24 Jan 2016

DVD Review - Single Leg X-Guard by Gianni Grippo / Digitsu

Black belt competitor Gianni Grippo runs through the main entry methods and sweeps available from the single leg x-guard - a position that is among the many specialist guards taught by Gianni's instructor Marcelo Garcia. This instructional is aimed at those who are comfortable with their open guard. The techniques only show entries and sweeps from the single leg x-guard, they do not show the passes that follow. A couple of regular X-guard sweeps are thrown in at the end for good measure. Overall, an excellent short instructional from Gianni and Digitsu, ideal for intermediate to advanced players but beginners may want a more general introduction to the regular X-guard and a grounding in guard passing before tackling the single leg X.

Available from Digitsu as On Demand content, DVD disc or iTunes app.
Cost: on demand $24.99, DVD disc $39.99
Running length: 90 minutes
Chapters: 20

The single leg x-guard (here on in written as 'singleX') is a strong holding and sweeping position. It relies on the foot of your outer leg being placed firmly on the opponent's hip, while your other (inside) leg is placed firmly against the inner thigh of your opponent, a bit like reverse DLR foot placement. With your hips held high and your legs squeezed tight, it is very difficult for your opponent to pass, escape or pressure you. It is also a fairly straightforward matter of executing the basic sweep from this position, but it can also transition to the regular X-guard quite easily.

Here is a cool video showing Marcelo Garcia sparring with Cobrinha. Check out the number of times Marcelo seeks the singleX position and then successfully executes his sweeps from there...

One possible concern with the foot-on-hip placement is the notion of knee reaping. The IBJJF rules do not allow any inward pointing pressure on the opponent's knee joint and they will disqualify if you place your foot and lower leg right across your opponent's thigh. To the untrained eye, the singleX could appear to be in breach of these rules, however when used correctly, there is absolutely no knee reaping involved and on its own will not be penalised by a qualified referee.

Here's another video showing the singleX in action, this time featuring Leandro Lo (single x begins at 3mins)...

DVD Production and Contents
There are twenty chapters altogether which divide roughly into two main portions - how to get to single X and how to sweep from singleX...
Single Leg X Entry
Single Leg X Entry - RDLR
Single Leg X Entry - Spider Guard
X Entrance
Single Leg X Drill
Single Leg X To X-Guard Drill
Basic Sweep
Basic Sweep - 2
Over Head Sweep
Toe Hold
Waiter Sweep
Waiter Sweep To Leg Drag
Waiter Sweep To Back Take
Back Take Elevator Sweep
X-Guard Technical Stand Up
X-Guard Backwards Sweep
X-Guard Back Take Ankle Pick
X-Guard Pass Counter

The other Gianni Grippo / Digitsu production I have reviewed is the Next Gen De la Riva DVD. The former suffered from poor quality production (but great techniques), the singleX set more than makes up for it with very high quality footage, sound, edits and camera angles. For each technique, Gianni breaks down the technique bit by bit at first, then repeats it with more instruction, before ending the chapter with the movement in real time and then in slomo. There is a short preamble before each chapter, but not much discussion of concept or theory ala Ryan Hall. It is a no-nonsense straight to business run though of the singleX and what you can do with it.

Technique highlights and rolling practice
Gianni teaches each technique very well, offering a lot of spoken explanation of the small details that can make or break the success of the move.

Here is a sample chapter from the Digitsu Youtube channel: http://www.digitsu.com/gianni-grippo-single-leg-xguard-dvd-p-64.html

I found the singleX to be fairly straightforward to get into from a variety of guard positions - reverse DLR being a particular favourite of mine but I also have success with spider guard into singleX. For DLR fans, the singleX should be a natural to enter.

From the singleX position, I found the basic sweep to be incredibly easy to execute. I like the way Gianni adds a few extra details that make the sweep more dynamic. In addition to sweeps, there are also a few submissions available from the singleX, notably the toe hold and the straight ankle lock, though when I used the singleX, I myself got caught out one time with a straight ankle lock - it is possible I was not placing my hip high up enough thus weakening my position and leaving my foot on the opponent's hip in a vulnerable manner.

The last 4 or 5 chapters are regular X-guard based techniques. I assume these were added because the singleX itself transitions so smoothly to the regular x-guard that it was worth adding these to show the options available...either that or they just wanted to make it up to 90 minutes of instruction time. Regardless why, it's a good way to see how easy it is to play with both positions. In fact the drill from singleX to regular X guard that Gianni shows in Chapter 6 is very useful.

Like many recent Digitsu videos, this set is short and sweet. It offers the viewer the chance to explore a singular position with a high level of detail without going overboard with thousands of hours of footage. 90 minutes and around 20 chapters is perfect to consume in bite sized chunks when viewed on your mobile or tablet while out and about. That being said, there isn't much discussion why the singleX is such a great position, it simply assumes you want to learn it having already decided that it is a good thing to use (it is!) However this set does not expand on passing techniques once you have completed the singleX sweep - Gianni leaves these open for you the viewer to choose how to progress from the sweep. Overall, a well made set of jiu jitsu techniques that are simple to apply at any level. Personally I feel beginners might prefer to get more familiar with X-guard and guard passage prior to studying the singleX.


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Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.



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