The Many Guards of Jiu Jitsu: Guarda Pudim/De La Riva Guard

Photo by: Bjj Pix

The first two pieces of this series explored the closed and spider guard, two staples of any guardeiro’s arsenal.  Let’s take a look at one of the most “innovative” guards in all of jiu jitsu: the “Guarda Pudim” which has been more recently dubbed the De La Riva Guard (after Ricardo De La Riva.)  This guard is currently the trendiest due to its development into the “Berimbolo” played by many top jiujiteiros today.

I won’t bore you with the history of the DLR guard (which is available right here The De La Riva Guard), but I think it’s interesting to look at WHY it’s so effective, and what makes it one of the most fearsome tools that modern sport jiu jitsu has to offer.

The key to the DLR guard is destabilization.  And it doesn’t take a full topple to sufficiently destabilize an opponent; all it takes is a momentary herky jerky movement that causes them to touch the ground or take a step.  It’s that subtlety and the relative lack of need for athleticism to gain mastery of it that has made the DLR guard so crucial to so many competiton

The DLR guard is versatile.  It can be used as a standalone weapon or be paired with other guards (I’ve previously mentioned my favorite the Spider-Riva which combines the DLR and Spider Guard to make for a very effective position.)  It can also be used as an intermediary step between a fully open guard and a fully closed guard, kind of a tractor beam with which to bring and opponent closer and closer to defeat.

As I mentioned, the DLR guard has given way to the berimbolo, x-guard and 50/50 guard which are some of the most popular techniques in modern jiu jitsu.  Many people decry these positions saying that they are ruining jiu jitsu by steering it further and further away from being self defense oriented.  Indeed, if you pull DLR in a street fight occupying one of your hands with the person’s leg you might wind up getting hit in the face, which could suck.  These positions were developed with the intention of addressing a trained grappler under grappling rules, and while they may detract from the intent of jiu jitsu, have proven to be potent when used under those rules.

What do you think of the De La Riva guard?  Do you find it an effective tool?  Or do you favor other guards?  Most importantly, has the De La Riva guard negatively impacted jiu jitsu?  Or does it contribute to jiu jitsu’s evolution?


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