Single-Leg X-Guard

The Single Leg X-guard is a very powerful guard that transfers well into the X-guard. I find that it’s good to enter the position when your opponent’s either being too aggressive in pushing for the mount, or too defensive, when you need to push one leg though to get your weight underneath them. Leo Kirby, who has studied Marcelo Garcias Jiu Jitsu deeply, writes:

I think this is the best kept secret of his guard game, and if you watch his matches closely you will see that he has used this sweep much more in the last couple of years then he has the traditional X guard.

He said the reason for that is because he could set it up with either an under hook OR an over hook on the leg he is attacking. Once people became used to his X guard game, they began working really hard at defending the under hook on the leg, effectively defending the X guard.

From the one legged X guard position Marcelo can control their base, sweep them, switch to the regular X guard, or attack with a foot lock (though he rarely does.)

He can set up the one legged X guard from almost any position from bottom including seated guard, half guard, or butterfly.

This is the technique as he taught it:
1. From butterfly, slide one leg between their legs (assume your left leg.)
2. Bring that knee up between their legs, and throw that foot over his right leg and place it tight against their side.
3. Pinch the leg that you now have controlled between both of your knees, keeping hard pressure on the leg.
4. Make sure that your knees are above their knee.
5. Extend your hips forward and lift them to finish the sweep.

Here, Demian Maia explains how to enter this position, which he calls the “Anaconda Guard:”

From here, there are obvious leg-locks. If they spin out they risk putting themselves in a knee-bar. Here’s a video of my doing this to a training partner at Dynamic. At 26 seconds, I elevate my partner with a butterfly hook and sit him into my 1-legged X-guard. His immediate reaction is to spin out, putting himself in a knee-bar. Most experienced opponents will not fall for this as they spin though, so be prepared to use a calf-slicer to take the back.

However, since this entry is about sweeps, we will attempt to elucidate how Marcelo Garcia uses this position to sweep his opponents. While theres a dearth of information about the 1-legged X-guard on youtube, there is quite a few videos about this position on Its worth getting a subscription to check out, and I believe that they offer free trials.

Marcleo often uses a knee-torque sweep from the 1-legged X-guard, where he directs his knees outward to break the balance of his opponent. In competition, though, he more often will use the position to transfer to the X-guard, as he does here against Kayron Gracie during his run at the 2010 Jiu Jitsu World Championships.

The one leg x guard (OLXG for now on) is difficult to describe without video, so its a good thing that someone posted the following on youtube. I don’t know how long this will stay up, so you may want to watch it sooner rather than later. Marcelo Garcia goes through some options for establishing the OLXG, positioning and trouble shooting within the OLXG and the basic knee torque sweep.

Alternatively you can switch to full X-guard from the OLXG as shown in the video of Marcelo Garcia against Kayron Gracie above. This puts you into a virtually guaranteed sweep which we looked at previously. However, you can also transfer to an alternate configuration of the X-guard that allows you to sweep into side control or take the back. Its a bit riskier, though, so proper control at all times is a must. Check out Rodolfo Vieira demonstrating the technique:

First Rodolfo enters the OLXG when his opponent puts his knee up for balance in Rodolfo’s open guard.
Using his knee to press into his opponents leg for control, Rodolfo swims his arm under his opponents leg. The only thing I would do differently here is to use the other hand to control the knee for the split second where you aren’t controlling your opponents leg as you make the transition.

Rodolfo circles his X guard hook under the leg to extend the X guard position. Instead of standing to sweep Rodolfo controls the sleeve and passes the leg over his head. It helps here to have the leg straight, since is will require less force to move it to the other side.

Still controlling the sleeve, Rodolfo grips the belt. He rocks back, bringing his opponents weight over top of him and elevates him briefly before letting his hooks go for an effortless sweep into a guard pass.

This article original featured on The Jiu-Jitsu Laboratory and has been reposted with the owners permission

About the author

Richard Presley

A purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Richard is the owner and primary writer of Attack The back. Check out my About Me Page to learn more!

Leave a Comment

Get 20% off our shop using the code LOCKDOWN20Shop Now