White Belts Matter with Tom DeBlass

Recently Professor Tom DeBlass took to his social media accounts with a message to everyone in the jiu jitsu community regarding the importance of white belts.  Watch the video below and never stop heeding the cautionary points.



Don’t forget that you walked into the academy as a white belt.

It’s too easy to get your blue belt and forget what it was like to walk into the academy the first time.  This is arguably the hardest and most important promotion of your life and this brand new white belt gave it to themselves.  They decided to stop being average and challenge themselves with this incredibly intricate martial arts.  They decided to stop killing themselves with lack of activity and poor diet and take that first step towards a healthier lifestyle.  They promoted themselves from average person, to jiu jitsu practitioner by walking through that door.

Without white belts, the academy doesn’t grow.  

White belts are your future training partners, your future students, and your future friends.  If you don’t help them find a place where they feel welcome and comfortable to make mistakes, they will leave.  And they will tell anyone who will listen how bad of an idea jiu jitsu is.  But on the other hand, if you lend a helping hand and make them feel welcome, they will tell anyone who will listen how great jiu jitsu is and how important it is that they try a class as soon as possible.

Everyone is struggling or has struggled.

Jiu Jitsu could potentially be a person’s last stop in life to take control and to build themselves up.  Life is full of reasons not to train or not to invest time into a sport, but if you don’t help foster an environment where they can learn and be challenged at the same time, it is a tragedy.

Message for white belts.

Please come to class.  You’re the most important person in the room.  Make mistakes.  Ask questions.  There will be days when you go home and have no idea what happened in class.  With perseverance, you will see that those days never go away.  You will just learn to embrace them more.


  1. He’s right. I remember my first day in karate class. I remember my first few months. He’s right .It was hard. I felt like an idiot. I couldn’t do anything right. Training was brutal. It was such a struggle to get through the basic exercises. It hurt. I was exhausted. My gi was dripping went even at break time. But I needed that class. Viet Nam was coming and I needed every trick I could find in hopes of survival.

    It’s been pretty close to 50 years later. I still practice and I’m now one of the highest ranking danshin in the US but the struggle of those early days is something one never forgets.

  2. I joined Bjj last night. I recently learned to walk again after a Tumor in my brain. I was in rehab and watched the Gracies on youtube. And hearing of Master Helio health when he was younger. I dont normally speak on my career in the Army or the tumor. So when i cant bend any sort of way and my weight being an issue i began doing BJJ with a Purple Belt in private lessons. Never the main class. Last night i walked in and was thrown in feet first. I made sure to roll with everyone. I think i tapped out to everyone in class. But i would not quit. The end of class was the most important to me. When a brown belt said he heard of my story. He said welcome to our Family. I told him i will see him Friday. Thank you for this. White Belt BJJ


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