Tom DeBlass is currently one of the most sought after American grappling athletes and instructors in the world right now. He has developed a broad social media following with his brand of no-nonsense, straight from the heart mix of advice and humor, that he is more than willing to share.
This mix of humor and motivation has earned him legions of fans inside the combat sports arena and even outside. His combat resume is indicative of a well-seasoned career that has seen him competing at the highest levels for the last decade. With no signs of stopping anytime soon, Tom finds himself teaching, training and competing full time around the world.
As recently as 2019, Tom DeBlass was still competing in super fights at events like Fight 2 Win. In a twist fitting for a Hollywood movie, in May of 2020, Tom DeBlass announced his new relationship with the worldwide juggernaut One Fighting Championship with a tentative first fight planned in the later months of 2020.
Below is an extensive list of Tom DeBlass’ grappling accomplishments. It’s important to remember that Tom devoted five years to the pursuit of his MMA goals which landed him opportunities with two of the most prestigious organizations in mixed martial arts, the UFC and Bellator. After "retiring" from MMA, he returned to the grappling stage to win a third ADCC American Trials title and headed to Finland to represent the US. In 2020, Tom DeBlass announced that his retirement from MMA was not forever as he signed with ONE Fighting Championship with plans to enter the MMA cage again before 2020 is over.
3X ADCC VETERAN
FIGHT TO WIN PRO MAIN EVENT WINNER
2016 ADCC NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION
2016 ADCC AMERICAN NATIONALS ABSOLUTE CHAMPION
ADCC NY SUPERFIGHT CHAMPION
2015 BLACK BELT WORLD NO GI MASTERS/ABSOLUTE CHAMPION
2014 ADCC NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION
2013 BLACK BELT NO GI PAN AMERICAN CHAMPION
2013 BLACK BELT NO GI WORLDS BRONZE MEDAL
2009 ADCC NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION
2009 BLACK BELT NO GI WORLDS BRONZE MEDAL
2007 BROWN BELT NO GI WORLDS CHAMPION
2007 BROWN BELT PAN AMERICAN CHAMPION
2007 BROWN BELT AMERICAN NATIONALS CHAMPION
6X GRAPPLERS QUEST EXPERT CHAMPION
MULTIPLE TIME SUPER FIGHT CHAMPION
RING OF COMBAT CHAMPION
MEMBER OF NJ MARTIAL ARTS HALL OF FAME
In addition to these personal grappling and mixed martial arts achievements, Tom DeBlass’ achievements extend to the development of his students, most famously Garry Tonon, Tom’s first black belt and Gordon Ryan, Garry’s first black belt.
ADCC 2019 would see Tom assuming the role of official referee for the ADCC organization as well as coach to his students. Tom's first black belt Garry Tonon would finish the event with a Bronze medal, while Gordon Ryan would rule the day earning double gold at the event, winning his weight and the Absolute division.
Tom DeBlass Instructional Videos
First and foremost, Tom DeBlass has taken the responsibility of a teacher onto his shoulders. As a former elementary school, special education teacher, he honed the skills that allow him to take a complex and oftentimes completely foreign concept and breaking it down into digestible pieces to make it understandable and also achieveable for any BJJ practitioner.
He has parlayed this skill into the development of nearly 30 black belts of his own, as well as building a home academy, Ocean County Brazilian Jiu Jitsu into over 400 students. In the last 5 years, he has also added a number of academies across the US, Canada, Costa Rica and Argentina. With seminars booked nearly twice a month across the globe and his busy competitive schedule, Tom has decided in the last few years to begin sharing some of his knowledge in a way that can help him impact the widest audience possible.
His first instructional series quickly became one of the fastest selling BJJ instructional for BJJ Fanatics. This “Half Domination” series featured Tom’s battle tested techniques and insights intended to help practitioners develop a well-rounded half guard game and be able to utilize both the bottom and top positions to execute “perfect jiu jitsu” and implement one’s ultimate game plan towards submission and victory.
Ripped in 12 Weeks
For Tom’s second instructional, he decided to take his nutritional and workout approach and share it with the BJJ community and beyond. The simple, easy-to-follow program has already yielded great results and feedback in a few short weeks. It is available at the link below. If you are especially interested in nutritional issues, feel free to check another guide Combat Sports Nutrition E-BOOK by Reid Reale.
Being stuck in the worst positions with no way out is one of the hardest things to face in jiu jitus. To attack this problem and help our fans out there, Tom went to the woodshed to produce his Submissions Escape Series
High Tech BJJ in the Gi
Showing his diversity of instruction, Tom tacked the Gi in High Tech BJJ in the Gi. Though known primarily as a No Gi competitor, he spent the vast majority of his time up to Brown Belt training almost exclusively in the Gi. This series is crucial to improving your Gi game.
The Butterfly Half Guard
Tom DeBlass' most recent release picks up where Half Domination left off and brings into play the dynamic butterfly hook. In The Half Butterfly Guard, DeBlass is going to give you a master class in sweeps, submissions, and keeping the passing opponent at bay.
Closed Guard Domination
For his next release, Tom DeBlass decided to shine a light on a sometimes forgotten, but extremely important position, Closed Guard. Closed guard is one of those positions we think we understand much sooner than we actually do and Tom DeBlass will show you exactly how to expand the use of the position beyond just a neutral or stalling position to hold the opponent and remain relatively complacent. Just as he has done with Half Guard in Half Domination. He's taken a position that's misunderstood and seen as primarily defensive and turned it into something that will help you dominate your opponents in this position.
The kimura has been a favorite submission of Tom DeBlass' for his entire career. In this four volume series, he will show you how to find and catch the Kimura from every position. His simple, but effective finishing details will increase your kimura finishing percentage exponentially. In addition to using the Kimura as a submission in and of itself, Tom will also reveal how to implement the kimura as a control and a transitional position to set up other offensive options to dominate your opponents.
Leg Attack Domination
Tom DeBlass' grappling career spans a number of generations and through that career, he has seen a number of movements come and go. Coming from the hard-nosed, no holds barred days as a white belt working with Renzo and Ryan Gracie, Ricardo Almeida and many other old school monsters to now helping to guide the careers of grappling rockstars like Garry Tonon and Gordon Ryan, Tom's BJJ perfectly bridges the old school and the new school.
Unlike many black belts of his generation, Tom has embraced the development of lower body submissions and kept up with the latest trends and developments. Where he is different is in his explanation and execution of these techniques. His delivery is extremely simple and easy to digest. You will not need to watch and study these moves over and over to be able to begin implementing them in open mat today. Tom will have you dominating the legs in no time.
Deep Half Guard Domination
To learn Deep Half Guard from a black belt that normally sits around 225 lbs is to truly understand the movements. In Deep Half Guard Domination, DeBlass is going to show you all of his secrets that have worked on the who's who of bigger competitors over the years. Whether he is going for the sweep or the leg entanglement, Deep Half Guard is a position that perfectly complements the big man's half guard game.
Solo and Partner Drills for Rapid Improvement
Tom DeBlass is a huge advocate for solo drills to help solidify learning and to also ensure that you are able to effectively move your own body. He has often said that if you cannot move your own body effectively, you will stand no chance in moving another person's body effectively.
Solo and Partner Drills for Rapid Improvement is a series that can help strengthen the connection between movements and help you build good transitions between techniques. These drills can also be used effectively on days when you can't train or even as extra work on days you can.
The Road to Black Belt
Tom DeBlass is a jiu jitsu athlete who has made himself very accessible to his students and his fans all over the globe. He receives countless messages each month on a wide variety of topics. In The Road to Black Belt he attempts to cover many of the topics that he gets asked about daily.
This deep dive into the Tom DeBlass mindset is an invaluable resource that one will find themselves referring back to often during their own BJJ journey on the way to the coveted black belt.
One of the most important and least explored concepts behind the game of Tom DeBlass and behind jiu jitsu in general is the idea of Framing. In Framing Domination and Guard Recovery, Tom DeBlass takes on the concept of framing and shows how it is used and how it can be developed and improved in every position imaginable. Without Framing there is no guard retention, which makes this series a must have for every BJJ practitioner.
Half Guard Domination 2.0
Most recently, Tom DeBlass has followed up his wildly successful Half Domination with Half Guard Domination 2.0. This time, in the Gi Tom DeBlass takes the foundations he layed out in Half Domination and continues to develop the half guard system that has made him one of the preeminent half guard players in grappling.
Tom DeBlass Biography
Never one to shy away from difficult topics regarding his life and upbringing, his personal mantra of “never go long without suffering a little” was developed from his early youth. As Tom has discussed in interviews in the past, he grew up in a household overshadowed by the substance abuse issues of his father. In order to turn the negative experiences he had as a child into something positive, Tom channeled his energy into sports and martial arts training from an early age. In high school, as a track athlete, he was considered one of the best in the state of New Jersey until he suffered a catastrophic injury which tore the majority of the ligaments and tendons in his foot, which would ultimately steer him to the “safer” world of competitive grappling and mixed martial arts. Along the way, he would earn his college degree in Special Education and go on to teach briefly at a local elementary school. This role of teacher would go on to foreshadow his future as an instructor and coach for some of the grappling world’s most famous competitors.
Tom earned his blue belt through black belt from legendary ADCC and MMA veteran Ricardo Almeida in just over six years. During that time, he found himself training alongside the likes of Renzo and Ryan Gracie, as well as Almeida. Besides his success as three time ADCC North American Trial winner and ADCC veteran, Tom would go on to have a successful MMA career in the Ring of Combat organziation before being called on for fights in the prestigious Ultimate Fighting Championship, as well as Bellator. After about 5 years, Tom would step away from MMA with an impressive 9 wins and 2 losses, to focus on the development of his home academy, Ocean County Brazilian Jitsu and his competitive grappling career.
Beyond his own career competing on some of the highest profile combat sports stages in the world, Tom has been a primary force in the development of some extremely talented athletes, namely his first black belt Garry Tonon, who has also become one of the most accomplished submission grapplers on the planet. Recently Garry has earned his 5th victory at the prestigious Eddie Bravo Invitational, sub only event. Tom DeBlass has also been instrumental in the professional development of Garry’s own first awarded black belt, Gordon Ryan. The three of them, along with other Team Renzo Gracie members, recently had a stellar ADCC 2017 World Championship run with Gordon securing gold in the 88Kg weight class and a silver medal in the absolute division, in his very first ADCC.
To give back to the sport and continue to improve the level of competition, 2016 became the year that Tom DeBlass not only competed and was victorious in his third ADCC North American Trials event, but he also served as the key spokesman and organizer for the event held in New Jersey. This event was arguably one of the most organized with the date and location secured a full year in advance to give the athletes the maximum amount of time to plan and train for their chance to compete and win a trip to the most prestigious grappling event in the world.
Currently, Tom is leading a thriving academy and a growing affiliation with nearly 30 academies under his umbrella, while continually sharing with the world his fBJJ instructionals like the one that started it all “Half Domination” series which focuses on his half guard game. Most recently, he has made a Gi based follow up to that series with Half Guard Domination 2.0. In between, his output has included volumes on Closed Guard, the Kimura, Leg Attacks, Deep Half Guard, Solo Drills and Guard Retention.
At an age where some grappling athletes might be considering retirement, Tom DeBlass always seems to be peaking, adding new accomplishments that not only add to his competitive resume, but also serve to expand the reach of jiu jitsu and the grappling arts across the world. Most recently, Tom stunned the world and some might say himself by signing with the illustrious ONE Fighting Championship organization with an anticipated first bout to happen sometime in late 2020 or early 2021.
In the short documentary film by Samuel Rivera, Tom DeBlass speaks to his upbringing and development in the world of BJJ and combat sports.
Tom DeBlass “Accomplishing Your Dreams” by Samuel Rivera films
I AM A BJJ FANATIC
Another video offering from BJJ Fanatics offers a sneak peak into the life and mind of Tom DeBlass.