Leandro Lo’s DLR Guard Counters

Now that we know what Lo’s passes are, let’s now look at how he sets them up. Just like catching, throwing and tackling are techniques to be mastered in football, the key really is using them with proper strategy in a play (eg bootleg, QB sneak etc) vs live opposition.

DLR most predominant guard in sport BJJ

De La Riva Guard has almostĀ  become a “must have” in sport BJJ now. From white to black, it’s adoption has increased in recent years with the success of the Mendes brothers and now with the Miyao brothers. In particular the “inversion” option to berimbolo has really opened the BJJ community’s eyes to the offensive options of the DLR.

Why DLR anyway

The biggest advantage DLR has is that it is an “intermediate” guard. One can classify sitting, closed, half, butterfly into “near guards” and open, spider, leg lasso etc as “far guards”. With the “near guards” the guarder is close and has more control and contact points with the passer. Connection to the passer’s hips is easier making offensive options more available. However getting “smashed” is a higher risk with the “near” guards. With the “far guards”, where the guarder’s and passer’s hips are far and the only contact being a sleeve/lasso/pant leg, one has better defence but offence is reduced due to the lack of control over the passer’s body/hips.

DLR (and RDLR) is a “hybrid” of far and near guards. DLR allows distance to be easily closed giving the offensive options of a “near guard” or for space to be created by separating the guarder’s and passer’s hips, creating a “far” guard. Key to this “distance” management is the DLR hooking leg. When the DLR leg is “snaked in” the DLR guarder is able to “extend” to drive back the passer or “pull” the passer in. Berimbolo aside, this versatility has always been the primary benefit of this guard.

Running/stepping out/escaping this DLR hook has always been key to defeating this guard.With the “modernization” of DLR with the berimbolo however, “retreating” is no longer so easy, because the inversion now follows the passer backing out trying to disengage. Berimbolo highly relies on this “response”, ie backing out/retreat to tip the passer backwards and consequently levering the passer’s “base” over the berimboloer’s legs leading to the back take/leg drag.

(1) “Combat basing” down and disentangling (then going for leg drag) or (2) “double guard pull”/leg spaghetti has become a defacto defence vs the berimbolo-er. Both responses are a result of the passer trying to avoid at all costs, the DLR player getting under his base. Lo does neither.

Lo’s innovative DLR knee control and posture kills DLR offence


Look at the picture. Lo’s posture is completely against this philosophy. He:

a) stands straight, bent over inviting the guarder to come under him

b) legs split open far

This should be suicide, especially at the black belt level. But yet he has never been berimbolo-ed (ok, someone install a webcam inĀ Cicero Costha so we can watch him vs Paulo/Joao). Even more significant, many good DLR players have simply been unable to even invert on him.

The reason is simply because Lo’s non-active posting hand is posting down on the DLR knee, driving it all the way down. Pushing the DLR leg down, arm straight, makes initiating the inversion very difficult. His forward bent over posture with a split stance, makes it hard to push him backwards with the non-DLR leg. Unable to tip Lo backwards with the neutralised “DLR leg” (the foot cannot make contact with his hip) and unable to tip him backwards pushing with the non-DLR leg, the most dangerous attack, the berimbolo, is gone.

As simple and unbelievable as this sounds, Lo actively seeks out this control and grip and forces the DLR guarder into his “world”.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQKKhRdF5e8&w=560&h=315]

Early on in this clip, Lo talks about his posture and and grips over the DLR guarder

Lo creates the “world” where the action takes place

Lo has a reputation as a scrambler, able to freestyle with ease, almost always beating his opponent in 50-50 situations. He takes risks and somehow his god given athletic ability/talent lands him on top of the situation.

Yes, Lo has all those qualities but are ALL these “scrambles” really 50-50 ones to him? Watch him closely and you will see that once he has the DLR guarder “trapped”, what unfolds are automatic/well drilled responses to the DLR guarder’s counters to his DLR knee posting. Lo already knows what is about to unfold in many of these “scrambles”.

The video below says the rest. Enjoy.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbkKiWIHZvg&w=560&h=315]

ps: Thank you for your kind comments and encouragement. Much appreciated!

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