The De La Riva Guard: The Most Common and Versatile Open Guard

The De La Riva Guard: The Most Common and Versatile Open Guard

The De La Riva guard is one of the most fundamental open guard that is taught in every academy in the world. It is kind of taken for granted, but the DLR is one of the most innovative techniques in BJJ.

The techniques from this guard are super effective and has inspired numerous different techniques that has stemmed from it.

In this guide, we breakdown one of the most common and versatile open guard to date - the De La Riva Guard.

What Is The De La Riva Guard?

The De La Riva Guard is an open guard system that was developed in the early 80s. This guard is where one of the guard player’s legs hooks around the opponent’s leg. The other leg is placed on the opponent’s upper thing, just right above the knee. This free leg can knock a person over and make them lose their balance.

This guard allows for multiple types of attacks. Various sweeps and submissions can be done from the De La Riva Guard (DLR).

De La Riva Guard

Origins of The De La Riva Guard

The open guard technique was named after Master Ricardo De La Riva. This open guard was actually originally invented by Judo Master Oda Tsunetane.

Tsunetane used it in a style of Judo called “nonatei.” De La Riva took the technique and innovated it for his own Jiu Jitsu game

Master De La Riva trained at the Carlon Gracie Academy in the early 80s. This Rio team was a tough team of strong competitors known for their ability to pass anyone’s guard.

De La Riva, who was one of the smallest members in the gym, found himself often working from his back. So, Ricardo had to come up with a new game-plane to beat his bigger and stronger teammates.

Open guard was popular at the time in BJJ and since closed guard couldn’t hold his teammates. Ricardo had to improvise a new style of guard.

He started to overhook their lead leg with his foot and push their knee out with his other foot. This would knock his teammates off balance impeding their ability to pass opening up submission and sweep opportunities.

Originally, De La Riva’s teammated dubbed his card “Guarda Pudim” or pudding guard. They named it this because his guard felt like they were standing in pudding and were unable to balance.

What made people take notice of De La Riva’s guard was a tournament he competed in called the “Copa Cantão.” In the featherweight finals, De La Riva would face off against the best grappler at the time Royler Gracie.

People thought Ricardo would be beaten easily, but used his DLR guard to stop Royler and win a decision.

Thanks to De La Riva’s innovation, he changed the guard game in Jiu Jitsu. The De La Riva guard inspired many open guards after its inception into BJJ. Everything from Spider, Lasso, Berimbolo, and Lapel guards were later conceptualized thanks to Ricardo De La Riva’s guard.

Techniques From De La Riva Guard

The De La Riva Guard is simply a control position where you can set up attacks like sweeps and submissions off it. There are a ton of techniques you can get into when it comes to the De La Riva – too many to list! Here are a few of our personal favorites below!

De La Riva To Triangle

First, you’re going to start from the DLR guard with a cross lapel grip and a foot on their bicep. The lapel grip helps break their posture and the spider bicep block takes away their other hand.

Once you’ve broken their posture, you can start setting up the triangle choke. When they’re in range take your DLR hook out and hook it around their back to break their posture more.

Next take off the foot blocking their bicep and hook it around their neck. Finally to finish the sub cut an angle and lock it in.

Lachlan Giles does a very nice instructional on the technique below:

De La Riva To Armbar

This slick technique starts from pulling DLR guard and taking 50/50 grips(collar and sleeve grip). Once you pull the DLR guard, you’re going to push the opponent back with your feet.

Instinctively, they will want to come back and this will give you space to move your hips. Throw your hips up and put your legs around their arm opposite your DLR hook.

You can either try to finish it belly down and make the opponent front roll.

De La Riva To Omoplata

For this technique, you will again have 50/50 grips. This time, the setup starts when the opponent tries to remove your DLR hook.

When they go to push your leg away, grab their tricep and bring them down. Pinning their arm against your hip.

Then you’re going to bring the same side foot up, place it on their hip, and pin it against their back. To get into the Omoplata position, rotate your hips, and hook your leg over their shoulder.

To keep them from escaping either grab their belt or hip, and sit up. For the finish drive into the pushing their shoulder to the ground forcing the tape.

De La Riva Sweep #1

The first technique is from a video from Chewjitsu showing a basic DLR sweep for white belts. You’re going to have basic grips with one hand on their heel and a cross sleeve grip. With your feet, you’ll have a traditional DLR hook and the other foot pushing on their knee.

Take the DLR hook off and place it on their hip and inside hook inside their knee. To finish the sweep simply push them off base and come up in combat base.

De La Riva Sweep #2

For this sweep, you’re going to have 50/50 grips again and it is similar to the armbar setup. But instead of going for an armbar, you’re going to hit a sweep.

From your DLR guard, you’re going to push them back and they’ll instinctively come back. When they come back keep the momentum going and take them over while doing a back roll.

Final Thoughts

Master Ricardo De La Riva helped innovate one of the most diverse guards in all of BJJ. It has really set a foundation of many of the other types of guards. Without it’s creation, there might have not been the Spider Guard, Berimbolos, and many others that stemmed from it

Today this guard is taught in every academy in the world and is a must know for all BJJ practitioners. After reading this, we hope you have a better understanding of DLR guard. It can be one of the most useful guards to play!