January is a tough month for Jiu-Jitsu. As if it’s not enough that Robson Gracie, Fabio Gurgel, Rodrigo Cavaca and others were born during the first 31 days of the year, today marks the birthday of one of the inventor of one of most elaborate guard’s in the Jiu-Jitsu repertory. Ricardo de la Riva turns 48 years of age on this day.
The man on the cover of the upcoming issue of GRACIEMAG got his start in Jiu-Jitsu when he was 15 years old and his friend Marcos Vinícius took him to watch a class at Carlson Gracie’s academy in the Copacabana borough of Rio de Janeiro. For the slightness of his frame compared to those of his teammates, de la Riva had to follow the Jiu-Jitsu mantra of “brains over brawn” to the tee. Making the most of his lithe and flexible physique, a trait shared by his brother, he started adapting his game.
De la Riva, a Carlson black belt dating back 26 years, is the pioneer of the sneakiest and most limber guard there is—one that was originally dubbed the “pudding guard”. Later on, though, the Jiu-Jitsu community gave credit where credit is due, and the evolution continues.
Our congratulations and best wishes go out to Professor Ricardo De la Riva!