The X Guard Position


The ‘X guard’ is a position that I’ve been using a lot recently. Depending on your point of view, it’s either a form of the open guard or the half guard, but whatever you call it, it’s effective as hell! You end up in X Guard a lot when you use the Butterfly Guard, especially when your opponent posts his foot to stop your sweeps.

In the X guard you are disrupting your opponent’s base and have many sweeping options. In this mini-article we are just focusing on how to correctly apply and maintain this position.

(How to actually use the X Guard to finish or sweep your opponent is explored in several grapplearts instructional products, including Grapplearts Guard Sweeps Package and/or the Black Belt Grappling Concepts Course.)

The X Guard position

The X guard.

You are positioned between your opponent’s legs. Here are some pointers to make sure that you are doing it correctly:

  • His foot is up on my right shoulder, not in the crook of my arm (which is a common mistake).
  • My right leg inserts through his legs and my right instep is nestled in the crease of his hip. My right knee is behind the plane of his body (difficult to see in this photo).
  • My left leg is positioned so that my instep hooks behind his right knee, pushing it away from me.
  • My right hand cups his leg, typically controlling it at the kneecap.

A variation of the Xguard position

X guard variation

Notice how my legs are stacked differently from the above position (left leg over right leg). Some people use this leg position and still call it the X guard. I don’t like this variation as much as the first variation I showed: there are less sweeping options from here. Nevertheless, sometimes you still end up in this position while scrambling and it is useful to know about.

The Scissor X Guard position

Scissor X guard

This is another similar position that I call the ‘Scissor’ X guard. In this guard:

  • You lie on your side, not flat on your back as in the above variations.
  • Your right foot is behind his leg, kicking it forward.
  • The sole of your left foot is pushing on his ankle, off-balancing him and stopping him from simply stepping that leg forward and passing your guard.
  • His left leg is on your shoulder and you are cupping his knee with your right hand.

Thanks to Loki Jorgenson for assisting with these photos

Stephan’s Note: For more information about the X Guard, including entries, sweeps, followups, drills and strategies, please take a look at the Grapplearts Guard Sweeps Package and/or the Advanced Techniques and Tactics DVDs that are part of the Black Belt Grappling Concepts Course.