What Is Expected of You When You Achieve the BJJ Black Belt?

Professor Tom DeBlass and his Instructor Ricardo Almeida--photo courtesy of Tom DeBlass

Today, February 3rd, Professor Tom DeBlass is promoting his 9th student to black belt.  Tom has been a black belt himself for over seven years and has led his academy Ocean County Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for 10 years.  Please take a moment and listen to his thoughts on this important step for his new black belt and for the jiu jitsu community.  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of black belt qualities, but should give all of us who aspire to this goal a good head start.


Here are just a few of the key points from the video:

You Make the Black Belt

The achievement of the black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the most challenging and daunting tasks anyone can undertake.  Beyond the obvious need for technical knowledge, it is ultimately about your growth and perseverance as a person, along with what you give back to your peers and the community.

Showing Up

The list of things that can get in the way of training will continues to grow every single day.  It is about finding a way to never give up, to work around, through, over, under any and all obstacles and finding the strength to train.  Train when you’re too tired.  Train when you’re too busy.  Find ways to train when you can’t train.  That may sound like a Zen proverb, but in reality, finding 5-10 minutes to do some solo drills is still training.  Everything counts.

Inspire Others

If we look at the origin of the word “inspiration”, it means to breathe life into the spirit.  The ability to share your journey and encourage others to persevere during tough times is essential to become a black belt.  Jiu Jitsu is not only about ourselves.  It is about how many people can you help through jiu jitsu.

It’s Not about Tapping People Out

It’s about learning and teaching.  Being a black belt is about developing the maturity to understand the importance of striving for a seemingly impossible goal and taking another step every day towards that goal.  No matter how small.

The Belt is NOT Just a Piece of Fabric

There’s a common statement found online, that the belt is just two inches of fabric and isn’t really all that important.  I disagree.  That belt represents the love, sweat, the fears, the laughs, the tears of that student who has just spent a great portion of their life struggling to train in a demanding world.

This is Your Story.  Tell It.

Everyone is unique.  Everyone starts for a different reason.  I hope everyone finishes this journey and tells their individual tale.  I’d love to hear it.

Train hard my friends and never give up.

Stay on top of Professor DeBlass and his Academy by checking them out at:

Ocean County Brazilian Jiu Jitsu



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