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Have You Seen This Sneaky Toe Hold From Tom DeBlass?
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Have You Seen This Sneaky Toe Hold From Tom DeBlass?

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Toe Hold From De La Riva by Tom DeBlass

Who is Tom DeBlass? Tom DeBlass is many things. He is one of the most sought after instructors in the grappling world right now.  He is a world class grappler and former mixed martial artist. He is an exceptional instructor. He has a huge social media following from his technique breakdowns and advice on relationships, transformation, adversity and training.  Tom DeBlass is many things and world class in all of them.

Tom has many accomplishments in grappling and mixed martial arts. He has fought in both the UFC and Bellator. He is a 3x ADCC veteran, Fight To Win Pro Main Event Winner, 2016 ADCC North American Champion,2016 ADCC American Nationals Absolute Champion, ADCC NY Super Fight Champion,2015 Black Belt World No Gi Masters and 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 Grappler’s Quest Expert Champion and member of the New Jersey Martial Artist Hall of Fame.

DeBlass’ education and teaching ability is also exceptional. Tom earned his black belt from legendary ADCC and MMA veteran Ricardo Almeida in just over six years. There are many testaments to his exceptional teaching ability. His first black belt is the great Garry Tonon. Gordon Ryan is Tonon’s first black belt. Tom is a former elementary school special education teacher. This experience has honed his ability to take complex concepts and make them understandable to even the novice grapplers. Another testament to his teaching ability is his academy Ocean County Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He has over 350 students and 20 black belts. Additionally he has an empire of affiliates around the world.

It is also worth noting the Tao of Tom’s social media presence. He has many great quotes from training to adversity, transformation and life.  Here is a great quote from Tom on transformation, “The last 4 weeks I have dedicated to changing myself. Every day I have been praying, asking God to help me in the areas of life where I struggle. Regardless how successful you may think you are, there is always so much room for improvement, always. I am nowhere close to where I want to be, but every day I am getting better. It is a conscious effort that I must put in, but I feel myself becoming a better person.”

 

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Tom starts this video by explaining De La Riva guard is used less frequently because of leg attacks.  The fundamental set up for Del La Riva guard is it consists of one leg in and one leg out. This position is ideal for many leg lockers. Simply by threatening a leg entanglement from Del La Riva makes our opponent’s feel more cautions in a Del La Riva guard. Tom starts by using the near side arm to over hook his opponent’s leg at the ankle line. DeBlass speaks for the value of this as disguising his attack. By feigning something else it makes it more likely that our opponent will roll out. Next, he locks up the figure four grip on the toes. He also sits on his partners hips in a reverse ashi. This allows him to clear the knee line.  It is an important detail that Tom sits on the hips instead of out to the side. By sitting on his opponent’s hip he essentially pins them to the mat. This neutralizes a lot of offense and potential escapes.  He brings his opponents toes in toward the calf for a quick tap. If your opponent brings the near side knee in Tom states the toe hold is still an option. It is another important detail that Tom does not lock a sankaku. Instead, he has his knee resting on top of his ankle. Last, Tom explores the principle that should the submission fail; it does not leave him in a bad position. He elaborates that the higher you go in Jiu Jitsu, the more important that tenet is. DeBlass states that the best defensive is a strong offense. If a submission leaves you in a defensive position you lose that fundamental yet important advantage.

This video is a fine example of Tom’s ability to breakdown technique and principles in a manner that is applicable to everyone from the white belt to black belt. Without a doubt, we can all refine our game with the information provided. Tom DeBlass is certainly many things. Beyond Jiu Jitsu technique, he sets an example on how to run an academy and our mindset for training, transformation, adversity and life in general. The Jiu Jitsu community is lucky to have people like Tom DeBlass.

If you follow Tom DeBlass for his no nonsense approach to life and jiu jitsu, you're going to love High Tech BJJ in the Gi.  Half Domination, his first instructional focused on his game changing half guard techniques with us here at BJJ Fanatics was such a success with students and fans raving about how his clear and concise instruction is easy to apply instantly to change their games. High Tech BJJ in the Gi might be even better!  Check it out today!

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