When A Student Leaves BJJ
Tom DeBlass is a multiple time ADCC competitor, having won the North American Trials on three different locations. He is an IBJJF World Champion. DeBlass also holds a 9-2 MMA record, having held titles in two different weight classes in the Ring of Combat organization and finished his MMA career with fights in both the UFC and Bellator. He has been instrumental in the grappling and MMA careers of his student Garry Tonon and has serves as a training partner and coach for Gordon Ryan among others.
In addition to his more than a decade long combat career, Tom DeBlass is a teacher and academy owner. Over the last ten years he has built his home academy, Ocean County BJJ from the then-brown belt's first school to a powerhouse academy with nearly 400 students. Over the last few years, DeBlass has also taken on the role of affiliate academy leader now with 18 academies in the US and Canada that have taken up the Tom DeBlass Jiu Jitsu flag.
Having tasted competition on the highest stages and experienced both victory and defeat, it is not the inevitable loss in competition, because as he is found of saying, everyone loses eventually, that stings him most as a BJJ competitor, instructor and academy owner. Instead, the thing that haunts him most is when a student leaves the academy or leaves BJJ altogether. Check out the video below where he shares his thoughts on the loss of a student.
As a formally trained educator, originally planning to have a career as a Special Education teacher, DeBlass recognizes the needs of his students and puts them high on his priorities as soon as he is able to determine their specific goals. His students goals become his goals and this, he says is common for most instructors. When those students turn away from their goals, their jiu jitsu, and the academy, it leaves a hole that is nearly impossible to fill.
If you have lost sight of your goals, or drifted away from jiu jitsu for whatever reason, always know that your instructor and academy wants you to come back and would gladly welcome you back with open arms. No matter whether you are training to be a world champion, or simply the average practitioner who is looking for fitness and stress relief, your value on the mats at your academy is unparalleled and your absence would be felt if you decided to leave. Stay connected because your instructor needs you as much as you need them.
For more from Tom DeBlass, check out his 3 volume "Submission Escapes" series from BJJ Fanatics. Here you will learn his best escapes from the most common bad positions you will find potentially find yourself caught in on the mats. Increase your confidence and make yourself impervious to attack!