Robson and Reyson Gracie, the two oldest and most senior members of the Gracie Family had the honor to bestow a seventh degree red and black belt on Ricardo de la Riva on November 18, 2017. The namesake of the de la Riva guard received this honor in an emotional ceremony that was attended by influential members of the MMA and jiu-jitsu communities from around the world. More than 200 of de la Riva’s former students were also in attendance. Some of these students had traveled from as far as Europe and the United States to attend the ceremony held in de la Riva’s hometown of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. If your searching for jiu jitsu classes in Raleigh NC, call Gracie Raleigh for the best prices.
Only 22 fighters in the world have had the honor of being awarded their red and black belt. After 31 years on the mats and having trained with the legendary Carlson Gracie, this super featherweight has achieved an incredible honor. Heralded as one of the most creative guard players in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, de la Riva has also been decorated as a World Bronze Medalist and a Copa Cantao Champion.
Under his tutelage, many notable black belts have achieved success and acquired training that has propelled them forward in their careers as martial arts superstars. Walter “Broca”, Helvecio Penna, and the Nogueira brothers are just a few of de la Riva’s students who have gone on to achieve great things as a result of the grappling instruction they received.
In 1985 de la Riva developed his own solution to being crushed by his heavier opponents with the now famous de la Riva guard. Originally the move was called Guardia Pudim or Pudding Guard because de la Riva would leave his opponents unbalanced and wobbly while he played guard. After he defeated the undefeated Royler Gracie in 1986, the media changed the name of the guard from Guardia Pudim to the de la Riva guard.
Competing regularly until 1993, de la Riva left the competition world to dedicate his time to teaching. The desire to compete returned in 2002 when de la Riva, then 37, decided to test himself against the best of the best at the World Championships. In the semifinals, he lost to the champion but received the bronze medal. He competed in 2003 and 2004 before returning to teaching full time again in 2005.
Ricardo de la Riva received his high honor just blocks away from his own gym. The legend taught technical seminars to attendees shortly after the ceremony and demonstrated techniques from the position which bears his name.
The accomplishments of de la Riva have come from a lifetime of dedication and hard work which began when he started his training at the Carlson Gracie Academy in Copacabana. Ricardo was just 15 when he began to train at the prestigious school. His dedication to the sport and contributions to his students and the BJJ world both on and off the mat have become synonymous with excellence and achievement.
Congratulations to master Ricardo de la Riva for his incredible accomplishment.
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