The reverse da la riva is a modification of the de la riva guard that is used to counter the knee slice pass. Although it was initially created for this sole purpose, many grapplers now seek out this unique guard and have even made it their primary guard.
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Just like de la riva guard, the reverse de law riva is an advanced guard that is even more complex when used in the gi. This is because there are a variety of different grips the bottom player can use like sleeve grips and lapel grips that can help them secure sweeps.
Many newer students confused the reverse de la riva guard with half guard because they kind of look similar. Defensively, reverse de la riva guard is a lot like half guard, maybe even better. Offensively, though, reverse de la riva feels like a different world compared to half guard. Most of the same techniques you would use in reverse de la riva wouldn’t work in half guard and vice versa.
The most common technique grapplers use in reverse de la riva guard is called the kiss of the dragon. I am not entirely sure why the technique was named after one of Jet Li’s movies, but I like it and it kind of makes sense considering how odd and cool the technique looks.
In the following video, Dante Leon will illustrate how to execute the kiss of the dragon from reverse de la riva. If you’ve never seen this before, I recommend watching it in slow motion. See below:
Technically speaking, when people discuss the kiss of the dragon technique, they are referring to the back take after inverting under as Dante initially did. However, as Dante shows, if the defender bases far away, it would be a bad idea to try to reach for the back.
Many students, especially heavier ones, are put off by this technique due to the need to invert. Inversion is not something only skinny, flexible grapplers can do. In fact, a lot of larger grapplers I know are great at it. Honestly, all you have to do is just practice and drill often.
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