When it comes to watching Jiu Jitsu matches I always tend to pick a specific athlete and watch a crap tonne of their matches as opposed to simply watching full events. When focusing on a certain athlete you start seeing the type of positions they favor and the go to techniques that they prefer.
I watched an interview with JT Torres a few weeks ago and he had a great attitude to competition and training. That is what encouraged me to have a look at some of his matches in depth. . Initially I was looking at doing a breakdown with his awesome leg drag passing, but then I noticed the De La X Guard appearing time and time again, seriously like every match and with a freaky high sweeping percentage as well.
The frequency with which JT goes for this position and the success he has with it says a great deal about its effectivness, and when guys like Michael Langhi are getting nailed with it you have to respect it.
At the lower levels of Jiu Jitsu mastery we have a tendency to abandon positions when we come across obstacles. At the higher levels the athletes know the positions they are great at and consistently find a way to get to those spots. From these strong positions they are ready to implement their attacks based on how the opponent responds. As with everything in jiu jitsu you earn what you have got. JT has certainly but the time in with his De La X Guard and has a tonne of faith in this position.
The De La X Guard
The deep DLR hook on the hip and the lower leg hook effectively ruins your opponents ability to move laterally. Using upper body grips and the powerful leg pressure of this position the bottom guy can effectively tilt their opponent to either side depending on their objectives.
If the top man drives forward or is pulled forward in this position he can expect to be on the bad end of the dump sweep shown in the first section of the video. If the top man keeps his weight back he is susceptible to single leg attacks.
One of JTs most common ways to get onto the single leg occurs when his opponent hides the far arm. This effectively prevents the dump sweep as the top man has a hand to post with. By switching to a collar grip and attempting the dump sweep JT can collect the posting arm and complete the initial sweep or use the momentary lack of forward pressure to come up onto the single leg take down.
Finally if the top man avoids the dump sweep and drives back into the single leg JT will sit back into the single leg X, very much like Torquinho would, but instead of heel hooking somebody’s leg to pieces he quickly changes to the full x guard and completes the sweep from there.
All in all there are not a great deal of fun options for the top guy when the De La X Guard is latched on and its a great way to deal with the combat base position.
The Lapel grip.
JT will change the nature of his grips depending on what he is trying to do. He is always going after the far arm to complete the dump sweep. But if thats not available he may go to the collar to help load his opponent onto the hips as mentioned above or grip on the lead leg to secure it.
One of the really cool grips he utilises really well is a variation on the lapel wedgy grip. I am sure there is a better way to describe this but my inner child have prevailed, he passes the far lapel to his outside hand behind his opponents knee. This kills the top mans posture and forces him to the inside and towards the dump sweep which is the first link in a chain of great positions JT uses really effectively.
Let me know what you think of this breakdown and if you would like some more,