Tom DeBlass Defends "Modern Jiu Jitsu"
Is the Self Defense vs. Sport Debate Alive and Well?
Three time ADCC veteran and former MMA fighter Tom DeBlass recently took to his social media to respectfully "agree to disagree" with a statement made by the legendary Rickson Gracie. Arguably one of the most famous and revered members of the Gracie clan, Rickson has long spoken out against the ongoing development of the sport aspects of the martial arts and what he feels is the lack of due diligence to jiu jitsu's earliest days as a combative/self-defense based art.
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Here is his Rickson's reflection on the state of modern jiu jitsu:
“In the past, when we arrived in the US, we were teaching Jiu-Jitsu to Karate black belts, who at the time felt like they knew everything. When they got exposed to real Jiu-Jitsu, they would say that they lost 20 years of their lives doing Karate, and now they realized what the real thing is. So somehow when I go to a (BJJ) seminar these days, I get the same impression from Jiu-Jitsu black belts. They’re like “Wow, I never taught that this existed in Jiu-Jitsu”. If we don’t do something very soon, Jiu-Jitsu will lose its fight-identity.”
Tom DeBlass came up under the watchful tutelage of Rickson's very own cousin, the legendary Renzo Gracie, himself one of the most respected and revered combat athletes in history. Training with the likes of Renzo Gracie, Ryan Gracie, Ralph Gracie and his own primary instructor Ricardo Almeida, Tom DeBlass experienced the hard nosed early days of jiu jitsu and MMA long before it was a global sport.
Tom's response on his social media was simple:
Stop it. Enough. Modern day black belts have the highest level Jiu-Jitsu that ever existed. That's not opinion, it's fact. Rickson is a legend and I accept him as such, but I cannot agree with his belitting of modern Jiu-Jitsu.(Rickson is the most well known legend this martial art has ever seen, and I respect him immensely)
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Where do you stand on this issue? Is it even an issue? If you polled 100% of the current jiu jitsu black belts, I doubt that many of them would deny that self-defense is an important by product of training jiu jitsu. The foundation of the art laid by Rickson, his family and others has been taken to entirely new heights in the last 25-30 years. No matter what school of thought you choose to find yourself, whether it is traditional or more modern--the jiu jitsu of today, as amazing as it is, is going to be pale in comparison to the jiu jitsu of tomorrow.
Tom DeBlass brings an approach to his instruction that has one foot in the past and one foot in the modern world of jiu jitsu. In Closed Guard Domination, he is going to force you to look at his position entirely differently and force your opponents to tread lightly when you get them there! Check it out today at BJJ Fanatics!