always there, from the very beginning, like the closed guard.

Today’s guard, is one guard that doesn’t have a clear beginning, we just know it has been popularized by the great Marcelo Garcia: The X-guard.

This guard is an excellent tool to add to your game, it is amazing to sweep people when they are standing and you are on the ground. Not amazing for submitting, recently the X-guard has been developed to do lower-body submissions.

The X-guard helped many champions to win titles over the years. This guard is so efficient because you are underneath your opponent, having an amazing control on his legs and balance. Add all the leg attacks that are combinable with this and you will have a redoubtable ground game.


Regular x-guard:


There are many different style of X-guard, but we will develop the regular one, to start. So the position is quite simple: You need to lie down while your opponent is standing. You grab his front leg with your arm and you put two hooks with your feet on his hind leg, one from the outside and one from the inside. As well, pull your hooks apart, itwill give you a greater control and keep your knees wide.

X guard sweep

Many people do the contrary with the knees, keeping them close thinking the hooks will be better. Instead, you want the hooks to pull in two different directions, to be able to play with his movements. From your upper body, your opponent’s leg need to be in contact with your shoulder, not your biceps, always to get a better and stronger control over his legs.

The controls:

As I said previously, the X-guard offers an amazing control over your opponent. A very big amount of regular guard passes do not work, the unbalance your opponent will face will be very uncomfortable for him. You will have the control of his mouvements, to move him forwards, backwards, on the sides…

Settling the X-guard is 80% of the hard work, once engaged, the swip is almost inevitable. But the X-guard is not a control guard to rest, you must attack quickly, otherwise you will give him time to think about the pass and give him the opportunity to have a greater balance. So don’t stay on the X-guard for a long time, just attack straight away, it will avoid you to make such a energy consuming job useless.


Why using the X-guard?

It is a very much used guard nowadays. You can see this guard on the highest competitions, so it is getting very popular. So, even if you don’t like it, you need to know it to keep your defense alert.


Few sweeps exist, i will write here two of the most common one:

The sit-up sweep. For this sweep:

  1. You extend your legs as you come up on your elbow.  
  2. You take your top hook off and come to your hand,
  3. You do a technical stand up while keeping your opponent’s other leg tight to your shoulder.

The X-guard trip:

  1. You drop your bottom hook to your opponent’s ankle,
  2. Pull your hooks apart.

Here a video showing those two sweeps by Marcelo Garcia. Those sweeps can be both used in GI and No-gi. 

xguard attack

Lower Body attacks:

The list of IBJJF Legal lower body attack is very tight. But fortunately they exist lots of ways to catch them. I will leave you some very good instructional videos, as always, i really believe that a video is a better way to get a technique or a submission. It is more visual, you have live informations. Of course, it is always better to ask your own professor ;).

I would like particularly to insist on the safety point, leg locks can be dangerous, they may break someone’s knee forever, so, please, follow the instructions, train safely and start softly. You don’t want to break someone’s ACL or your own.

Here is a list of good instructional videos i did find online, leg locks attacks from the X-guard:


Enjoy your trainings and train safe 😉

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