tell you have trained all over the world with many different great black belts and I have watched BJJ change a lot in the last 17 years. But it wasn’t till I started taking a few privates from Henry Akins did a see a whole new Jiu Jitsu I had never felt before.
I broke my back and had to get surgery missed about 3 years of training. Getting back on the mat has been hard, things just don’t work the way they used to and some positions just don’t work any more at all. I needed a whole new guard game.
I ran in to Henry and I told him my problems will training and my back. He shared some really good stuff with me right there on the spot. Stuff I knew would instantly improve my training and guard. I love when you get those little morsels that fill a hole in your game.
So after that I decided to head down to his school in West Los Angeles Dyanmix Martial Arts, and invest in some private lessons. Most of the first class was on philosophies he developed from training with Rickson throughout his most demanding training and competitive part of Rickson’s career and then being trained to become the lead instructor at the Rickson Gracie JiuJitsu academy. You can tell Henry really soaked up a lot in those years.
"Its really more of a philosophy of Jiu Jitsu." Henry told me. "Once you start to apply these concepts and philosophies to Jiu–jitsu you wont need to know a thousand techniques "
We all know the basic ideas of Jiu Jitsu. But we don’t know the details of why they work. It is amazing to me how many times just moving a part of your body just 2 inches it changes the dynamics of the entire technique. This is why Rickson’s Jiu Jitsu is called invisible Jiu Jitsu because the details can be so small you don’t notice it but you can really feel it.
Henry calls it,` Hidden Jiu Jitsu because it not invisible you can see it and once you see it you will most certainly always notice it. Every match I watch I see little the differences in what Henry teaches and what people are doing. Henry and I watched two world champions trying to pass guard very unsuccessfully, they were making a lot of very small mistakes that are not obvious at all until you understand the philosophy of guard passing. Then Henry asked "What are they doing different from what we talked about, not different technique but philosophically what is different?" As soon as he said it I knew exactly what he meant. "Leg fighting" and no engaging or weight distribution. I can’t explain leg fighting to you yet with out sounding stupid. Its too simple an idea, you just end up say ya of course I know how to do that. But you don’t ya don’t do it the way Henry teaches it.
Once you feel it you will never forget it. Once you feel some of you basic positions like side control, mount, closed guard with the perfected basics details, really its super advanced basics, it changes every thing, it makes all your techniques more efficient and effective. For instance I never learned proper positioning when i have someone in my guard. On top yes of course I learned about posture for being in the guard. But never how my positioning and pressure should be on bottom. Just like in the guard, posture is everything, in every position, mount, top, bottom, side control there is certain positioning that makes everything more effective!
So once you understand how to have connection with your opponent all your movements become so much more effective. When done right its crazy how little effort it can take to do something.
Connection is something we all understand in a position like side control. but in closed guard, mount and especially in guard passing the philosophy changes quite a bit. A new puzzle with some crazy pieces to play with.
If you ever get a chance to get a private or a seminar from Henry I highly suggest it. Ill be back there as soon as I can.
I have shared a video we shot of Henry teaching at the Sandy Hook Seminar we did a few months back.