The Cross Sleeve Guard Is Your New Best Friend

The Cross Sleeve Guard Is Your New Best Friend

The Open Guard offers you so much choice for setting up your attacking game! There are a number of ways to set up offense from here, and if you haven’t read our two articles about the Collar Sleeve Guard – one of the best Open Guards out there – you definitely should!
This guard grants you an opportunity to set up yet another powerful position, one with heaps of attacks within its disposal… The Cross Sleeve Guard.

Alec Baulding explains the basics behind it and some of its great options.



When you’ve set up the Collar Sleeve Guard, Alec explains that your opponent might try to break your sleeve grip. To prevent that from happening, you can grip that sleeve with your other hand as well; which will give you tremendous pulling power. You need this power to separate the opponent’s elbow from their knee, which is very important if you want to start setting up submissions!

This newly found pulling excellence, however, also means that you can use the second grip alone; and thus establish the Cross Sleeve Guard. Now, once you have that grip, Alec shows that you’ll use your other arm to underhook the opponent’s leg, getting their ankle into the creek of your elbow. You could try keeping your far leg on their body, Alec points out, but that isn’t terribly important; unlike the second leg, which needs to stay on their hip. This is the starting point for your attacks.



Once you have the Cross Sleeve Guard in place, you can start setting up attacks. For starters, Alec demonstrates that you need to elevate your hips with your core and with the help of the foot you have on the opponent’s arm (if it’s still there). Then, remove the foot off their hip and stuff it over their back, while simultaneously „hiding“ their arm into your hip.
From there, swing your other leg so that you can shift your hips to the side, becoming more parallel with the opponent, and then cross your legs for an Omoplata position. Now you have three options, demonstrated by Alec.

Firstly, you can rock them down and then spin them across your body, almost in a barrel-row fashion. Secondly, if they step over you, you can let go of the grip, place your hands onto their legs and pull your knees inside; setting up a Crab Ride and a backtake in the process.
Finally, if they lower their far leg to the floor, Alec shows that you can let go of the sleeve grip and swing your far leg to the outside of their other one, creating a nasty Kneebar opportunity.



If your opponent starts posturing up, no worries! Alec shows that you can hook their knee with your far foot, using that foot and the one you have on their hip to come underneath their hips. Their foot will be next to your head, and your foot will be as high on their nearside hip as possible – it’s an X-Guard position. From there, you have a wide range of setups; such as the modified Collar Sleeve Guard. Now, you can shoot your leg over their back for a yet another Omoplata attack.
If your legs are too long for getting into the X-Guard, then – when you move your hips underneath the opponent’s – you can simply off-balance them by tilting them a bit more up front; and shoot for the Omoplata immediately after.


Watch Alec explain the Cross Sleeve Guard options in more detail on the video below: