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Gary Tonon Bio, Stats & Techniques

Gary Tonon Bio, Stats & Techniques


Who is Gary Tonon?

Gary Tonnon, born September 12th 1991 is a New Jersey native who is a member of the Danaher Death Squad and one of the most dynamic - go for it type of submission grappler of our generation. He is a 3-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, a 5-time Eddie Bravo Invitational Champion, and a Pan American Champion. 

He started wrestling in 5th grade till 9th grade until one of his childhood boys took him to a local Jiu Jitsu tournament. Needless to say... the rest is history.

Gary first started his grappling journey at a local MMA club. Though he enjoyed it, they only had a few classes a week.

So, that's when Gary ventured out and found Tom deBlass's gym: Ocean County Jiu Jitsu Academy.

Gary was a very dedicated student, training multiple times a day, every day. Tom DeBlass and Gary had a great relationship as coach / student, and soon Tom take Gary to train with Ricardo Almedia. This increased training and opportunities led to Gary winning his first title at the 2008 IBJJF Worlds in the Blue Belt Juvenile Division.

As time when on, Gary started to focus more on the no gi game, and sought out John Danaher at Renzo Gracie NYC where Gary learned how to be a leg lock machine! Gary was one of the first original members of the Danaher Death Squad, and is popular today due to Gary Tonon and Ed Cummings using that name.

In September, around Gary's 22nd birthday, his long time coaches Tom deBlass and Ricardo Almeida awarded Tonon his black belt in jiu jitsu.

Today, Gary continues to train (BJJ & MMA) and compete; as well as teach at his own academy.

Gary Tonon's Technique Videos

Gary Tonon No Gi Grappling Skills Study

Garry Tonon - No Gi BJJ - Skill Study / Breakdown / Highlights. Known as a No Gi specialist, Tonon earned his reputation through various accomplishments in prestigious grappling events, particularly in the submission only format such as: Metamoris, Polaris and Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI). Garry Tonon has also worked extensively with coach John Danaher at RGA – NYC.

Leg Lock Entry to Back Attack With Garry Tonon

Garry Tonon demonstrates a system he uses from a Leg lock entry to back attack. Garry is always looking to keep his opponents in danger & this is a great sequence for that.

Garry Tonon, High Elbow Guillotine

His submission over position style makes for extremely exciting matches like those that he's had against Kit Dale, AJ Agazarm, Keenan Cornelius, and his epic match at the 2013 ADCC match against Kron Gracie that set the jiu-jitsu community abuzz! In this video Garry demonstrates the same high elbow guillotine choke that he used to finish Kit Dale at Metamoris 4.

Gary Tonon Stats:

  • Age: 27 (12th of September 1991)
  • Weight: 158lbs
  • Team: OCBJJ | Renzo Gracie | Danaher Death Squad
  • Nick name: Lion Killer
  • Submisson Percentage: 70% of all wins by submission
  • Favorite Submissions: Inside Heel Hook| Triangle Choke | Rear Naked Choke

Can you become Garry Tonon?

As little kids, we all  have our dreams of being the next (insert hero's name) and be famous.  As jiu jitsu practitioners, similarly it's easy to find ourselves watching the matches or careers of the sports luminaries and wanting to strive for that as well.  While it's crucial to have dreams and set goals, it's important to also do your homework and truly understand the commitment that these high level athletes have made to get where they are.

Let Tom DeBlass share some of the wisdom that helped Garry Tonon become Garry Tonon!  Click Learn More!


Garry Tonon has recently shifted his focus to his current path in Mixed Martial Arts fighting for the One Fighting Championship promotion and is off to a stellar start.  If his MMA career follows the same course as his grappling career, it won't be long until we see him at the top of the MMA rankings.  Before he made the shift to MMA, Garry was one of the top submission grapplers in the world.  As Tom DeBlass' first black belt, Garry Tonon had already scored world titles in IBJJF events.  Under the leadership of both Tom DeBlass and John Danaher at the NYC Renzo Gracie Academy, Garry became a founding member of the infamous "Danaher Death Squad" led by himself, Eddie Cummings, Gordon Ryan and Nicky Ryan and many others.

Focused purely on submission grappling, Garry Tonon has himself won four Eddie Bravo Invitational belts at 3 different weight classes.  He has had iconic matches at events like Metamoris and Polaris, against the likes of Ralek Gracie and Rousimar Palhares.  He brings a creative and deadly style that is as much designed to entire the viewers as it is to dominate his opponents.

Garry Tonon and his first instructor worked these moves!  Click Learn More!


BJJ Fanatics had an opportunity to catch up with Garry Tonon recently and we discussed the Malcolm Gladwell notion of it taking 10,000 hours to achieve high level mastery of any skill.  We wanted to know, just how much training did Garry do during his formative belt years and during the period when he was focused solely on submission grappling.  How many hours did and does Garry commit to his training to get to the highest levels of competitive grappling.  Armed with this knowledge, even for the briefest moment, who knows maybe you could be the next Garry  Here's what we learned.

White to Purple

During his formative years (years 1-3 range), Garry said he probably trained between 22-30 hours per week.  He started at Ocean County BJJ led by Tom DeBlass as a teenager, so these would have been his high school years.  From an early age, Garry was already training far more than the average practitioner.  At this pace, he would have reached about 6000 hours of training, well on his way to Gladwell's 10,000.

Brown to Black

After year 3 Garry said that his training load increased to about 40-45 hours a week and he was able to maintain this level through his college career at Rutgers University.  By the time he reached his black belt he had probably amassed another 6-7000 hours easily.

Black and Beyond

After college, when he was focused purely on his submission grappling career, Garry said he was training upwards of 50 hours each week.  This number alone is astonishing, but when you factor in the fact that during this time, he is also running Brunswick BJJ and growing his own student base.  In addition, the volume of travel in order to make this schedule possible would break most average people.  Getting up before dawn each day, traveling 2-3 hours into New York City to train multiple times with John Danaher and the team, then heading back to New Jersey to teach at his own academy, finishing up each evening with more training sessions before heading home to sleep and repeat the process again nearly every day.

Drill like Garry Tonon!  Click Learn More!


Though Garry (and his teammates) have blown the 10,000 rule of Malcolm Gladwell out of the water, it is still a good, general guideline to what a beginning, average-Joe practitioner can expect to invest in their quest for the black belt.  An average practitioner, if they're training 3-4 times a week, probably gets 20 hours of class in per month.  At that rate, they are achieving around 1000 hours a year.  This means that it would take them 10 years at this rate to achieve their 10,000.  You may not be world class at this point, but there is no doubt if you've trained hard and learned as much as you can, you will be very, very good at jiu jitsu.

It is easy to look at public figures like athletes and musicians and see them as "lucky" or say to yourself, if I could train BJJ full-time, I'd be good too--but when push comes to shove, the top 1% have put in countless hours that most of us would be not only unable but more importantly unwilling to commit.  The next time you think about making a silly comment on a BJJ athlete's social media page, stop, step back from the keyboard, stay in your lane, and enjoy the show.

Unless you've lived under a rock for the last 5 years, you know the explosive interest of leg locks has changed the entire BJJ landscape and this growth has been do in part to one of Garry Tonon's mentors and instructors, John Danaher at the NYC Academy.  Danaher has become one of the most sought after experts in the leg submission game.  His newly remastered "Leglocks:  Enter the System" is finally available and can be secured in easy to access On Demand or DVD formats.  You may not be able to train BJJ for 50 hours a week, but you can very easily get a good portion of the knowledge that Danaher has shared only with the Deathsquad up till now.  You are literally moments away from accessing the information that has helped Garry Tonon and others get to the top of the grappling scene!






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