By Christian Simamora
A quick conversation with Henry Akins, one of Dynamix’ founders.
Where did the name Dynamix Martial Arts originate from?
We wanted to come up with a name that had a lot of meaning and didn’t sound super cliche and cheesy. The word Dynamic is pretty descriptive of the martial arts we both teach here and how we try to teach them.
Dynamic – 1. pertaining to or characterized by energy or effective action; vigorously active or forceful; energetic; 2. a. of or pertaining to force or power, b. of or pertaining to force related to motion
Then we decided to change the spelling a little once we decided on calling the gym Dynamix Martial Arts so when we write it out people could also see “MMA”, which of course is a very popular term right now.
How did you and Antoni Hardonk meet? How did the idea for the school come about?
Antoni and I met in 2004 when he came to LA to train at Rickson Gracie’s Academy where I was the main instructor at the time. After that we became close friends. The idea for the gym didn’t really come about until around January of this year. Antoni made the decision to move to the United States and wanted to start teaching because he noticed a very big demand for high level stand up in LA and the US in general. Most of the kickboxing in the US comes from Muay Thai, but the Muay Thai style and Dutch kickboxing style are very different in the way they use their hands, the way they throw their kicks and the footwork. I also needed a place to start teaching group classes, so I thought it would be a great idea to open a school together and offer people a place where they can go and learn very technical Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Dutch kickboxing.
What was the opening like?
Even though it was a big holiday weekend, we still had around 250 people come out. A lot of good friends came to support, such as black belt and owner of Hollywood Jiu-Jitsu, Sean Patrick Flannery, strength and conditioning guru Chad Waterbury, rapper Young Dre, clothing designer and owner of RVCA Pat Tenore and denim icon Jerome Dahan. We also had several well known fighters come out such as Fabricio Werdum, Vladimir Matyushenko, Jared Hamman (just won “fight of the night” in UFC 111) and Gabe Rudiger.
Describe the facilities for our audience.
We have about 1000 sq ft. We didn’t really have any expectations so we didn’t want to open a huge gym and have a ton of overhead. The location of our gym is amazing! It’s 7 blocks from the beach with tons of available parking, close to all the nice hotels, restaurants and shopping in Santa Monica.
I think what makes our gym really special though is the high level of knowledge of the instructors.
Antoni and I both spent 15 years training with the best people in our respective martial art. Antoni comes from the Vos Gym in Holland. He trained under and lived with one of the founders of Dutch Kickboxing, Johan Vos. During his time there he trained on a daily basis with Ivan Hippolyte, Ernesto Hoost and Jerrel Venetiaan.
I was trained of course by Rickson Gracie.
Who is teaching and what is the curriculum, currently and soon-to-come?
Right now Antoni and I are teaching all the classes, and at the moment the classes have been really small, so every class is almost like a semi private. Antoni is teaching all the stand-up classes and I am teaching all the jiu-jitsu classes. Antoni’s classes are Dutch kickboxing and he has an MMA class that is mostly how to use the stand up to close the distance safely and set up take-downs and he also goes over some ground technique.
The classes I am teaching are all Jiu-jitsu classes with a little different focus. I have a gi class, a no-gi class and a self-defense class that teaches people how to use Jiu-jitsu when you are in a situation where an opponent is trying to grab or subdue you or attack you with strikes. It’s the side of jiu-jitsu that doesn’t really get trained so much anymore now that sport jiu-jitsu has grown so big.
We will also be offering yoga classes, which is a great combination to kickboxing and jiu-jitsu because it helps to develop strength, flexibility, and is really beneficial in balancing the body and helping with recovery from training. Another thing we are hoping to have available as soon as we feel we have the demand for it is a strength and conditioning class, and we are really blessed to have access to two of the most well respected strength and conditioning coaches in the country – Jon Hinds and Chad Waterbury.
When will the website launch and what type of content will you present there?
We should have some more information on our website soon about all the stuff I just mentioned. Its a work in progress, but you can keep checking back at www.dynamixmartialarts.com as we add stuff.
What’s the drop-in policy for visitors and non-members?
Everyone is welcome to come and train as long as you have a good attitude and are coming in to learn. If you are coming to a gi class though just make sure to bring a clean white gi.
What does this school mean to you?
The school is first and foremost a martial arts school where we try to pass on the values of true martial artists such as honor, respect, courage and humility; but, it is also a place where people come to have fun, train hard and learn martial arts from very high-level instructors.
Any closing thoughts?
Many people get the wrong impression when they hear the term MMA or Mixed Martial Arts. They think MMA is a style, but actually its a combination of several martial arts that participants in the sport of MMA practice. We are really proud to offer some of the highest level of instruction in two of the martial arts that make up MMA – Kickboxing and Jiu-jitsu. Antoni and I have spent almost half of our lives learning, training, and teaching these arts and would like to welcome everyone to come and train with us.