The number one complaint I get from people is in dealing with the closed guard. It was high on the list of puzzles difficult to solve, especially for beginners as far as 10 years ago. In modern BJJ, where so many guards and different styles are available, the closed guard still remains a puzzle for most. Moreover, it is used quite a lot more than most think, hence the need for a system that will help you deal with it. Today, I will be looking at an instructional by Henry Akins, an instructor I admire very much called “Inside The Closed Guard”.
“Inside The Closed Guard” is a four-part BJJ instructional that focuses on what to do when someone has you in their guard. It does not just cover opening and passing the BJJ closed guard, but also about how to remain safe in the position until such time comes that you can go about opening it.
The instructional lasts just over 2 hours and is presented in a very easy-to-understand fashion. Everything Akins shows is with the Gi, although most of the underlying concepts in the DVD are applicable without it too.
This instructional will help you stay safe in anyone’s closed guard, break free, dismantle their defenses, and pass. You can expect to see a few “controversial” moves here, like the “arm behind the back” pass and the “can opener”, so try to keep an open mind.
Henry Akins is a BJJ black belt under the iconic Rickson Gracie. He was so valued by the legendary Gracie fighter, that he was in charge of teaching classes at Rickons ‘s academy for a long while.
Akins’ martial arts story begins in Taekwondo in his native Oklahoma. a highly analytical and intelligent fighter, he quickly understood that grappling had lots more to offer, as he got interested in wrestling during high school. Contrary to most people who discovered BJJ through Royce’s exploits in the first few UFC events, Akins saw some Rickson Gracie Vale Tudo tapes that opened the door to Jiu-Jitsu for him.
He went to seek out Rickson, moving to California and enlisting in Rickson’s academy. Akins went through the belts with the help of Luis Heredia, and earned his black belt from Rickson Gracie in 2004.
Akins is one of the best BJJ instructors in the world, period. He has a very keen sense of organizing the content in his instructional so that it flows in a logical and easy-to-follow way. In this DVD he starts with posturing and keeping your limbs and neck out of harm’s way, before exploring how to kill pretty much every sweep attack with ease.
He also covers standing openings of the closed guard, as well as a few that start from the knees. Last but not least, Henry Akins teaches very intelligent ways of defending against some of the most common submissions from the closed guard in Jiu-Jitsu: armbars, triangles and guillotines.
Akins’ approach to BJJ is very similar to that of Rickon: he likes fundamentals tuff and he likes to go extremely deep int to he details and fine aspects that make everything tick.
Anyone training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (or similar grappling that allows the use of the guard) will benefit from this BJJ DVD. Akins will talk about things that white and blue belts will miss, and only black belts will pick up, The beauty of his way of teaching is that everyone will learn, regardless if you take everything he says into account or only focus on the gross portions of his material.
“Inside the Closed Guard” is available in a DVD format, or as a digital download via the BJJ Fanatics platform. It contains four volumes, each lasting around 30 minutes (the first one is nearly 40). The organization of the material is flawless, as is the delivery.
Audiovisually, everything is shot in HD and there are multiple angles to the most important aspects of the things henry Akins demonstrates.WHile the camera does not move around him, he and his uke change the angles to put the most important thing into perspective.
In the opening portion of the instructional, Akins covers the key thing when dealing with the closed guard: keeping your posture. He does elaborate on the subjects, stating that you don’t always need to try and posture up at any cost, with which I agree completely.
He does, however, outline the importance of posture, as well as ways of obtaining it smartly under different circumstances. These include people pulling you forward via your arm or neck, or trapping your head or arm(s). Henry demonstrates how to stop people from sweeping you with the usual suspects (like the hip bump sweep) and how to approach opening the closed guard, from standing, kneeling, and half-kneeling.
In the opening sections of the second position of the ‘Inside the Closed Guard” Henry Akins BJJ DVD, the subject is how to deal with the closed guard by standing up. Akins covers both what you should do and what to look out for. He’ll teach you how to avoid getting collar choked while safely standing up to break open the full guard.
He then changes levels and starts talking about dealing with the closed guard from a kneeling position.
A couple more chapters on even more details about posture wrap the second volume up.
Volume Number three starts with a bang, featuring a modified can opener to help you pry the opponent’s legs open. Henry goes as far as discussing how to act depending on which leg is on top in the opponent’s closed guard structure.
The rest of this part is all about defending. Akins explains how to prevent armbars from ever occurring, as well as how to escape if you’ve been caught in a deep one. He also kills the triangle choke set up from the bottom by using his elbows.
This part ends the way it started – with another bang. This time it is the “arm behind the back” pass, aka, Tozi pass variation.
In the final portion of this Henry Akins DVD, the focus is almost entirely on triangle defense. Early defense, late escapes and everything in between is jam-packed in this volume of the instructional.
There’s a solution to the closed guard guillotine too, before a final chapter that addresses guillotine escape Q&A.
How We Grade The “Inside The Closed Guard” Henry Akins Instructional
Considering this Henry Akins instructional DVD’s technical aspects and quality of content, we come to an overall score for this instructional that I’ll deliberate in short below.
Technical Quality: 10/10
Nothing surprising here, just another DVD up to the standards of today in terms of video and audio quality.
Quality of Content: 10/10
I rarely give out 10s, usually because there is at least something missing from most instructional. This is one of the rare ones that I can’t find a flaw in. ti is made for everyone, it is sufficiently long, addresses a very important subject and offers answers to all the right questions.
A BJJ DVD is worth your time and money. Get this one right after reading this review, regardless of your belt level. Afterward, spent at least three months trying out Henry’s stuff. After that period, no closed guard is going to bother you again. Ever!
Herny Akins is always a joy to watch. he is one of the best and definitely extremely underrated BJJ instructors out there. So far, I’ve learned game-changing details from him about different aspects of BJJ. “Inside The Closed Guard” is yet another one of his instructional that won’t leave anyone that watches it disappointed. The only thing you’ll be wanting is more of Henry’s grappling wisdom.