The De La Riva Guard Basics to Know

Brazilian jiu jitsu as a grappling martial art is a lot about the guard positions. X guard, butterfly, spider, closed and open guard. And don’t forget about the worm and de la Riva guard or DLR. The last one is our hero for today.

What is De La Riva guard?

The mother of the BJJ de la Riva guard is the open guard. Meaning it is the best and most obvious jiu jitsu position to start playing the DLR.

This position wasn’t invented specifically for Brazilian jiu jitsu. It had been used before in judo. But its popularity in martial arts came owing one person. Continue to read to know more.

But how do I get to De La Riva guard? What does this BJJ position look like?

If you want to play the de la Riva guard you need to be the bottom player hooking the front leg of your opponent from the outside. Your hands and the other leg are flexible and free to control or maintain further attack. Note: The de la Riva hook with the leg is a cornerstone in this guard position.

From this position, you can execute a variety of jiu jitsu techniques – sweeps, going to reverse de la Riva guard, changing your position to X guard, etc.

Stephan Kesting BJJ showing the de la riva guard position
Stephan Kesting BJJ black belt is showing the de la Riva BJJ position;
image caption from YouTube

How do you use de la Riva jiu jitsu guard?

Once you are in the position and have control over the opponent you have a field to act. For the control, you will use the basic grips:

  • grip on the sleeve (double or single)
  • grip on lapel
  • gi belt grip

Mr. Stephan Kesting – the well-known BJJ black belt – shows as usual a great and simple crash course for the de la Riva Guard

De la Riva guard techniques are diverse and they work.

Check out this incredible active BJJ fight of the two heroes of jiu jitsu Leandro Lo vs Alan Finfou, Rio Open (probably 2013), timing on 4:25

How to: Omoplata and Triangle from DLR Guard

The man behind the story

The Brazilian jiu jitsu history knows a lot of interesting stories with its heroes of jiu jitsu. Like the story behind the Ezekiel choke, for instance.

One such story is related to a person named Ricardo De La Riva. And yes, it’s the same name as the de la Riva guard. And not just the same. The guard was named after this person.

Who is Ricardo De La Riva?

Ricardo De La Riva is a famous BJJ legend from Carlson Gracie‘s lineage. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1965. He started to train BJJ in 1980 being at that time 15 years old.

In the 1980s De La Riva, as a creative guard player and skinny jiu jitsu practitioner, started developing the outside leg hook from judo. It allowed him to have chances against the physically stronger rolling partners in the Carlson Gracie‘s academy.

At first, the de la Riva guard was called “guard pudim” meaning “Pudding Guard” in Portuguese because the opponent caught into the guard would be wobbly and unstable. But after Ricardo De La Riva beat the unbeaten Royler Gracie playing his guard game, the sports community started to call it the de la Riva guard.

What belt is De La Riva?

In 2017 Ricardo de la Riva was promoted to seventh-degree (grau) red and black belt from the most senior members of the Gracie family – the ninth-degree red belts Robson and Reyson Gracie.

Ricardo De la Riva red and black belt
Ricardo De La Riva promoted to red and black belt: image capture from

Ricardo de la Riva Instagram

Video: Brazilian jiu jitsu legendary fight – Royler Gracie vs Ricardo De La Riva (part 1), “Copa Cantão” (Canton Cup), probably in 1986:

Royler Gracie vs Ricardo De La Riva (part 2)

Video: Ricardo de la Riva showing the very first de la Riva sweep

Check other BJJ news and articles about jiu jitsu training, BJJ fighters, and MMA athletes. For instance, Female Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Fights against White Belt.

If you are searching for nogi jiu jitsu classes here is the link to Google Maps to help you to find the BJJ gym – No gi jiu jitsu near me.

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