Yesterday I attended my third seminar with Henry Akins, this one being at Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu in Columbus Ohio, and it was just as mind blowing as all the rest have been. If you’ve never been to a seminar with Henry Akins you need to put it on your to-do list, asap. Every time I’ve attended his seminars I’ve come away with concepts that immediately improved the efficiency of my jiu jitsu. I always find myself thinking “I can’t believe I haven’t thought of doing it this way before” when he shows a detail, because the simplicity and efficiency of the movement that he teaches makes it seem like the move was always intended to be done this particular way. Ask anybody that attends these seminars and they will tell you the same. There are many “Eureka!” moments.
Yesterday we spent 3 hours going over side control escapes. The emphasis was centered around the fight for the underhook during the guard pass. Henry is adamant about not letting the guard passer get the underhook, because it makes it easier for them to flatten you out that way (though he does have some tricks for getting out once you’re flattened out as well). We worked mostly from the position of being on our side while getting passed, and never allowing the passer to get us onto our backs.
Henry doesn’t think you should use your arms to frame out while being passed. He made a very good point that framing with your arms makes you more susceptible to being pinned to the ground, as your arms make a connection point for the passer to push his weight into you. Additionally he showed how easily the frames could be beat just by the passer changing angles. Instead he recommended immediately getting to your side when your guard is beat and to begin defending against the underhook, which then positions you to get up to your knees, and from that point there are a variety of techniques to employ.
We got a nice surprise near the end of class when Henry and Robin Gieseler (Robin is the main instructor at Relson Gracie Ohio, you can check out his videos at his school’s YouTube channel here) got into a discussion about what they thought students (including themselves) should focus on in jiu jitsu, and what might be missing from the standard practice, all of this centered around the practical self-defense application of jiu jitsu rather than a sports based focus. It was a real treat to hear the insights both of these guys had in this regard.
In addition to traveling and doing seminars Henry also has an online course called the “Mind Blown Club” which you can sign up for at his site “Hidden Jiu Jitsu“. I subscribe to this course and can say that it is an amazing resource. He often records his seminars, and then breaks apart the videos into the individual techniques and posts them on his site. It’s really cool to be able to go to these videos and reference what was taught in the seminar, especially since it’s hard to really remember all the details without this video reference. If you become a member then you also get access to a private Facebook group that connects you with other members, and enables you to ask Henry questions directly. It’s a very helpful resource and community.
Any time Henry comes to town I’ll be there. I really believe in the efficiency of his technique, and his stuff is a great supplement to my regular training.