There are countless Open Guards to play vs a standing opponent. I like to look at them as based on root positions. Like branches on a tree. Most of the fancy Open Guards are based on simpler versions that came earlier with new details to optimize the preferences of the guard players. Our ability to quickly describe what we are doing is the beginning of asking higher level questions. I hope this is a simple and efficient article to explain these positions so we can move forward quickly.
De La Riva Guard
The De La Riva Guard is mainly categorized by the De La Riva hook. This is the guard player’s left foot in the picture. The position of the hook prevents the guard passer from turning his leading knee towards the outside. From here, the guard player generally wants to pull first, making the front leg heavy and potentially lifting the back leg. This configuration makes it difficult for the passer to step backwards or out of the trap. The guard will keep the guard player’s head on the side of the centerline that the De La Riva hook is on. There are three general options from here. You can put them forward into turtle, back on their butt, or pull them straight over the top.
Reverse De La Riva Guard
The Reverse De La Riva Guard serves the opposite purpose. The hips are oriented toward the middle, and the threat is lifting the front leg while forcing the weight onto the back leg. This guard stops the cut pass by forcing the knee back to the outside angle.
Single Leg X
Single Leg X is a useful tool for getting to the legs. By putting the bottom of my foot on the hip, I can make his leg light and wrestle up with it. As he counters, pathways to different variations of X Guard and leg entanglements open up.
There is more…
I purposely kept this list small. These are all based on the different uses of a Butterfly Hook against a standing opponent. This makes them potentially useful in both Gi and Nogi. We could also look at Lasso and Spider Guard. Many popular guards are hybrids and slight revisions. This is a good place to look at the history of the open guard and the directions it has taken.