De La Riva is my favourite guard to work from in BJJ, and for that reason and no other it’s also the title of this post. Describing it is hard, it’s like a normal open guard, but you lock one leg in and under the opponent’s which makes it almost impossible to circle one way, and with a foot controlling the hip there are loads of sweep possibilities. I find it really difficult to pass. It’s also really difficult for me to fight my natural programming and open my guard to go for the De La Riva, but I’m getting there.
Last night’s class was a very frustrating one for me. We’ve been taking the intensity up over the last couple of weeks in preparation for the competition, and I was already feeling tired and sore going into the lesson. After a good few rolls working from half and closed guard, either trying to pass if on top, or sweep from underneath, one of my arms just gave up completely. I think it’s a re-occurrence of the tendinitis I had when I first started training, it’s very painful and leaves me unable to grip anything with my hand. Not ideal in a BJJ class. So I spent the rest of the class watching and running the timer, not very glamourous I know, but it gave me a good chance to watch the blue and purple belts working, and to see Raphael really going for it. The thing that gets me every time when I watch someone really good at BJJ is the sheer speed and power in every ‘explosion’, that’s what I’m really going to have to work on for my passes and escapes.
At the end of the lesson I was looking forward to getting home, having something hot to eat and resting my arm, but fate conspired against me. I had a text from one of my friends saying that our mutual friend had left his motorbike near his house, parked perfectly legally on the road. Someone decided they wanted the parking spot though, and moved his bike onto the pavement. He’s away on his Honeymoon at the moment, so leaving it on the pavement for the next week wouldn’t be such a great idea, so I was asked to come and help him move it somewhere better, i.e. outside his garage. Struggling down the road lifting the best part of 120KG of bike while he tried to steer against the steering lock at 10pm wasn’t the end to the night I’d expected, or the one my arm wanted, but it’s what I had. Never mind, it’s all sorted now, and he can buy me an ale when he gets back.
A couple more sessions of going for it all guns blazing and we wind it down for the last week before the comp, my arms can’t wait.