Tonight was a great opportunity for me to really put my new single leg x guard strategy to the test. During sparring, the head coach had us start from that position, and also showed a few ways to counter the single leg x guard. I was on my back, trying all my recently learned single leg x guard moves, while one after another upper belt came in on top. Three things emerged from this. One is that I have to do a better job of controlling the person’s right arm, especially if I transition from there to full x guard. Another is that I have to be constantly working to get a sweep, or if possible, latch onto the foot lock. If I rest for too long in that position, it will give the other person more opportunities to escape. Finally, I have to really be much more careful not to accidentally bring my left foot across the person’s stomach after entangling his right leg. This is called reaping the knee, and is illegal under IBJJF rules, although it is apparently still allowed under the ADCC rule set. Ironically, the knee reap version of the technique appears to be the oldest version of the move. It is still part of the kodokan judo curriculum, where it is known as ashi garami (leg entanglement), and is classified as kinshi waza (forbidden move). It’s a shame that it was banned from sport judo, because it has since proven to be a relatively safe move to do in competition, provided that a few adjustments are made to the original technique. The advantage of this is that a simple throw away move in judo has now become a sophisticated sweeping system in sport BJJ. Marcelo Garcia appears to be one of the biggest innovators with respect to this move.

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