Rickson Gracie Black Belt Henry Akins Joins SBG BJJ Association Henry Akins, the third American to receive a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt from legendary fighter Rickson Gracie has just anounced that he has joined Straight Blast Gym International, a BJJ association of over 35 gyms worldwide . Akins trained under Rickson Gracie for 15 years. Akins became the head instructor or “Professor” at the Rickson Gracie Academy from 2005 to 2008 before resigning due to a back injury. Akins talked about his new position: “I’m really honored and proud to announce I’ve joined the incredible team at SBG. I’m really happy to be a part of a team that shares similar ideas, values and philosophy in martial arts. By aligning myself with so many other great martial artists, teachers and students around the world I believe we are stronger and can accomplish more together! Be ready for more great things to come!” SBG founder Matt Thornton, one of the first American-born practitioners to receive a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, stated: “As president of SBG, one of my favorite things to do is welcome new coaches into our ranks. That said, I’m really happy to announce that Henry Akins is joining the SBG team. Many of you know the influence Rickson had on SBG from its very beginnings in 1992. His emphasis on fundamentals and a Jiu-Jitsu that stayed true to its fighting roots has been one of the drivers behind how the organization developed. As one of Rickson’s top black belts, Henry brings a wealth of knowledge. When you train with him you can see immediately how much thought and effort he puts into his teaching. You can also see that he’s someone who really cares about others, and is using Jiu-Jitsu as a vehicle for good. All of this makes him a perfect fit for SBG. And someone we are very proud to have on board. Please welcome Henry Akins to the Tribe! Once these difficult times pass, we will all have many fantastic training opportunities and gatherings to look forward to! Viva SBG.” Very surprising. Of course I'm naturally as curious as everyone else.