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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

01 July 2014

01/07/2014 - Artemis BJJ | de la Riva Guard | Omoplata & Threaded Arm Sweep

Class #577
Artemis BJJ (Impact Gym), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 01/07/2014

Having already covered closed and half, in July we're moving on to open guard at Artemis BJJ. Dónal started things off with de la Riva, as most of the students at Impact Gym now have a gi. Wearing a gi is not absolutely essential for de la Riva, but it certainly makes things easier. Dónal started with a few drills, first the one where you spin around their legs using only your legs, then practicing having at least three points of contact (e.g., hook behind the leg, push on the hip, grab a sleeve).

Next up, we moved into the entry for various de la Riva attacks. You've got your de la Riva hook (wrapping around the outside of their leg, hooking inside with your instep), grabbing their trouser leg with your same side hand. Your other hand is going to grab their opposite arm (called a 'cross-grip'). The first drill was to practice grabbing their opposite arm as they reached forward to get a grip, then push into the knee of their non-hooked leg to disrupt their balance. Sit up at the same time.

From that position, you can go for an omoplata. Pull their gripped sleeve back, by bringing your own elbow back towards your head. That exposes their elbow. Push off their knee with your non-hooking foot, raising your hips. You can then release your de la Riva hook, swinging that leg just behind their elbow. Bend their arm around your leg as you bring them down to the mat. You can then process to the submission as normal, although Dónal kept things simple and just stuck with the entry.

He also added in a second technique, which is the first de la Riva sweep I learned back at Gracie Barra Birmingham. You're in a similar position as before, diverging when you get to the part when you push into their knee and sit up. Shove the arm you've gripped down and behind their hooked leg. If you use a pocket grip, pointing your knuckles at the floor, it should be harder for them to disengage. Release your grip on their trouser leg and put that hand behind their leg. They will probably try to pull up, whereupon you feed their sleeve to that hand waiting behind their leg.

You can now grab the back of their collar with your free hand. Pull down with that hand, while lifting slightly with your de la Riva hook. That should roll them over their shoulder, meaning you can switch to side control. You will probably end up in top half guard first, so don't release your grips until you've cleared their leg.

I didn't do any drilling, as it was odd numbers (including me), so I was mostly wandering around helping people out. A few people were doing some interesting variations, like backstepping into mount when they swept rather than turning to side control. As Dónal pointed out, the reason for that was when they sat up and brought their trouser-hand to grip around the back of the leg, their arm was going around their own leg rather than above it. That tangled up their arm in such a way that they couldn't easily swivel into top half guard/side control, presenting the backstep into mount instead.

There was some sparring at the end, where I was with a few beginners. In specifics, I was looking for the tripod/sickle sweep combination, but they kept going to combat base. I thought about trying Josh's tactic of knocking out the leg, but didn't manage to quite get in position: I think my grips were getting in the way of that particular technique. Another reminder I should get more comfortable with butterfly, perhaps better suited for that position. I'm still not great at attacking when they are crouching down with a knee up.


  1. I'm surprised you were having trouble hooking the combat base. Could you not get the hook inserted or could you not get the leverage to lift it and pop it out?

  2. Come to think of it, they might have had a grip on my leg that side too, which would explain it: naturally I'd need to free that leg first. I'll keep playing with it. I've had some success with it before, so just need more practice. Should have lots of opportunity for that this month, as it's all open guard. :)

  3. If they grip your leg at the knee then regrip on their elbow, let them keep the knee grip because it's a trap. Drop that knee flat to the ground and insert your butterfly hook on the other side and execute a little scissor motion with the knee that's flat that they are gripping, and lift your hook and kind of roll over your shoulder. You get a sort of hook sweep/butterfly sweep/scissor sweep thing that lands you in mount.

    1. Cool, thanks: that sounds good. I'll get in some drilling at the next open mat.