Upgrade Your Half Guard With These Tips From The Great Tom DeBlass!
Tips To Improve Your Half Guard 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.
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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.”
In this video Tom DeBlass and Bernardo Faria give some advice on how to improve half guard. The first thing that they advocate is to go deep on your opponent. The example they cite is with the under hook. Tom suggests trying to catch the far trapezoid. A second element is to use your frame to steer your partner. DeBlass often states that we cannot be offensive when the knee shield is in place. Once he removes the knee shield he uses the frame and bottom leg to steer his opponent. Last, he will switch his hips hard for reversal. They also advocate keeping calm in a bad position. Certainly being uncomfortable is inevitable in half guard. However, it is the strategy that we implement that is key to escaping. Panicking is never a component of that strategy. They also note holding is not a strategy. Tom also notes that it is important to take away space from our partner. Often we think about creating space from guard however, DeBlass advocates that to mount our attacks effectively, it is necessary to take away space. The overarching theme of this video is that we need to use space to our advantage in half guard. It is paramount that we win the battle of space.
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.
Learning to fight from half guard will not only help prevent your guard from getting passed. It will also give you a strong attacking guard. Tom DeBlass' DVD / On Demand Series Half Domination will give you the tips and skills to control and win from the most dynamic position in grappling.
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