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Stop Getting Swept from De La Riva

Stop Getting Swept from De La Riva


De La Riva or DLR guard has become extremely popular these days.  More and more people are refining this position and using it to win tournaments and do a bunch of fancy movements.  The DLR guard utilizes a hook coming from the outside and controlling one of our legs and the direction of our knees.  It is one of the most dynamic open guard.  You can use the DLR to get into other guards like X guard, spider, lasso, closed, and more.

The De La Riva is also the position where people are starting to initiate the dreaded berimbolo.  For those of you who are not familiar with the berimbolo you may have been living under a rock.  The berimbolo sprang to popularity when the Mendes Brothers started destroying everyone in the black belt division with it.  But back to De La Riva, the trick to stopping the berimbolo starts with having a solution to the root of the problem, DLR guard.

What are some good options for the De La Riva guard?  How can we beat it?  If these are questions that you have asked yourself at one point or another then you are among the majority of bjj practitioners.  Today we are going to give you some options on how to stop this position.  Let’s start with a quick and easy submission from the DLR that we learn from Dean Lister, then we will take a look at how the leg drag can be your best friend, and will also look at one of the most simple option, the knee slide. 

Inescapable Toe Hold from Dean Lister


As you can see in the video above, this is a very dynamic toe hold that is primarily initiated from the DLR guard.  Some consider this a rolling toe hold but either way it is a great attack.  There is a common misconception with the toe hold, many people assume that it is a “pain” submission and won’t actually cause a break or damage.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The reason behind this train of thought is the fact that we often see Black Belts in the famous matches at worlds show incredible resiliency to toe holds.  For example, the Mendes Brothers and Miyao Brothers are both famous for allowing their feet to get cranked in toe holds.  What we don’t realize is that we are talking about matches where the Black Belt World Title is one the line. 

People are willing to sacrifice a lot for that and if they get their foot broken in a toe hold, they are okay with it.  On the other side of it, these athletes know their limits and they are familiar with the inches that it takes to withstand damage from a toe hold. 

This last year at the black belt world championship, Romulo Barral, multiple time Black Belt World Champion had his foot broken in a toe hold.  The toe hold that we see above is the perfect attack for the De La Riva.  Even if you are not able to finish someone using this move, you will be able to distract your opponent from their goal and pass or get out of DLR.

Sometimes threatening a submission is one of the best ways to progress.  Always do submissions with the intent of finishing them but sometimes you may be able to get somewhere because of it.  For example, maybe you are about to get berimboloed from the DLR and you throw this toe hold on, it will cause enough pain and distraction to either submit your opponent or stop their attack.  Now let’s look at the leg drag vs DLR.  If you want to pass De La Riva, you need to know the leg drag.

Leg Drag vs DLR

The leg drag is quickly becoming one of the most used passes at the highest levels of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, made popular by the 6x Black Belt World Champion, Rafael Mendes, the leg drag is one of the best passes against the De La Riva guard.  The leg drag will completely immobilize your opponent’s hip movement, it is one of the best ways to pass a flexible and long persons guard. Check out our article “Leg Drag as a Position” to learn more on the finishing details on this pass.

When using the leg drag against the de la riva, you want to focus 100% of your attention on the leg that is not the DLR hook.  This leg is the one you need to ultimately control and drag across your hip.  So if they have a DLR hook on you right leg, you have to control their right leg and drag it across your body, than pass.  Check out this drill below showing how to knee slice and leg drag against the DLR guard.

The benefit of the leg drag against the DLR is the fact that you do not need to address the DLR hook so much.  Sometimes it can be very difficult to get rid of that hook if someone is tight with it and this pass can be your way out.  The leg drag is extremely versatile and not only is it a great pass against the DLR, it is also a great solution to many other guards.

Knee Slice VS De La Riva

We all know the knee cut or knee slice pass.  It is one of the first passes that we become accustomed to and learn to utilize.  This pass, although simple on the surface, can actually be a high level and complex pass.  It is one of the best options for passing so many guards including the topic of this article, De La Riva.  How can we use the knee slice against the De La riva Guard? 

Great question! You have to go through some steps and you cannot just try and force the knee slice.  The first thing you have to do is get into a one in and one out passing position.  This means that one of your legs is in between your opponent’s legs and the other is on the outside.  Let’s assume your opponent has a DLR hook on your right leg, you would want to step over their right leg with your left leg therefore putting you into your one in and one out position.  This is the first step.

Once you are in this position you want to grip the knee that is not a DLR hook and have your other hand on their collar.  Now that you are in this position, have good posture so you are difficult to move and you can initiate a knee slice.  The knee slide is often perceived as basic but it is far from it.  When we use this pass at higher levels you have to have a lot of pressure, precision and timing.  The combination of these 3 things will allow you to take your knee slide to the next level.  Check out this video below with multiple time Black Belt World Champion, Lucas Lepri, who is a knee slide expert on how to execute a high level knee slide against DLR.

IF you want to add some more ways to pass the DLR to your arsenal, look no further than Bernardo Faria’s DVD “Battle Tested Pressure Passing.”  This is one of our best-sellers and it is also available as a digital download.  Bernardo has a unique system where he uses the same pass (the over/under) to pass almost any guard.  And yes, he uses this pass against the De La Riva.  Although it is not a pass that we discussed today, it is one of the best ways to get around that pesky DLR guard.  The benefit to this pass is that you don’t need any athleticism, flexibility, or crazy cardio.  You have to know the details and the technique.


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