In the intricate tapestry of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, few positions command as much finesse and strategy as the De La Riva guard. Crafted to control, off-balance, and set up attacks, this guard demands a nuanced understanding and skillful navigation from those seeking to conquer it.

Understanding the De La Riva Guard

Named after the legendary Carlos De La Riva, this guard is characterized by a hook behind the opponent’s thigh, offering the practitioner unparalleled control and a platform for swift attacks. The hook, combined with sleeve and collar grips, creates a complex web that poses significant challenges for the passer.

The Essence of Passing

Passing the De La Riva guard isn’t merely about breaking through; it’s a cerebral chess match, a dance of balance, and a mastery of weight distribution. It involves dismantling the guard player’s control while maintaining your own stability and posture.

Key Principles for Successful Passing

1. Posture and Balance:

Maintaining a solid base and posture is paramount. Any lapse could grant your opponent the leverage they need. Stay upright, hips engaged, and balance centered.

2. Grip Fighting:

Controlling grips is the gateway to passing. Neutralize their hooks and break their grips methodically, denying them their primary control points.

3. Weight Distribution and Pressure:

Apply controlled pressure strategically, shifting your weight to disrupt their structure and limit their options. Precision and patience are crucial.

4. Timing and Movement:

Passing De La Riva requires calculated movement. Use timing to your advantage, employing swift and precise transitions while being mindful of potential sweeps and attacks.

Tips to Break Through

When countering the De La Riva guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the first challenge is addressing the strength of the hook. Initially, a practitioner utilizes a lapel grip on the same side as the hook to collapse the opponent inward, weakening the hook’s stability. Subsequently, by applying pressure with the thigh against the hook, it can be straightened or bumped, disrupting its hold and freeing oneself from the De La Riva guard. This sequence effectively nullifies the opponent’s strong De La Riva hook, granting better control in the engagement.

Once the De La Riva hook issue is resolved, the practitioner takes a step back with the opposite leg, preventing the opponent from stepping into the hip. By creating distance and moving out of range, they set the stage for a seamless step over. From this vantage point, the practitioner can initiate their primary passing option, aiming for a knee slice pass to advance their position.

The Journey to Mastery

Passing the De La Riva guard is an evolving process. It requires patience, dedication, and a willingness to adapt. Embrace the failures as lessons and celebrate every incremental success.


Passing the De La Riva guard isn’t a destination but a journey. It’s a quest for understanding, a pursuit of technique, and a testament to the art’s depth. Embrace the challenge, hone your skills, and revel in the growth it offers. Your mastery of passing the De La Riva guard is not just a skill; it’s a testament to your commitment and love for the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Join us in the pursuit of excellence, as we navigate the complexities and joys of mastering the De La Riva guard on the mats.

Keep rolling, keep learning, and keep evolving.