Another day, another guard and this one is very famous! At first, it was named the “pudding guard” before taking the name from the BJJ player who made it famous: De La Riva.
Before introducing this guard, I would like to do a BJJ culture moment and introduce you to Ricardo De La Riva.
History of De La Riva
Born in 1965 in Rio da Janeiro, Ricardo was playing at age 15 with his brothers on the beach. Long story short, he got into an argument with another kid. He told his father (who was outraged by what happened), who decided to enroll his sons into BJJ to teach them self defense.
So, Ricardo De La Riva started BJJ under Carlson Gracie, an academy that was famous for passers. Ricardo is small and thin, in order to manage to fight, he had to adapt his game against more powerful players. So he developed at this time what we know under the De La Riva guard, which was for him a good way to control his opponents. De La Riva got his Black belt in 1986 and today he is a coral belt with his own academy. His game influenced some top players such has Caio Terra, Miyao brothers or Braulio Estima. A notable actual BJJ player under De La Riva is Claudia Doval, actual #1 at the IBJJF female ranking.
I personally attended one seminar with De La Riva, and he was remarkably patient with everyone, even if we were a lot.
Technical Break Down of the De La Riva Guard:
First of all, the De La Riva guard is used in every level and weight category. It might be a bit traumatizing for the knees so be careful when you are practicing it. If done well, this guard gives you very good control over your opponent. Making this guard the most popular passes. If executed properly, the De La Riva puts your opponent off balance allowing you to twist around their legs.
You generally use the De La Riva guard against standing opponents, sometimes kneeling.
The classical way is performed when you are in the bottom position, using one hand to control the opponent’s ankle. The the same side, the attacking leg wraps the opponent’s leg from outside hooking on the inner part. Usually, this strong hook is used as well to break the posture. Thus forcing your opponent to bend the knee, which neutralizes a good part of his leg power and mobility. The guard player, with the other free hand, has many possibilities to use it to control his opponent. Sleeve, collar, lower jacket, belt, any grips are perfect, you just have to find the best one to fit your attack.
Usually gripping the collar offers good control over the opponent, breaking his posture.
Where & When to Use?
This guard is used in sport BJJ, whilst in street fight, you’ll get smashed in the face, even if it was used sometimes MMA.
The De La Riva guard can be combined with other guards. A common combination would be for example a Lasso guard with a De La Riva guard. It offers a very good control over you opponent, because you can really break his posture. Here i leave a good video made by BJJ Library where the Master De La Riva himself demonstrates some sweep from this combination.
Other than sweeps, De La Riva guard offers other options like back taking. This would give you a certain control over your opponent and eventually 4 points. I leave you here a video where the Miyao brothers show this famous back taking. This technique is teached in many schools, it’s believed to be one of the most famous attacks you can find.
We can’t speak of the De La Riva guard without speaking of the Berimbolo. This is a very famous De La Riva guard attack. Not easy for everyone, because it needs to be precise and fast. Mostly seen on smaller categories. Its entries start when the opponent’s butt is on the ground. At this point you have to initiate the spin, this include a good cervical mobility, otherwise, you will get hurt and not be able to make it. Here is a video, by Andre Galvao who shows from de DLR guard to the back take using the berimbolo.
Low base and breaking the hook is what makes the defense effective, in my opinion. I have been taught that first of all:
- You have to break your opponent’s knee
- Turning yours perpendicularly to his poplitea.
- To avoid him to recover the hook.
- Go in a combat base.
In that way, you will secure your knee (because suffering a DLR his bad for the knee) and be able to pass better his guard. For your opponent’s other leg there are some solutions, either you break his strength putting his leg between yours, or you are fast enough to do a leg drag.
In any case, avoid to have both his legs around you, otherwise, you will be taken in his closed guard.
For a better idea of defense, there is this video made by the excellent Marcelo Garcia who shows a DLR Defence and the Berimbolo Counter.
As usual, train safe and have fun 😉
Written by Around The JU