The ‘busted theory’ on the X-guard, with Marcelo Garcia and Vinicius Draculino

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Marcelinho Garcia demonstra a mecânica da guarda-X para um ensaio na revista GRACIEMAG. Foto: Dan Rod

Dan Rod

In a recent phone call with Prof. Vinicius Draculino, the Graciemag team learned some interesting details about the mechanic of the X-guard, one of the most used for sweeping in BJJ these days.

“There’s a myth that the guard player needs to have long legs to efficiently execute the X-guard,” said Draculino. “Marcelinho Garcia, who has short legs and is a great specialist in this position, is living proof that this theory is trash.”

“The most important fundamental for the practice of the X-guard,” continued the founder of Gracie Barra BH, “is knowing how to get under your opponent and not get frightened in this position. The guard player must develop the ability to move the passer up and place themselves below them, feeling comfortable there. You can’t afford to freeze up — the position requires mobility to get out and come back, defend and attack.”

Draculino salutes each one of his students


Although it seems like a simple technical detail, Draculino draws attention to the difficulty that beginners have taking risks in positions under the weight of their opponent’s body. Indeed, white-belts often have a phobia against seeking this kind of situation. They prefer to stay at a distance, due to a concern over being squeezed. “Before exorcising this fear of being under the opponent, they will never get along with the X-guard.”

But how does one defeat this fear? We proceeded to consult Marcelinho Garcia, the very X-guard genius mentioned by Draculino, and he had a great answer for Graciemag readers.

“It’s important to take risks,” he said. “You can never get stuck with what is comfortable. Refusing other techniques means limiting yourself — you don’t develop yourself. Being stagnant, without learning, is worse than losing in a training session.”

He added: “I evolved when I lost the fear to play wide open, to attack, try something, even if in the end it goes wrong and I get submitted. I lost the fear of failing, and so my game became complete.”

Be like Marcelinho and take more risks, dear reader. And maybe add the X-guard to your game in the near future.

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