Do you shy away from playing lapel based guards because you think your legs are TOO short?

Do people call you Frodo on the mats?

When you buy a new gi, do you look like a 4-year-old wearing their dad’s robe?

It’s ok, even though you may be short in a world where the players with the longest legs have the greatest guards…

… I’m here to let you know, you don’t have to suffer.

There’s a common misconception in the Jiu Jitsu community that you HAVE to have Inspector Gadget legs to play the Worm Guard or any other lapel based guard!

The truth is, your only limitation when it comes to playing the Worm comes down to your approach…

Specifically…

Your approach to your approach…

Just Like Rock Beats Scissors, Covert Beats Overt

It’s super important you understand that it doesn’t matter how long your legs are when you play the Worm Guard, if you telegraph your entry, you’re…

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… (You get the idea)

Now that the word about the Worm is out, it’s getting more and more difficult to set up the guard from a straight forward caveman type approach…

Instead, for greater success, and even greater frustration for your opponents, your best bet is to have entries from a variety of other guards, peeling the lapel and securing your grip while your opponent tries to navigate a different guard.

Now, those of us with short legs (yes, your faithful Author is also a Hobbit) could find this task a little difficult, especially when our opponents are using our lack of length to their advantage.

But this doesn’t mean all hope is lost…

Don’t roll up your gi and belt and go home, just yet.

There are other guards, that work VERY well for shorties, like you and I, that can be used effectively as channels for covert entry into the Worm.

Let’s take a look at one of those guards, right now…

The Single Leg X Guard

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In fact, one of the greatest Jiu Jitsu competitors of all time, Marcelo Garcia, who just happened to have short (yet super girthy) legs was a huge proponent of the Single Leg X and Regular X Guards in his stellar competitive career.

The beauty of the Single Leg X is, unlike other guards, it doesn’t require Go-Go-Gadget like legs to hook, weave or push distant limbs, which an opponent can step back or hide.

The Single X utilises the concentration of your body as a whole against one limb of your opponent’s (i.e. their closest leg to you) making it excellent for unbalancing your opponent to sweep or force their hands to the mat.

Another great facet of the Single X is its ability to be used as a controlling position for a wide variety of footlocks – once your opponent has been swept to the ground, of course.

Ok, we’ve fawned over the Single Leg X long enough.

We can now see how short people in Jiu Jitsu can rely on the Single Leg X for success.

So, the real question is…

… how can it be used as a means for effectively entering the Worm Guard?

Worm Guard Entry From Single Leg X

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First, from the Single Leg X position, use a tiger swipe against your opponent’s lapel to free it from their belt...
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Once you’ve gained an adequate grip on the lapel...
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... it’s time place your inside leg on your opponent’s far hip. Now, feed the lapel over your leg, and begin passing it under and behind your opponent’s.
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You should now be in a Worm Single X Hybrid with your grip on the lapel limiting your opponent’s ability to step backwards, while your outside leg creates pushing/distance control against their hip.
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From here, you’ll need to place pressure on your opponent’s hip/upper thigh with your heel to help you elevate your hips and place your Worm knee in a position above your opponent’s knee.

Once your knee is in a higher position, clasp both your knees together to help you better maintain this hips-off-the-mat position.

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Having your hips elevated off the mat will help improve the mobility of your leg...
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With this newfound mobility, you are now able to shift your Single X leg so that your foot is now blocking your opponent’s far hip, much like it would in a regular X Guard… Why?... This is because the next step in the transition to Worm Guard requires you to get up on your elbow and scoot backwards…
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However, blindly rushing this step could provide your opponent with an opportunity to either be more mobile on their feet or control your bottom leg and stifle the transition… Blocking the hip will allow you to control the transition so that it moves AT YOUR DESIRED PACE and progresses when you want it to...
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Once you feel comfortable to move, quickly scoot backwards by pushing into the ground with your elbow to alleviate the weight from your hips and allow for more efficient movement.
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Scooting backwards creates the space needed between your hips and your opponent's shin so that you can now move your bottom leg to the outside of your opponent’s. From here, the choice is up to you which side you adopt for the progression of your Worm Guard, as leaning to the left or right of your opponent will open up different options, e.g. sweeps, back takes, etc...

There you have it, a super simple yet effective covert transition into the Worm Guard from the Single Leg X.

If you’ve enjoyed this entry and want more, you’ll find everything you need is covered in great detail within the Lapel Encyclopedia!

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