Lack of Time is Never a Valid Reason Not to Compete with Tom DeBlass

Professor Tom DeBlass wins his 3rd ADCC North American Title while organizing and promoting the event.- Photo cred: (Garden State Photography)

Professor Tom DeBlass has never been busier.  He is a father of two young children.  His Academy, Ocean County BJJ, has over 300 students.  He recently started his own affiliation with schools in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Florida, and more to come.  He averages two seminars a month and is booked until 2018.  Professor DeBlass recently organized and promoted one of the most efficiently run ADCC North American Trials events in its history and he also trained six days a week, competed, and won his third ADCC Trials Gold Medal.

In this exclusive video for the Jiu-Jitsu Times, Professor DeBlass shares his thoughts on finding time to compete.  Check it out below.

Do you want to compete?  Competition, for Tom DeBlass is an extension of his love for training.  It is another skill that can be developed during the jiu-jitsu journey.  It is not a requirement for success in BJJ, but it can be a valuable activity if you truly examine your motivations.  If you choose not to compete, that is perfectly fine.  It has been said that only 10% of jiu-jitsu practitioners actually compete.  Once you have decided to compete, though, it is truly time to examine your training and overcome the roadblocks that life can put in front of your goals.

Making Time  Many practitioners with jobs, families, and other responsibilities often say they do not have the time to prepare for competition.  In his experience, Professor DeBlass sees many students using their time inefficiently.  If you are limited to a specific amount of training time per day or per week, so be it.  Accept that fact and make sure you are getting the most out of that time.  If you can only train for an hour, make sure you are drilling or sparring for that entire time.  You may see the non-competitors taking rounds off, or chit chatting with their teammates.  Competitors must remain disciplined and squeeze everything they can out of their training time.

Juggling  Being a competitor can often mean you must develop good “juggling” skills.  This means you sometimes have to be able to work some jiu-jitsu into your other responsibilities.  Perhaps during your lunch hour at your job, you queue up some technique videos or watch some competition footage to keep your mind sharp and your goals focused.  Maybe if you have a family, you can work short exercise or drilling sessions into your time at home.  Instead of just mindlessly watching television, perhaps you can work on your flexibility through stretching and yoga or work some of the many solo drills that will help with body movement.

Focus on Task at Hand  It is never more important to have a plan for your training time than when you have limited time. What are you trying to achieve?  Maybe it’s simply to spar for a full hour with 10 fresh opponents or partners.  Maybe you are working to refine some techniques and want to drill a certain series for a specific number of repetitions.  Whatever your plan, have it ready before training time starts and you will improve your chances of progressing towards your goals.

In conclusion, competition is an amazing test available to practitioners to challenge and test themselves through jiu-jitsu.  It should never be seen as some mandatory activity that, if avoided, will hamper your involvement with jiu-jitsu.  This challenge forces us to face our fears and our excuses and ultimately will make us stronger, win or lose.  One of the most prevalent excuses is a ‘lack of time’ which we all share, as everyone needs and deserves more than the allotted 24 hours we all have. Unfortunately, it is our responsibility to make time and use that time wisely on the mats to prepare for competition.

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