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Getting to Know the Reverse De La Riva Guard with Lachlan Giles

Getting to Know the Reverse De La Riva Guard with Lachlan Giles


Reverse De la Riva has evolved to become an excellent hub to enter into a variety of other positions, transitions, and attacks. Its off-balancing capabilities are numerous but just with the acquisition of the position itself, it can be a nightmare to just maintain your balance as the top player. 

Its risen as a favorite platform from which to launch leg attacks as well. Using the RDLR to transition to the legs can be quite effective as the position allows us to weave ourselves in and around a resisting body. 

RDLR can also be used as a very effective defensive tool against a good guard passer. Common guard passes such as the knee slice can be very hard to complete with a good understanding of the position. 

When I first began to use the RDLR it was mostly because of my interest in attacking the legs. It offered some unique ways to enter in to leg entanglements and I used it as a means to slow things down long enough to come up with my next set of plans. However, the RDLR has evolved in my game to be much more than a method to enter the lower body game. I’ve also enjoyed using it in the gi quite a bit. With the addition of certain grip sets in the gi, we can make the RDLR even more problematic for our opponents. 

If you’re interested in the RDLR it can be tough to know where to begin. It's helpful to have some guidance from a top-level instructor. Let’s see what Lachlan Giles has to say about this dynamic position. In this video he has some ideas for us on how to set up the RDLR. He also addresses some common pitfalls, and how to use the RDLR effectively when getting started. Take a look! 


Setting up - 

Straight away, Giles gives us advice on how to position our bodies to set up the RDLR guard. From a knee slice passing scenario, Giles weaves his leg, starting on the inside, around his partners leg, encapsulating it. He curls his toes around the outside of his partner’s thigh, creating a solid connection to the leg. He also strengthens this weave with the support of his bottom arm, positioning it under his knee. This will create even more distance between his partners knee and the floor, which is essential for the guard to be effective. Giles also plants his top foot in his partner’s hip, further strengthening his ability to keep the passer at bay.

Pass the Half Guard with Lachlan Giles! Click Learn More!


With a simple drill, Giles instructs his students to work to both sides. The passer slowly enters in and out allowing us to establish the position. Remember, as Giles explains, the passer must be attempting to get the knee to the floor. If they are upright and not pushing forward, the RDLR won’t fit quite right and this may feel a little awkward. As the passer drops their level and attempts to make contact with the mat, this is where the RDLR will feel best and really begin to shine. 

Guard Recovery – 

One of the great utilities of the RDLR is its ability to assist us in guard recovery. As the passer begins to advance, Giles finds a home for his outside leg, either planting it on the hip or the shoulder. Again, this is another tool we can use here to create space. In addition to the positioning of this foot, Giles also secures a grip on the collar and one at the sleeve, punching the hand down under his own leg. This gives him an incredible amount of control over his partners upper body and posture, as well as the top player ability to move in and out. Here, Giles extends the leg that’s planted in the foot and simply transitions this foot to the opposite hip, then lifting his hips and squaring back up to his partner to reestablish and open guard. Here, he can elevate his partner and play from the position or simply pull his partner back inside of the closed guard and begin to work from there.

Attacking the Omoplata – 

Using the collar as a multi-faceted tool of control, Giles now works toward an attack. When setting up, the collar grip is mainly used to create and keep distance. IN this scenario it will be sued to pull. AS he secures his controls and begins to square back up, he uses the grip to bring his partner forward, exposing the shoulder to attack. As he continues to control the wrist, he guides his partner to the far side of his body, steps on his back, and bites him with his knee, closing down the space and trapping the arm. 

As Giles hips away from his partner, he transitions his leg over the arm and begins to sit up, facing his feet the opposite direction from where he started. He then allows his legs to travel to his left in to a familiar stretching type position. This allows Giles to lift his hips and torque the submission to get a finish. 

If you’re having any trouble removing your legs from the position to finish, simply hip escape away from your partner and drag their hips with you. This will help to collapse them and make it easier for you to get up. 

So, there you have it! Three entry level concepts that you can work with to help better your understanding of the RDLR guard. At first, you may want to just implement the guard as a tool of guard retention and recovery. This is a great way to introduce yourself to the position and begin exploring. As you get more comfortable an entire new word of possibilities will begin to show themselves from the position and you can begin to do a bit of inventing and experimentation! Enjoy and good luck! 

Lachlan Giles is one of the BEST teachers around. His YouTube channel has helped grapplers across the globe. The Guard Passing Anthology: Half Guard By Lachlan Giles is easily one of the best resources available ANYWHERE. Giles has world class technique matched with UNPARALLELED teaching ability!



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