Reverse De La Riva Guard Sweeps for No-Gi BJJ

What This Is

Reverse De La Riva guard can be used as a defense against the knee cut pass, but it has become much more common to use it as a primary attack position, especially in no-gi. This tutorial assumes a basic knowledge of spinning under and taking the back. If you haven't studied this Reverse De La Riva Guard: Taking the Back Tutorial on that subject, go and do so now (unless you already have a basic knowledge of taking the back from RDLR). Here, we'll discover a few options when your partner is playing hard to get with giving up their back, and get into a couple of solid passing and finishing positions.

First Option: 50/50 Takedown

As previously noted, this move builds off of the previous spinning-under-back-taking stuff. Start with your partner standing, with their right foot forward. From a standard reverse De La Riva hook with your left leg and right hand grabbing their heel, push your partner away with your left foot, and then dive with and underhook with your right arm to begin the inversion process. As you creep along to the back take position, you find that your partner simply isn't allowing you to take them down. Instead of fighting strength with strength, straighten your left leg in front of your partner (almost as though you are giving them a kneebar), and then triangle your legs, turning into a 50/50 position. Turn your knees out so that you bring your partner to the ground, and then it's your choice as to whether you finish the inverted heel hook or pass the guard using one of the previous tricks we've learned.

Single Leg X

This technique starts out the same, but your partner is in combat base, with their right foot forward, down on their left knee. The initial inversion is the same, but as you try to creep under, you encounter resistance. Changing gears slightly, right as you hit 180 degrees with your partner, use your underhooking arm to take your partner's foot off of the ground. This "banana peel" position will be tough for them to keep balance, and will allow you to keep spinning through to a single-leg X-guard type position, but with their foot on the other side of your head. Key detail: make sure your right knee opens up and comes in front of your partner's leg, lest they simply drop their weight and pass your guard! Once you have established the position, the sweep is simple and virtually inevitable. Just push your knees to the left. From here, you can once again finish the leglock, or pass the guard and take the back.

Key Details and Words of Caution

It's important to point out two key details as you're inverting. The first one will help you keep both of your feet attached to your body, so let's take a look at that one. The foot that pushes initially is going to be fairly easy to attack for toe holds (and possibly for an Estima lock), so as you're pushing, you need to keep "live toes" pushing into your partner, and be ready to rotate downward with your entire body if they go after your foot. Once you are completing the first part of the spin, just hide your foot behind your partner's legs. The second maneuver helps you get into the inversion, and builds off of your current leg position. Just use your hidden leg to kick your partner forward, facilitating the "banana peel" motion I described earlier. These two troubleshooting details should help you safely complete the move.

Leg lock or pass the guard?

  • Leg lock
  • Guard pass
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Not only is RDLR guard highly effective for no-gi training, it's indispensable at a certain level (plus you get to look really cool when you do some of the techniques!). Start using the hook as a defensive position if this seems overwhelming, and gradually you'll start to understand more and more options from the position, developing your own game as you go along. If you get stuck, don't be afraid to reach out to me here by leaving a comment, or on reddit or Facebook (I'm a pretty easy guy to find). Happy rolling!

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