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

Updated on April 13, 2020
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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. | Source

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.


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© 2015 Andrew Smith


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      3 years ago

      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



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