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Smashing the De La Riva With Cyborg
Smash The Legs...And Pass The Guard!
The De La Riva guard is one of the most effective open guard positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. There are numerous sweeps, attack, and even back takes when played this form of guard. Although this guard is utilized at every level in competition, it becomes extremely prevalent at higher ranks. Defending this guard can be tricky and dangerous especially if the defender’s posture is broken down by the many grips used.
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Although passing this guard is difficult, the same elements of any guard pass still apply such as posture, balance, and head positioning. There are two themes of guard passes for the de la riva guard: leg drag style passing and smash passing. In the following video, black belt legend Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu shows us a very effective smash pass to counter the de la riva guard.
As Cyborg mentions, it is important to keep the attacker flat because most de la riva guard attacks require the guard player to be extremely mobile. Head positioning is particularly important when defending the de la riva guard because if one leans too far forward, the guard player can elevate them and sweep them.
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The passing position Cyborg enters after stepping over the leg is a common top position we call headquarters at our academy. There are numerous pass options that range from both loose passing and smash passing. In order to make Cyborg’s smash pass more effective, fake a knee slice pass on the opposite side so that the guard player can push their leg in the direction you actually want to smash to.
When trying any smash pass, it is important to strongly pin the hips of the guard player on the ground so as to prevent them from hip escaping or rotating. Any amount of space here is dangerous so always look for strong shoulder pressure against the head and even under hooks if the opportunity presents itself.