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Tom DeBlass Puts Bullying in a Chokehold

The Tom DeBlass Association has 54 schools on 5 different continents. Tom spent the last ten years building an epic organization. He is enabling coaches and spreading jiu jitsu across the world. He’s the man that belted up Garry Tonon and Gordon Ryan before John Danaher. He has competed in ADCC and the UFC, winning gold medals in the former and losing to Riki Fukuda in the latter. DeBlass has also fought in Bellator, going undefeated in two fights in 2013. His list of accomplishments carry on, including having penned an autobiography in 2021. His next opponent is going to be bullying.

Image – Jiu Jitsu Times

It’s not many that have contributed to martial arts to this degree. Most would look back at this resume and rest on their laurels. Tom DeBlass, on the other hand, has at least one more mission to complete. His latest endeavor, kicked off in February of 2023, is Buddies Over Bullies. This organization seeks to connect bullied children with jiu jitsu coaches in their area to train them in self-defense. DeBlass attacks this effort with a passion. On his website, he advertises a tour and has opportunities to register your gyms to help. Bullied kids have already linked up with their local jiu jitsu gyms. Kids who train jiu jitsu were able to overcome their bullies, in stories that DeBlass has posted. 

The Inevitable Controversy

The YouTube channel “McDojoLife” has a breakdown video where the viewpoints of Tom DeBlass and a self-help guru named Ryan Mintz are compared and contrasted. Ryan describes how he would get rid of a bully in a response to DeBlass. Ryan states, “What stops a bully? A withdrawal of your attention, you make what they say and do irrelevant. Not by argument, but making the choice to consider anything they present to you as irrelevant information that can be ignored.”  

Ryan asserts that Tom has never experienced bullying because his method of dealing with bullies involves self-defense. Tom responds with a video where he details sponsoring children with free jiu jitsu. Ryan goes by the name “the higher ideal” on instagram. His coaching opportunities start from $300 and go up to $50,000. These opportunities involve the “Immortal Mind Program” and promises you will “…cultivate the skill of Internal Landscape Analysis. Listen inside to the activity of the mind and begin noticing the subtle fluctuations of energy in all of your interactions…Then direct and control these energies.”
McDojo says, “on one side we have someone like Ryan who doesn’t appear to be doing absolutely anything to help kids bullied in his area and is charging people over forty four hundred dollars for self-help classes online, and on the other we have someone like Tom who’s extremely emotional and passionate about what he’s saying in terms of bullying, and actually doing something about it, and going out into the community instilling programs and helping kids get an outlet so they can stop being picked on…” 

Con-Artist or Altruist?

Say what you will, and the comments are brutal, Tom has never shied away from doing what he feels is right. Martial arts can be a place where grifters can sell their half-baked philosophies, or a place where people of all ages can gain community and confidence. It can take a keen eye to separate the con-artists from the coaches who are genuine about making the world a better place. This isn’t that.

Image – Bloody Elbow

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