Level 4 Test (for printing)



Hip-throw/Valley-Drop Combo from T-position
Reinforced Underhook Takedown Defense
Hip-throw to Knee-pick combo
Reinforced Underhook Takedown Defense


HQ to Force Half to Mount
Escrima Pass v.s. 1/4 Guard
N-S Kimura/Armbar from Pinwheel Spin
S-Mounth Armbar from Seatbelt
Girtwrap to Chairsit Backtake


Breakdown Turtle to Back Control
Arm-trap RNC
Armbar from Back Control
Shakedown Back Defense
NEgative Back Defense


Defend & Escape Deep Armbar
High Guard to X-Guard
Half-Guard Sweep Series
Defend & Escape Omo-plata
DLR to Single-leg Getup Sweep
Defend & Escape Deep Triangle
Escape Ankle Lock
Escape Mount to SLX Sweep
SLX to X-guard Sweep
Guillotine Sweep from Butterfly Guard
Open Guard Standing to HQ
Knee-shield to Underhook Half-guard sweep

Hip Throw/Valley Drop Combination from
T-Position with Far Hip Control (Standing Clinch)

Hip Throw to Knee Pick Combination from T-Position with Far Hip Control (Standing Clinch)

Reinforced Underhook Takedown Defense v.s. their Double-leg

Escape Mount → SLX Sweep

Some live training inspiration for the level 4 group – and anyone struggling to get out of the mount position against someone who knows what they’re doing. Our key moves here are

1.) going for the flat back escape to SLX-Guard or butterfly guard first and then going on your side to shrimp for an elbow-knee escape second. Going directly to the shrimping is weak because it’s hard to initially get on your side. Flat back bridging and posting escape is the quickest to go for right away

2.) the key to the whole thing is bridging off two legs, then knee bumping them in their back to extend the bridge and knock them forward, this creates a better surface to load their weight onto your hands and go for the flat-back escape.

3.) swinging my legs for pendulum momentum, shoulder walking, making a series of little bumps, hyrbidizing with the backdoor escape, doing whatever I need to do to keep the kuzushi going of the escape – we have to keep them adjusting their balance, trying to capture their momentum, and never letting them settle the position. This adds up to me being able to ratchet increments to pressure my escape and keep gaining little bits of ground to build my guard and go on the attack right away.

4.) When the top grappler shifts to a corner-mount aka “Tech-Mount”, the normal elbow-knee escape with the bottom leg coming through is virtually impossible, so we have to shrimp under their top leg and use a shin-lever to prevent them from taking our back. Notice how the off-side shin lever position quickly turns into an SLX and then a full butterfly guard. Also notice throughout this footage, it’s about getting right to the butterfly or half-guard game right away as soon as the escape happens – so we can shift to pass defense mode build up to counter-offense from bottom.

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SLX → Full X-Guard Getup Sweep: Hook Play and Guard Retention Concepts

DLR → Single Leg Getup Sweep

Guillotine Sweep from Butterfly Guard

Knee Shield to Underhook Half-Guard Sweep (Kick-through and Sit-up/Bump Forward)

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Half-Guard Sweep Series:

Dip Under Half-Guard Sweep When They Block You Coming Up (Rolling Sweep), Duck-under When They Post Their Arm, and Shelving the Ankle

One of the most commonly used sweeping combinations on our team, offering great protection against both the leg and neck attacks the top player would typically try to counter you with during a half-guard sweep, and additionally offering great protection against strikes in an MMA fight. The difficulty with strike-control is the primary issue with the traditional “deep half guard” position in sport BJJ. I advise against playing the conventional deep half guard if you cross-train or compete in MMA, and this is a very important distinction! Our half guard sweep operates on having a grip on their far ankle, trapping them in a leg-bind.

Kuzushi is key! Our earlier fundamentals base gives us the solutions for when our opponents hunker down and away from our Single-Leg X-Guard (SLX/Ashi) entry and our Deep Half-Guard Sweep entry. Two different positions have the same fundamental problem and solution- different positions but conceptually identical in principal.

Defend and Escape Triangle Choke to Stack Pass

Sit and Pry from Deep Triangle, connect Knee and Elbow

In our level 3 fundamentals course we learned the steps to finishing the Triangle Choke – going from the diamond high guard to the triangle, turning a 90 degree angle to finish, and keeping the “Death Grip” locked in. In Level 4 it’s now undoing those steps one then the next – escape your leg and undo the finishing angle (run to the safe side,) break the death grip, open up the triangle into a diamond, then force your way into a staple then stack pass.

As we discuss in the OmoPlata defense, early and late defenses/escapes are important to differentiate. In Level 3 we worked on EARLY Triangle Defense, and now in Level 4 we’re focusing in on our LATE triangel defense – hence the term “Deep Triangle”. Being able to know which side is the safe side to run to and survive the submission while the blood pressure in your head surges is a difficult skill that should be mastered in DRILLS before expecting yourself to apply it in rolls or competition.

Defend and Escape Armbar and Come on Top to Side Control “Submission Defense Pass”

While most students would have learned these escapes during their time in levels 2 & 3, now at level 4 what we’re looking for specifically is to escape the opponent’s submission threat (the Juji-Gatame in this case,) and PASS to top control. We’re doing this with our figure-8 run-around “submission defense” pass drill movement patterns that should be totally familiar for students testing out of level 4 and into “blue rashguard” testing.

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Defend and Escape Omo-Plata

Opposite Shoulder/Barrel Roll Early, Pry Loose with Knee On-time, Dive Under Late


As you advance in your grappling level, more and more you’ll differentiate between early and late defenses, rather than thinking “The Escape for such & such move is…” you’ll think about the ounce-of-prevention vs the-pound-of-cure.

Early defenses take the form of “counters”, ie where you immediately move to an advantageous position as you defend, whereas late defenses may just barely save you from defeat and take much more energy expenditure.

Escape Ankle Lock on Ground When You Can’t Stand and Backstep Out

Like our other submission defenses/escapes, we have to differentiate early vs late timing and respond accordingly. In the Ankle Lock, always try to stand up and put weight on your foot as your first response. But when you can’t build up and put weight on the target leg, you have to be able to defend on the ground as well, which is a much more sticky situation!

Escape Their Back Attempt Early to Negative Pass to Side Control

When you’ve learned your half guard fundamentals well enough to know the Negative Half-Guard pass, it can be used as a JiuJitsu “super power” when you realize that your opponent’s back attack with one hook can be turned into your negative half guard.

The weakness of back attacks is that the attacking grappler is often willing to put themselves on bottom to stay on the back, and in this case we’re using that against them to take a top position. Again the idea is the earlier your defense is, the more you can use “counters” and go straight to your offense off your escape.

Open Closed Guard Standing and Defend Sweeps to Headquarters

Being on top and passing the guard is fundamentally about sweep defense: putting together balance, agility, and pressure to make your opponent feel your weight and get right back to position if they stumble you with their guard sweeps. As we know from our Level 3 fundamentals course, the “Headquarters” Position (HQ) is the universal checkpoint to defend and shut down guard sweeps, stabilize, and set up a clean guard pass. So we want to suppress their open guard and get to the HQ position as quickly as possible. However, the point of vulnerability is when we have to stand up to open the closed guard, that’s when the opponent will go for their open guard sweeps and we have to train sweep defense with live situational rounds just like takedown defense, and get to the HQ from those sweep defenses.

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Headquarters to Force-Half-Guard, Pass Half-Guard to Mount (Clear with Top Butterfly Hooks)

Escrima Pass v.s. ¼ Guard (¾ Mount → Side Control) When They Tenaciously Trap Your Ankle

North South Kimura/Armbar Combination from Pinwheel/Brazilian Spin

As we learned in level 2 of our program curriculum, the belly-down single leg from bottom is absolutely one of the most powerful escape-to-attack/reversal pathways and even more powerful when used as a Pass Defense – allowing the bottom grappler to prevent the 3 points for the guard pass in sport Jiu Jitsu competition, and more importantly prevent STRIKING VULNERABILTY in self-defense/MMA.

So of course, the belly-down is one of the central problems that we have to solve in our TOP GAME STRATEGY. So in Level 3 of our fundamentals program, we developed our “Pinwheel Spin to the far side (around the north-south.) Now we’re following up on this sequence with the North-South Finishing System.

However, we have to recognize the central difficulty of the belly-down single leg – primarily being by the opponent strongly clasping their hands around our trailing leg. So, if we walk to the North South Position when the opponent is on their side, going straight for the Kimura, it’s very easy for opponents to clasp their hands and thereby secure the best defense of the Kimura and their escape/reversal pathway in one action!

Therefore, it’s tactically superior to use the Pinwheel Spin to pass ALL THE WAY to the FAR side of the opponent’s body and take the target leg fully out of reach while we make the kimura grips. Then we shut down their defense/escape pathway, and we can easily step our shin back on top to make an ARM STAPLE and break their defensive clasp to get the north south kimura submission. They can, of course, still grab their leg to defend the Kimura, but this defense is MUCH easier to crack by simply switching to the Juji-Gatame, compared to if we initially let the opponent clasp their belly-down single leg on us – which will often result in complete reversal and losing our submission attack.

So do your best to remember to pinwheel spin, then step your shin back on top to break the grips for NS-Kimura!

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S-mount Armbar from Seat Belt, Ratcheting in Mount

In our Top-Pressure System, the S-Mount Armbar is really the end-game of top control. The most secure positional control on top is obviously the Seatbelt Shoulder-Pressure, which will inevitable lead you to the Mount Position, where you have a shot to ratchet the seatbelt into a top finishing attempt. Arm triangle is a great option, but it does require us to potentially leave the mount, and the opponent can often defend by working in their hands into an X-Block framing defense.

So to deal with these problems, we have the S-Mount position. The advantage of this position is that it creates a crushing pressure that continuously drains the opponent’s “life bar” as you control the position – making the submission easier to finish the LONGER you hold the position for. The list of advantages to the S-Mount is long!

Gift-wrap to Chair-sit Back Take When They Defend Arm Triangle From Seat Belt Ratcheting

Many people complain that from mount, even though they are maintaining position and ratcheting the seatbelt, they’re still having trouble getting to one of those top-finishing options (Arm Triangle, S-mount Arm-Bar, Americana, etc.) So it’s important we have one more option to play in combination – skip completely to the next position (the back) and finish from the back control instead of the mount. As we chain together our attacks, we can get more and more ahead of their defense.

The Chair-Sit Back-Take is easier for beginners to learn from the Technical Mount Gift Wrap – “Catching The Shrimp” from our level 3 curriculum. But it’s important we have this variation from seatbelt ratcheting as well to play in combination with our top submisssions. The other position we learn Chairsit backtake from in our level 4 program is in our Half-Guard system, to counter their 1/4 guard when we have 3/4 mount.

The general algorithm of IPFS in terms of position and submission is that we advance our position to attempt finishes, but if the opponent is defending the submission attempt, we use the THREAT of the submission to ADVANCE our position (and get more points in the meantime!) and then attack different submission angles. This way, we solve the problem of the position/submission compromise – the puzzle of how to go for submissions without giving up positions.

Break Down Turtle to Back Control

Tilting (loose seatbelt and knee bump,) setting the Grapevine/Superhook, stretching out their back for the 2nd Hook, Cross body control principle, Prying out the arm for far underhook, Power-Half Grip (“Technical Back-Take”)

One of the most technical phases of the sport of grappling is trying to sink the back hooks against an opponent who is fully aware of the dangers of you getting those hooks in – and in the gym all of our opponents are our training partners, so they all know the back position is 4 points in a BJJ competition and that a lion’s share of submissions that happen from the back. They’re going to be blocking you.

So in this technique we are systematically breaking down their layers of defense to sink first one hook, then the other, while preventing them from hitting their running escape to their knees and getting on top of us (running escape/shakedown combo.)

You’ll notice a conceptual parallel in our level 4 fundamentals curriculum – in our back attack game, our top pressure game, and our bottom game, we are looking at “half” positions and the complex hook play that governs over those positions. Whereas before you might have though simply in terms of “get both hooks to score the 4 points!”, now we’re learning what the specific types of defense we can use are, and simulating those defenses for our training partners to practice setting our hooks so we can score and finish.

Notice that our basic system here functions based on action-reaction dynamics dividing the opponent’s attention between using their hands to defense the seatbelt vs peel off our hooks! By drawing their attentions one direction we open up another. It’s critical to attack this way whenever the opponent is in a tightly defended position (while maintaining continuous pressure and leverage, of course.)

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Arm-Trap RNC Grip Fighting System

 Kimura-Reinforced Seatbelt Back Control → Straight Jacket → Arm Trap High-Back → RNC

After all the work of physically grappling an opponent into your back control, the last thing you want to do is let the moment of opportunity pass. So once you’ve developed your positional grappling and opportunistic (timing-based) submission game, your next problem will be that you’re maintaining the back control but you can’t FINISH, because they keep HANDFIGHTING you! As long as you’re fighting 2 arms vs 2 arms, your opponent stands a good chance of defending and escaping your RNC attempt.

So we have to apply some systematic gripping/hook play to trap one arm so that we can make it a 2-arms vs one of theirs type of battle. The opponent, of course knows that you want this, so we’re learning how to use action & reaction to trick them into a preplanned sequence of events that ends in our finishing the RNC.

Make sure to watch our full instructionals about the varieties of ways of trapping the arm. Just keep in mind, it always has to be the TOP ARM that you trap.

Armbar from Back Control, using Kimura Grips

Preventing them from getting to knees – “SeeSaw Control” Using the Knee-Wedge to Force your 2nd hook
when necessary

Throughout our fundamentals program, we’ve been talking about the RNC and the Juji-Gatame being the 2 highest percentage submissions (which together make up the majority of submissions in competitive grappling, especially in the lower rank divisions,) as well as how our goal is to take these two primary weapons and combine them into one super-submission combination. Obviously if you take the two best finishes and combine them into one, the result is going to work really well… and that’s what I’ve found with this technique.

Now we’re accomplishing this goal by learning to handfight into a kimura giftwrap when the opponent is defending our RNC attempt and chain it into an Armbar. Out of all the angles to set up the Juji Gatame I’ve found this one to be the most successful in terms of finishing rate, which is no surprise since the back control is considered the most advantageous position to finish from.

Shake-Down Back Defense

Bumping them forward and kicking out from their hooks

Offensively, we know that one of the biggest challenges to maintaining the back position is falling off the front of the opponent and ending up on our back with them in our guard. Early on, most beginners learn how to overturn the back control to escape before they learn to shrimp and escape the back to their guard, so the more skilled opponents will continuously climb back up their back as they try to overturn and reverse the back control. This is because as a grappler turtles up to kneeling base in order to overturn and reverse their opponent, they necessarily RE-EXPOSE their back, allowing a skilled adversary to use the combination of hip-sweep and technical stand movements to CLIMB THE BACK and re-get the back.

However, one of the most interesting and powerful back defenses in grappling is simply to raise our hips up higher than our head and make an INCLINE so that it’s much more difficult for the attacking grappler to re-climb our back, stacking the odds in our favor. Additionally, by shaking our body we make it even more difficult for them to not slide down our body and fall off the front into their guard – hence the name of the technique: “Shakedown”. Add in the additional factor of sweat in no-gi grappling, and the move becomes even more effective as a match continues.

Shakedown defense is commonly used in combination with Running Escapes, and Negative Back Defenses. All together, we’re putting together a back defense game that is strong in both directions, allowing you to change directions suddenly if an opponent is over powering you. Sudden direction changing allows you to use an opponents momentum and resistance against them – the principle of Kuzushi, the central idea of our system. But you have to have techniques in multiple directions to utilize this strategy and be very athletically efficient with your energy. Note that the opponent rightly and intelligently flow right into an “early” guard attack as they are falling off your back – this is optimal strategy – so we should always be ready to defend a guard submission. However, the great thing is that the shakedown defense also works beautifully to defend guard submissions, if you’re able to stay strong in a standing position, so we can easily just keep shaking them down until we pull out of the guard submission attempt… and just move right into our top passing game. Since we’re already in a standing position, we can go directly to setting up Head Quarters Position to shut down their guard game and get to our passes.

Closed Guard/High Guard Transitions to X-guard When They Stand in Your Underhooked Leg

Same move from Triangle, Omo Plata, Armbar/Pendulum Sweep, or if they stand to windmill punch in closed guard or to lift and slam, they stand → we X-guard getup-sweep

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