How To Attack From The X Guard BJJ

How To Attack From The X Guard BJJ

As the evolution of BJJ has continued, so have many of the techniques. BJJ has grown to become an extremely versatile sport. Techniques have evolved tremendously and especially so with the guard games played in Jiu Jitsu.  

One of the more advanced guard techniques that was developed was the X Guard. This guard is considered an open guard position allowing you to control your opponent with very little effort.   

If you are just starting out, this can be one of the trickiest guards you will likely encounter. In this guide, we take a look at How to Attack from X Guard, one of BJJ’s advanced open guard positions.

What Is The X Guard For?

The X guard BJJ is a position predominantly used for sweeps. You position yourself under the opponent’s hips to take their base away and set up a sweep.  

In a traditional X guard position, you have an under hook on one of the opponent’s legs. Your legs are crossed around their other leg in the shape of an X. Hence the name! 

X Guard

Origins Of The X Guard

The grappler credited with presenting the X guard is one of the greatest that’s ever done it – Marcelo Garcia. In the 2003 ADCC, Marcelo used the X guard BJJ to take out many of the competitors he faced.   

His continuous use of the X guard helped win him the prestigious ADCC championship. After the win, many other BJJ practitioners started taking note of the technique. Later, the technique became increasingly popular and became an instant favorite for many practitioners.   

Thanks to Marcelo, the X guard became a popular position to use in BJJ. Many different effective X guard techniques are still being created to this day! 

How To Do The X Guard

To some, the X guard is more of a position to get sweeps than a traditional guard. It is one thing to do sweeps from the X guard and it is another to even get in the position.   

The process of getting into X guard can be tricky for some and especially for newer grapplers. It isn’t like traditional guards, where you start there. You have to work into the position before you set up a sweep.  

Generally, your opponent needs to be standing for you to get into X guard. Take control of their lead leg and move yourself under the opponent.  

From there, your inside leg comes through and hooks the top of their far leg. Your inside leg hooks the same leg, but under your inside leg making the X shape.  

Now, you have the opponent’s base compromised. You can now sweep the opponent in any direction you may choose.  

This variety of attacks is what makes the X guard so effective and popular to use.  

Getting to the X Guard is a process – here’s a good breakdown to get into the X guard: 

Basic X Guard Sweep

One of the first basic sweeps from X guard BJJ is where you essentially do a technical stand up. This sweep starts from the basic X guard position with an underhook of the lead leg.  

Push their far leg out with your crossed legs, then turn on your side and stand straight up. Try not to push forward or you may be in danger of getting triangle choked.  

Also, before you stand up be sure to grip the opponent’s knee for the best control. There’s many ways to finish the sweep, so the finish is entirely up to you.  

Chewjitsu does an excellent demo for the basic X Guard Sweep: 

No Gi X Guard Sweep/Butterfly Entry

Here is an X guard technique for no gi that also has a different entry from Butterfly guard. From Butterfly guard, you rock the opponent backward and forward and as a reaction they may stand to defend.  

When they stand this opens the entry for X guard. Now from X guard, the sweep is very simple and easy.  

All you have to do is take your bottom leg and place it behind the opponent’s ankle. Push them backwards to get the sweep, but remember to control their leg as you get up. This will prevent them from defending and recovering.  

This sweep is a classic technique Marcelo Garcia uses. Watch him take you through the steps below. 

X Guard Sweep Back And Side to Side

As you can tell, all of the sweeps from X guard work off one another. If one sweep doesn’t work, you can go to another. They’re all connected. 

If the basic sweep forward we described earlier doesn’t work, you can sweep the opponent over by rolling. They stuff the sweep going forward, grab a sleeve and use their momentum to sweep them with a back roll.  

Sweeping side to side in X guard also meshes well together. Just like in the no gi technique above control their knee, hook their ankle, and sweep them backwards.  

If going backwards isn’t working and all of their weight forward, you can sweep them in that direction. Especially if their hands are on the ground.   

All you have to do is take wrist control on their far arm and tip them over. Watch Stephan Kesting does an excellent demonstration below: 

X Guard Back Take

There is also a slick back take you can do from the X guard that is really easy to do. The first step from traditional X guard is to stretch out your opponent.  

Their base should be wide, off balanced, and have space for you to move to the back. Keep your top X guard hook, then swim both hands behind your opponent’s legs, and control the belt.  

Next bring your bottom hook to their other leg, pull on their belt, and kick your legs forward. This will drop them to their butt and all you have to do is get your hooks and consolidate back control.

Tips For Attacking From X Guard

  • Control Their Legs: Whether you have an underhook or overhook on the opponent’s leg you have to control it. If you don’t have good control they can get out or defend it by dropping their knee on your chest or face. 

  • Crossing Your Legs: Remember that your inside leg needs to be on top and your outside leg is on bottom. Having your legs crossed the other way will allow your opponent to push your legs down and get out. 

  • Use Your Opponent’s Momentum: The X guard is all about using the opponent’s own momentum against them. Find which direction their base is weak and take them that way.

Final Thoughts

While the X guard may seem complicated it’s really not. The only difficult part may be learning the entries into the X guard. After you learn the entries, the sweeps should come pretty easy.  

It just takes a little practice and you can be sweeping everybody from X guard in no time. Also, once you get some of the sweeps down, you can start drilling some of the submission setups.  

The X guard is a fantastic system of techniques that all grapplers must learn. It has also evolved into positions like single leg X guard, where other sweeps and subs, and leglocks are available.  

Keep on drilling those X guard techniques - it will drastically evolve your game to another level!