is Single Leg X or Ashi Garami the same thing or is there is slight difference between them. I see some guys mixing up the two names so now I'm confused. Can anyone make this a little clear for me ?

3 Answers 3


This is what Eddie Cummings calls "basic Ashi garami". Note that he is on his side with his chest facing outwards, outside foot on the hip and inside foot hooking the far thigh; opponent's trapped knee is also pointing slightly outwards. Now, compare that to Marcelo Garcia's Single X-guard and see that the main difference is that Marcelo's chest is facing towards opponent and the opponent's knee is bent inwards rather than slightly outwards. While generally in Ashi garami the inside foot hooks the far thigh and in Single-X it hooks the near thigh, these positions allow variations such as Marcelo hooking the far thigh, Marcelo hooking the near thigh and underhooking the ankle, Marcelo underhooking the ankle and hooking the far thigh, Eddie hooking the near thigh.

Watching more competition/rolling tape for both competitors, I am getting the impression that every variation that could be labelled as differentiating between Single-X and Ashi garami is negligible. Aside from the opponent's base (feet/knee/butt), the main distinction I see is in the purpose rather than in the geometry of the position, with the surrounding technique systems making the real difference. Even though an ultimate answer should not rely on footage from just two guys, I think their mastery of the position shows well enough how many variations of angle there can be and how one approach blends into the other, while keeping the same position in a more general sense.

The reasons for which I advise against seeing them as different positions are:

  • Simplification: remembering one more position is more work, and differentiating them is even more work. The controlled leg can be overhooked or underhooked, held at the ankle or at the heel, the inside leg can hook the near thigh or the far one, the chest can be pointed towards the opponent or outwards; see this example for something hard to classify. The risk is oversimplification: in fact we have half guard, knee shield half guard, deep half guard, lockdown half guard, reverse half guard, quarter guard. Since not every technique is available from each of these positions, there is a need to distinguish them. This leads onto the next point:
  • Interconnection: as pointed out by Dave Liepmann, Single-X has been associated with sweeps and Ashi garami with leglocks. Realizing that you can sweep from Ashi-garami and go for a heel hook from Single-X is advantageous. This is possible because every technique is available from one position is also available from the other, with the only obstacle I see being the opponent's base: standing, kneeling or sitting.

Finally, in the case we consider them as distinct positions then this technique would maybe be a transition rather than a sweep. This would lead to problems like the ones that surrounded whether or not to award sweep points to 50/50 sweeps, which eventually needed a special treatment (see 5.7.6).

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    My use and understanding is that SLX puts guardiero's bottom/inside foot hooking the thigh of the same leg as the guardiero's outside/hip-blocking foot. Isn't the opposite-thigh hook reserved for when the sweep has been executed and the guardiero is preventing a stand-up? Jun 19, 2016 at 6:21
  • That is a good use, but it's not the only one. If the opponent is standing then inside foot usually hooks the near thigh, but the far thigh can be hooked to stop a backstep pass. On the other hand, if the opponent is on his far knee you can use your shin to stop a pass to mount, as advised by Marcelo. Jun 20, 2016 at 9:19
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    I guess my current impression is that orthodox SLX is both of my legs on one of my opponent's legs with me facing them, whereas orthodox AG is my chest facing outwards, one leg reaping and the other hooking under the far leg. While both allow for tremendous variation and leaving the position for specific reasons, those seem to be the "base" of each game/position. That would make them very similar but not identical. It's almost like both ashi-garami and single-leg x-guard are instantiations of a more fundamental conceptual position. Jun 20, 2016 at 14:12
  • Answer updated in order to address your comments. Thank you for being maieutic. Jun 20, 2016 at 18:26
  • Thanks for bringing the knowledge (and links! wow!) necessary to have this level of discussion. These details are almost all new to me, as is my word of the day, 'maieutic'! Jun 20, 2016 at 19:37

My current understanding is that basic Ashi Garami is essentially the same leg configuration as Single Leg X guard (SLX), but that because the position is often used with a different strategy, some people keep the two mentally separate. This might be useful or it might hinder understanding--I don't know. I haven't studied Danaher's system in depth, and it's extremely likely that people who do have strong opinions regarding nomenclature and the relationship between the positions.

This breakdown of the positions shows the standard Ashi Garami to be equal to SLX. To me, this isn't a position that one would hang out in while using SLX, since people are usually wearing their "guard hats" while playing SLX, and are looking for the sweep. But viewing it as ashi garami opens up leglocks and nearby IBJJF-illegal leg control positions that aren't part of old-school SLX play.

  • Looking at Danahar's system you can see there are some small key details about the differences between single leg x and ashi when applying leg locks @Dave Liepmann May 17, 2016 at 13:34
  • @ThatOneQuestionn I'd be interested to read links; I haven't yet seen his system described in detail. May 17, 2016 at 14:25

Do you differentiate between anaconda guard (ashi gurami), and single leg x where the hook is behind the knee instead of on the hip like in a footlock position?

At my club we call ashi garami anaconda guard, much easier to pass this guard than the single leg x where the hook is behind the knee so it cannot be easily pushed off.

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