Ask DeBlass: A New Jiu Jitsu Times Column Featuring World Champion Tom DeBlass

Professor Tom DeBlass is a second degree black belt under Ricardo Almeida and is owner/head instructor at Ocean County BJJ in New Jersey.  Most recently, he won Gold at the IBJJF No Gi Championships.  He is a veteran ADCC, UFC, and Bellator competitor.  He has promoted a number of black belt competitors such as Garry Tonon and Jen Allen Russell.  Professor DeBlass has joined forces with Jiu Jitsu Times to address some of your questions.  Please submit questions to and we will work to get them addressed.

For now, take a look at Professor DeBlass’ thoughts on motivation in BJJ.  Enjoy!

Professor DeBlass Enjoys ADCC Victory-photo courtesy of Tom DeBlass

A great way to stay motivated, is to simply be thankful.

In the Jiu-Jitsu world, much like  in general I find too often students are too hard on themselves.  After a long day of work, family problems, life stresses, if someone comes to class and has a “bad” training session they focus on that rather then focusing on the fact they made it there in the first place.

In your Jiu-Jisu journey remember, showing up time and time again is a victory in itself.

Stop comparing yourself to the man or woman next to you and focus on your own improvement. Remember, if you are to hard on yourself you will stop having fun, when people stop having fun, people stop training. Celebrate the fact you are doing something most people have yet to even try. If you want to impress your Professor simply show up, be a good training partner, and give your best.

Tom DeBlass Takes Gold at the IBJJF No Gi World Championships--photo courtesy of Tom DeBlass
Tom DeBlass Takes Gold at the IBJJF No Gi World Championships–photo courtesy of Tom DeBlass

Your Coaches and Instructors do not care if you get submitted 100 times.

I look at a middle aged man getting submitted after a long day of work and I don’t think to myself, “wow, look he just got tapped!” I’m thinking “wow, I’m so thankful this student chose to spend their evening in my Academy to relieve some stress even though their life is so busy”.

Learn to be thankful you have the opportunity to step on the mats, give yourself a pat on the back.

Stop comparing yourself to others, and understand your worth as a student is not defined by the amount of times you tap someone or get tapped, your worth is defined the moment you step on those mats and give your best. Everyday will not be your best day, but everyday you can train is a good day.


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