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Exploring the De La Riva Guard Sweep

Exploring the De La Riva Guard Sweep


This is the second look at the De La Riva Guard Sweep. For additional information about this sweep, check out our first post on the subject. 

When I first started Jiu Jitsu, the position that attracted me the most was open guard. This was because I am a huge fan of Rafael Mendes and the Miyao brothers. These grapplers were able to do something with their guard that very few others were able to. For the longest time, grapplers avoided playing the guard and only used it as a position to get on top. Now, the guard is the primary position used by many grapplers.

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When discussing open guard, we must realize that it is a term that is comprehensive for multiple positions that work synergistically to stop and defeat the top player. The word “open” is used because it opposes another common position, the closed guard. Open guard is much more versatile and effective than closed guard, hence its popularity.

One of the most popularly used forms of open guard in Jiu Jitsu is the de la riva guard. Due to its effectiveness at every level, it is vital that all grapplers learn it, even as white belts. When I started Jiu Jitsu years ago, de la riva guard and other complex positions were taboo for new students like myself. These days, white belts are using these positions to win competitions around the world.

De la riva guard maintains a lot of versatility, mainly due to the different kinds of grips one can utilize. In de la riva guard we can use sleeve grips, lapel grips, and even pant grips. Some grapplers like to combine this guard with spider guard or lasso guard for maximum control.  Regardless of what style you use, the close side ankle grip must always be used. 

One element of de la riva guard that is attractive for most is that it can be used for distance control. When playing guard, its always important to be the lead in how close you and your opponent are. From de la riva guard, you should have full control of that.

In the following video by BJJ Fanatics, you will see a sweep that works if the simple sit up sweep fails. See below:

Although this guard is considered an advanced position, I recommend all white belts learn a few techniques, or at least use it to master the concept of distance control in open guard. The last thing you want to become is a purple, brown, or even black belt that is just starting to utilize this awesome guard.

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