What techniques should you focus on in bjj training, developing a philosophy – Rickson Gracie Black Belt, Henry Akins

Guest Blog Post with Rickson Gracie Black Belt, Henry Akins:

What techniques should you focus on in bjj training, developing a philosophy

With access to so much information on Jiu-Jitsu available online and in books these days and so many different styles and techniques It can become overwhelming for students to know what to start working on and where they should focus their time and energy.

Time is a very limited commodity. Most people spend about 2-3 hours a week training.

It would take several lifetimes to be able to master all the techniques out there.  So where and what I focus my energy on was something crucial for me to grasp very early on in my career to make sure I was not “wasting” my time. I always believed that if I was going to devote so much time to learning and developing a martial art, If I ever needed to use it one day to protect myself or someone I care about It would be effective.

First and foremost Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a MARTIAL ART that was created for smaller people to be able to overcome a bigger stronger opponent.

My philosophy on the art, and training, sticks to those roots.

So for every technique I see I always ask myself two questions.  “If I were to use this in a fight, does it expose me to taking damage?” AND “Would this work on a bigger stronger opponent?”

One aspect of Jiu-Jitsu that I feel is really neglected, or not enough time is spent, is the stand up.

One thing to realize is almost every real encounter you get into starts from the the feet or stand up.  As a complete system of self defense, Jiu-Jitsu has ways to deal with most these situations but usually against a bigger attacker, the best place to deal with things is on the ground where it is easier to control distance. So the ability to take my opponent to the ground, where most of the techniques in Jiu-Jitsu can be applied is crucial.

Because the techniques I decided to focus on had to be effective on “the street” and I live in sunny Southern California.  I could not rely on someone wearing a big coat or pants. It was important for me to develop a style and stick to techniques that did not rely on grips, something that worked gi or no-gi.

By focusing on these concepts and Ideas while I was learning, It really helped me to develop my style and focus and sort through all the stuff out there.

My philosophy for Jiu-Jitsu:

1. Need to develop the ability to take someone down in the street or on concrete without injuring myself.

2. All techniques I’m going to train, could be used in a situation where striking was involved and I would not be exposed to taking damage.

3. The techniques could be used on a bigger stronger opponent.

4. The techniques can be used gi or no-gi with very little variation.

You can see that by applying the ideas above a lot of techniques are already eliminated.  There is no getting into a physical confrontation jumping guard and holding sleeves to play spider.

This was MY philosophy that I developed for MY Jiu-Jitsu it does not apply to everyone but I believe it is important to see what your goals are and develop a philosophy based on your goals so you are not just jumping on the latest flashy move and never get to refine a style that works for you.

Jiu-Jitsu is an art, everybody has their own personal way of expressing it, so you need to decide “What kind of artist are you going to be?”

Who is Henry Akins?

Henry Akins began training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in 1995 at the Rickson Gracie Acadamy on Pico blvd in West LA. Shortly after he started he became the secretary at the academy and was spending 70 hours a week there watching and participating in all of the classes. In 1997 the school moved to the Pacific Palisades where Henry trained and assisted main Instructor Luis Heredia and also participated and trained in all of the classes taught by Rickson. During these years Henry had the opportunity to train with Rickson and help him prepare for his fights in Japan. In 2000 the academy moved again to Wilshire blvd in West LA. By this time Henry had begun teaching many of the classes at the school.

In Feb of 2004, because of his persistence and dedication to the fundamentals and philosophies of Jiu-Jitsu, Rickson Gracie presented Henry with a blackbelt, being only the third American at the time to receive that honor. Henry then took over the school and became the main instructor there until 2008 when he was forced to stop due to a back injury. Now Henry is the head Jiu-Jitsu instructor at Dynamix Martial Arts (To train personally with Henry – Click Here Dynamixmartialarts.com) and although Henry is no longer affiliated with Rickson Gracie or his association, he feels blessed to be able to share this art with others and to pass on the knowledge that was taught to him by the greatest Jiu-Jitsu practitioner ever.

Check out a sick video where Henry shows you some of his specific details on Guard Passing

Click here you can join Henry’s private Facebook group where he breaks down mad jiu jitsu knowledge. It’s a closed group, so only cool people can join.

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