Henry Akins DVD Review: Ultimate Armlock Escapes

How many grapplers do you know that are not form the original BJJ days and have a knack for the old-school Jiu-Jitsu? Moreover, how many do you know that are able to perfectly “marry” old school BJJ with modern Jiu-Jitsu principles? I personally don’t know of that many. One in particular jumps to mind in this context, and that’s Henry Akins. The man really has a unique blend of JIu-jitsu, which I guess has a lot to do with learning directly from Rickson Gracie. The “Ultimate Armlock Escapes” Henry Akins DVD is a glaring example of what I mean when I say he is a modern master of the old school Jiu-Jitsu.

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Escapes are the next big thing. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it. We have an oversaturation of fancy guards that are based on attacks, and so many different submissions it’s becoming impossible to follow. It is just natural that escapes will be next because the balance has to be restored in grappling. The thing with escapes is they’re much more difficult than attacks and require a completely different mindset. One of the great innovators in the field is Henry Akins, a black belt you should already be familiar with. If you’re not, the “Ultimate Armlock Escapes” henry Akins DVD is the perfect opportunity.

Invisible Jiu-Jitsu Decoded

You’ve probably heard the term “invisible Jiu-Jitsu before.” It is something that’s often thrown around BJJ gyms and online, but not many people can really get to the gist of it. It is something that Rickson talks about a lot, but Rickson is not one to tell many things or go too much in-depth. He is really old-school in that manner and likes to keep some key points to himself. Completely understandable. Some of his black belts, though, have seen fit to go deeper into explaining this concept, if nothing else, just o tickle our imagination even more.

UAE - Henry Akins DVD Review: Ultimate Armlock EscapesInvisible Jiu-Jitsu is about body positioning more than it is about techniques, concepts, or principles. In invisible Jiu-Jitsu, using your body as one unit to achieve offensive or defensive goals is what makes you feel unmovable or inhumanly heavy, depending on the position. It is what makes belt belts feel like brick houses, and apparently gives them psychic abilities in predicting your next move. All of it comes down to body shape and positioning, mostly without much visible movement. Henry Akins is a wizard on that subject, and “Ultimate Armlock Escapes” follows these principles rather than just a bunch of escape techniques. If you have to start somewhere with a Henry Akins DVD, start with this one.

Henry Akins

Akins is an American grappler, born in Oklahoma. Through Taekwondo, he discovered wrestling, and ultimately ended up seeing Rickson fight in a Vale Tudo match and moved to California in a quest to train with the Gracie family. This was somewhere in the 1990s. He managed to track down Rickson (although not easily) and started training with him. It suffices to say that spending around 70 hours per week in the academy quickly launched Henry through the ranks, and made him an integral part of Rickson’s academy, along with Luis Heredia.

Rickson Gracie promoted Henry Akins to black belt in 2004, making Henry only the third American to get a black belt from Rickson. Since then Akins has been the head instructor in several of Rickson’s gyms, lately settling for Dynamix Martial Arts, an MMA academy in California. He has a strong online presence but this is Ultimate Armlock Escapes is one of the rare Henry Akins DVD instructionals available in the modern 4-volume format.

Ultimate Armlock Escapes Henry Akins DVD Review

Apart from this being a Henry Akins DVD, which is not very common nowadays, the rest is pretty much the same as with all modern BJJ DVDs. There are four volumes, each focusing on different aspects of the subject of Ultimate Armlock Escapes. It has to be noted that Akins is one of the best teachers of Jiu-Jitsu I’ve ever learned from, and he does not leave a stone unturned when explaining a specific subject. Conversely, his instructional has crucial and ample information on defending all types of armlocks – bent and straight, form top and bottom, and every other combination imaginable.

I. Escaping Kimuras And Americanas

Opening the “Ultimate Armlock Escapes” Henry Akins DVD are bent armlocks, and in particular, the Americana. The highest percentage Americana finishes are from top positions, namely the mount side control, and top half guard. That’s exactly what Akins focuses on, using the invisible Jiu-Jitsu principles. The way he sets up Americana defense is in layers – primary defense, secondary defense, and late options to get you out of really tight spots, like for example, bridging or escaping towards the back of an opponent.

Past the halfway point of this volume, Kimuras make an appearance as well, representing the most used variation of a bent armlock in BJJ. Akins goes over several Kimura defenses you already know, like grabbing the pants and your other arm, mainly against top side control setups. However, he explains them through invisible Jiu-Jitsu principles, providing a whole new perspective on things.

II. Even More Kimura Escapes

The second volume of this set is where all the Kimura escape magic actually happens. In short, Henry goes over every possible Kimura attack scenario and offers slick and intuitive ways out that will confuse even seasoned black belts. North-South Kimuras make for a large portion in the opening chapters of this volume, before a look at bottom Kimuras, starting with the half guard. Despite everything making more sense than ever, and everything working perfectly live, I have to point out he portion on defending closed guard Kimuras, because is completely unorthodox, yet incredibly functional and easy to incorporate.

III. Dealing With the Straight Armbar

The straight armbar is statistically the most used submission of all times in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. That means you have a great chance of being caught in one in every roll and/or match you do. “Ultimate Armlock Escapes” will take care of all your armbar worries. The third volume of this Henry Akins DVD focuses on dealing with the armbar from the guard, before switching towards top position armbars.

img05 - Henry Akins DVD Review: Ultimate Armlock EscapesIn terms of the closed guard, things like the stack defense posture defense and pushing with the knees that you’ve probably used are still your best options. It is not what you do, it is how you do it and why it works. The answer to both these questions is once again invisible Jiu-Jitsu.

I have to point out the belly down armlock escape which is something I personally have been missing from my game. The details on the hitchhiker are also out of this world, and every other chapter that goes to the end just piles more and more escape options that pretty much render straight armbars useless if you spend enough time drilling them.

IV. Advanced Armlock Escapes

Still on the subject of the straight armlock (bar the very final chapter that addresses the Omoplata), Henry goes into some more advanced, and some a bi t obscure ways of wiggling out of armbars. Escaping from the guard shoulder swallow, messing around with using your legs as frames, and even sitting up are invisible Jiu-Jitsu options that probably nobody outside of  Rickson’s style of BJJ has ever considered. Expect a lot of talk about wedges, body shape, core involvement, and bridging in this volume.

In Summary

“Ultimate Armlock Escapes” is an instructional that will change how you approach Jiu-Jitsu. I have to praise Henry for focusing on escapes in such detail, rather than offering more arm locking submission options. There’s definitely a lot to explore in the realm of defense and escapes and this Henry Akins DVD is a great place to start. Moreover, it focuses on moves you’re more than likely to encounter every time you slap and bump with someone.

Still, on the subject of the straight armlock (bar the very final chapter that addresses the Omoplata), Henry goes into some more advanced, and some a bit obscure ways of wiggling out of armbars. Escaping from the guard shoulder swallow, messing around with using your legs as frames, and even sitting up are invisible Jiu-Jitsu options that probably nobody outside of  Rickson’s style of BJJ has ever considered. Expect a lot of talk about wedges, body shape, core involvement, and bridging in this volume.

In Summary

“Ultimate Armlock Escapes” is an instructional that will change how you approach Jiu-Jitsu. I have to praise Henry for focusing on escapes in such detail, rather than offering more arm locking submission options. There’s definitely a lot to explore in the realm of defense and escapes and this Henry Akins DVD is a great place to start. Moreover, it focuses on moves you’re more than likely to encounter every time you slap and bump with someone.

ON SALE HERE:
Henry Akins – Ultimate Armlock Escapes

HenryAkins UltimateArmlockEscapes Cover 1024x1024 300x202 - Henry Akins DVD Review: Ultimate Armlock Escapes
Techniques List