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Your Team Wants You to Come Back to BJJ Says Tom DeBlass

Your Team Wants You to Come Back to BJJ Says Tom DeBlass


We start training BJJ for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe we want to get into better shape, lose weight, and improve our health overall.  Perhaps we are looking to learn some self defense concepts and techniques, increasing our overall confidence.  Whatever the reason that got us to walk through the door, overtime, we eventually develop more and more reasons to continue.  This is important once you realize the true goal which is not really just an ever darkening belt, but is also a better version of ourselves.

What we may not realize in those early days, is how long the process can truly be and how many obstacles that can present themselves in our lives as we work towards those higher belts.  In modern society, the training of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu stands in stark contrast to the world of instant gratification, fill with quick fixes and activities focused soley on creating pleasure.  BJJ is a grind.  A long, pressure filled, grind during which we may or may not feel like we are making progress.

Overtime, life can present us with many reasons to stop BJJ.  Job changes, relocations,  injuries and other health issues, or other financial concerns can all put stress on our BJJ training over time.  Sometime in a moment of shortsightedness, we might feel that we're not making progress, or maybe that we are not ever going to be good at jiu jitsu and for that reason walk away.

Whatever the reason that someone leaves, Tom DeBlass has a message for them.  In the video below, Tom shares his thoughts and feelings towards the student who walked away from the mats.  Check it out below.

"We miss you when you leave."

No matter who you are.  No matter what your belt level.  You are important to your academy.  Every person who walks through the door is important to your school and academy.  You do not have to be a competitor.  You do not have to train 7 days a week.  Jiu jitsu is here for you and your life to help you reach your personal goals whatever that may be.

If life gets in the way and you decide to step away either temporarily or for good, you must know that you are missed and your absence creates a hole that cannot be easily filled.   Your teammates are sad to see you go, as well as your Coach.  New students are always something that a school owner looks for because they are the fresh life blood that comes into an academy and helps it grow, but a returning student is someone who can walk in and bring a level of knowledge and familiarity and instantly take an established role as an experienced student to help support the brand new folks.

"As a Coach, I feel like I've failed."

No one takes your absence or leaving harder than the owner or instructor of the academy.  The jaded person reading this might say, "Of course they miss the student, because they are losing money."  But for the true instructor, his/her students are much more than income.  There's an old saying that 'the poorest person on the mats is always the instructor'. 

Many school owners must sacrifice many hours, incur great debt, and often continue to work additional jobs to help fund their passion of running a BJJ school.  The average person would not incur this risk and take on this responsibility if they did not care for, value, and love teaching BJJ.

For a coach or instructor who has worked hard in their own martial arts journey, losing a student can make them feel as though they failed.  Instructors like Tom DeBlass pride themselves on creating an environment where everyone can be successful and meet their individual goals.  When someone leaves, it's almost as bad as coming up short in a major competition.  The loss does not sit easy either way.

"We want students to find their way back."

 The hope is that any student who has left, for whatever reason they decided to leave, to ultimately find their way back to the academy.  For DeBlass, the door must always remain open.  The mats are a place for second, third, or whatever number of chances a person may need.

If they can work through the challenges that took them away from the mats, the academy doors will always be open for their return and the team will be waiting with open arms to welcome them back into the gym or academy

"Find your reason."

 The reason or reasons that got you to walk into the academy the first time, could very well be the reason that gets you back after a break or long layoff.  Or maybe over time you've developed other reasons to keep training.  That fire and desire can be reignited if you let it.

Maybe general fitness or weight loss was a goal.  After leaving, you may find yourself falling back into old patterns of behavior, not eating as good as you should and not working out as regularly.  The weight will return, but deep down you will know exactly what you need to do.  First you will need to address whatever the life circumstance that make you step away from the mats.

Once you've addressed the reason you stepped away, it's easier to rekindle your fire and find the reason you need to get back to the gym and start training again.  The great thing is with a little nurturing, that fire can return with a newfound vigor and burn even stronger than the first time.

So if life takes you away from jiu jitsu for a short break or a long layoff, know that you can always come back.  The doors to BJJ are always open.  It is entirely up to you.  Mastering BJJ is so much more than just perfecting a set of techniques.  The art impacts your everyday life and those challenges that we face that must be worked through are as important to the black belt journey as any opponent or training partner and what they present to us on the mats.

By understanding your impact on your academy and the fact that you are valued no matter who you are, you will recognized that you truly cannot be replaced.  No one can fill your shoes.  No one can fill that empty space on the mats when you're gone.  Only you can bring what you can bring to your training partners and to your academy as a whole.  

By staying focused on the reason that brought you to the mats, you will make yourself less susceptible to training interruptions.  When we lose sight of our reasons, it's easier for life's challenges to look insurmountable and force us to succumb to the pressure and make our departure.  By staying true to your reason or rediscovering it whenever you lose sight, you will keep the fire inside you alive and not only reach your goals, but also inspire others to do the same.

Tom DeBlass is a world class competitor, who is sought all over the world for seminars.  Bringing equal parts technique and equal parts motivation to his seminars, he truly wears his heart on his gi sleeve when he teaches.  To learn more about Tom's "Submission Escape" game, get his newest 4 volume instrucational from BJJ Fanatics available here.


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