Basic De La Riva Guard: A BJJ Tutorial (With Videos) - HowTheyPlay - Sports
Updated date:

Basic De La Riva Guard: A BJJ Tutorial (With Videos)

Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

Learn how to do De La Riva (DLR) guard.

Learn how to do De La Riva (DLR) guard.

Basic Standing DLR Concepts

Here are some very basic concepts for De La Riva guard against a standing opponent. If you're interested in dealing with a kneeling (or "combat base") opponent, check out this Deep De La Riva tutorial for some related information. In the author's view, however, this (standing) is the best position to start working some very basic sweeps and maintenance.

What follows are some old school tips and tricks, first used in competition more than 20 years ago (and still useful today) to help you get started working on De La Riva guard to use at the gym and in your own competitions.

Entering From Closed Guard

Getting There

De La Riva guard is a fantastic, useful type of guard, but what about just getting into the position in the first place? One very easy way to get there is to wait for your partner to stand up.

  1. As they start to stand, make sure you have double sleeve control, using standard "J grips" to control your opponent. If your partner grabs your sleeve, don't worry; just circle and grab his sleeve, giving you easy access to the grips you want.
  2. Now, as your partner stands up, assuming they're standing with their right leg first, begin by stepping on their left hip with your right foot, and extend their hip away, slightly off balancing your partner.
  3. Now kick your left leg around their right leg, moving your hips to the side. Your left foot will form a "shallow hook" around the back of their right knee.
  4. Finally, reach down to secure their lead foot with your left hand, and finally, hip out to make sure you're sitting on their foot. This last detail really secures the position.

Old School Push Sweep

Knee Push Sweep (Option 1)

Once you've gotten into the position (ideally, using the above steps), you're all set to go for your first sweep.

  1. Start by stretching your partner's knee out using your right foot (sliding down from their left hip to their left knee). Push from the inside of your partner's knee to take care of their leg (so as not to hyperextend it).
  2. Once their balance is off (because they're stretched out), switch your foot to the front and top of their knee, effectively blocking their base.
  3. Now pull their cross sleeve (their left sleeve) with your right hand, turning their upper body toward you.
  4. Finish the sweep by turning your left foot to your left, helping to turn your partner's knee to the side with your shin.
  5. As your partner falls, follow immediately, but stay tight by hipping forward, keeping control of their foot so that you can establish the mount position.

Overhead Sweep

Overhead Sweep (Option 2)

As you're entering into your basic DLR guard position, sometimes you won't get a chance to hip out and sit on your partner's foot before you feel them driving forward. This is the perfect opportunity to do a very dynamic overhead sweep (tomoe nage style).

  1. Start by allowing your knees to bend in toward your chest, yielding to their initial pressure.
  2. As your partner drives forward, use all four points of control that you have—both sleeves, your hook behind their knee, and your foot on their hip—to pull them forward, and then lift them straight up into the air.
  3. The sleeves will pull forward until the very end, right as your partner might be able to post on the mat, at which time you can simply pull the sleeves to both sides, completely taking away any chance for them to base out.
  4. Follow to the mount.

Just the Beginning

De La Riva guard is currently one of the most popular types of open guard for competition, and it has evolved a great deal since Carlson Gracie and Ricardo De La Riva first popularized it over 20 years ago. These are just some simple concepts to get you started, but there will be plenty more coming from me in the coming months, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, make sure nobody can pass your guard, work on some other open guard attacks, or refine your combat base DLR guard for a greater understanding of some common positions that will help you transition into a standing DLR guard. As always, please let me know if these work for you.

© 2015 Andrew Smith


JB8 on April 13, 2017:

Really great techniques; many thanks.

One request:

you show all techniques from seated position; fair enough.

But all bjj competitions start from standing position.

Can you show some smooth transitions from a standing to seated position and into de la riva?

Best wishes


Related Stories


Basic Deep De La Riva Guard: A BJJ Sweeps Tutorial

This article provides a quick video tutorial on "deep De la Riva guard" in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


De La Riva Guard "Ball and Chain" Sweep Series: A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tutorial

A brief tutorial on the "ball and chain" sweep series from De La Riva guard for sport BJJ.


Passing Reverse De La Riva Guard: A BJJ Tutorial

A quick BJJ tutorial on how to pass the reverse De la Riva guard, featuring our old friend, the X-pass.


How to Take the Back From De La Riva Guard in BJJ

A brief tutorial on how to take the back from De La Riva (DLR) guard.


Leglocks From the Top of Reverse De La Riva Guard: A BJJ Tutorial

A brief tutorial on how to set up leg locks from the reverse De La Riva guard position! This is an important skill to get down as it gives you many different attack options.


Reverse De La Riva Guard Sweeps for No-Gi BJJ

Here is a guide for going from RDLR (Reverse De La Riva) to an inverted heel hook or leg drag position by spinning underneath.


How to Take the Back From RDLR Guard: A BJJ Tutorial

Learn how to take the back using reverse De La Riva guard (RDLR) with these video tutorials.


Basic Guard Maintenance Drills: A BJJ Tutorial

A brief Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tutorial (videos and text) about how to maintain your guard against a long-range pass.


Advanced Knee Cut Pass Variations: A BJJ Tutorial

A brief Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructional tutorial on the knee cut pass and some slick variations.


Spider Guard for BJJ

How to use spider guard for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, starting from the knees.


Basic Gi Chokes From the Back: A BJJ Tutorial

A basic Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) tutorial on how to set up gi chokes from the back or rear mount position. This is an important skill to master if you want to get submissions on the mat.


The "Crunch and Turn" Basic Back Escape: A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tutorial

A basic Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) tutorial on escaping the back.


The Closed Guard "Xande" Sweep—a BJJ Tutorial

How to use a highly effective, low risk "pants grab" sweep from closed guard.


Dealing With Pants Grips: A BJJ Tutorial

A brief BJJ tutorial on dealing with double pants grips when you're playing guard and your partner is standing.


How to Set Up Worm Guard (a BJJ Tutorial)

This article provides a basic BJJ tutorial on how to set up worm guard using the lapel and how to do a quick sweep to mount, featuring Daniel Frank from Revolution BJJ.