Z Guard Smash by Tom DeBlass
Who is Tom DeBlass? Tom DeBlass is many things. He is one of the most sought after instructors in the grappling world right now. He is a world class grappler and former mixed martial artist. He is an exceptional instructor. He has a huge social media following from his technique breakdowns and advice on relationships, transformation, adversity and training. Tom DeBlass is many things and world class in all of them.
Tom has many accomplishments in grappling and mixed martial arts. He has fought in both the UFC and Bellator. He is a 3x ADCC veteran, Fight To Win Pro Main Event Winner, 2016 ADCC North American Champion, 2016 ADCC American Nationals Absolute Champion, ADCC NY Super Fight Champion,2015 Black Belt World No Gi Masters and Absolute Champion, 2014 ADCC North American Champion, 2013 Black Belt No Gi Pan American Champion, 2013 Black Belt No Gi Worlds Bronze Medal, 2009 ADCC North American Champion, 2009 Black Belt No Gi Worlds Bronze Medal, 2007 Brown Belt No Gi Worlds Champion, 2007 Brown Belt Pan American Champion, 2007 Brown Belt American Nationals Champion, 6X Grappler’s Quest Expert Champion and member of the New Jersey Martial Artist Hall of Fame.
DeBlass’ education and teaching ability is also exceptional. Tom earned his black belt from legendary ADCC and MMA veteran Ricardo Almeida in just over six years. There are many testaments to his exceptional teaching ability. His first black belt is the great Garry Tonon. Gordon Ryan is Tonon’s first black belt. Tom is a former elementary school special education teacher. This experience has honed his ability to take complex concepts and make them understandable to even the novice grapplers. Another testament to his teaching ability is his academy Ocean County Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He has over 350 students and 20 black belts. Additionally he has an empire of affiliates around the world.
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It is also worth noting the Tao of Tom’s social media presence. He has many great quotes from training to adversity, transformation and life. Here is a great quote from Tom on transformation, “The last 4 weeks I have dedicated to changing myself. Every day I have been praying, asking God to help me in the areas of life where I struggle. Regardless how successful you may think you are, there is always so much room for improvement, always. I am nowhere close to where I want to be, but every day I am getting better. It is a conscious effort that I must put in, but I feel myself becoming a better person.”
In this video Tom explores how to pass the Z Guard. First, Tom pops his near side knee between his opponents. Note the emphasis Tom places on maintaining the sleeve of his opponents arm. This sleeve control is a crucial component of the move. It means head position is not as critical. Tom also posts his far side leg and near side arm on the mat. He is then able to slide his knee through. Tom is very clear that this pass is not done by any weird contortions of the knee. Rather by pushing first with the hips it allows him to move past the knee shield without putting any pressure on his knee. Tom states that his movement completely negates any benefit of your opponent’s knee shield. From side control he drags his opponent’s sleeve across his body. Well done Tom. This simple yet beautiful sequence shows how to defeat the dreaded knee shield.
This video is a fine example of Tom’s ability to breakdown technique and principles in a manner that is applicable to everyone from the white belt to black belt. Without a doubt, we can all refine our game with the information provided. Tom DeBlass is certainly many things. Beyond Jiu Jitsu technique, he sets an example on how to run an academy and our mindset for training, transformation, adversity and life in general. The Jiu Jitsu community is lucky to have people like Tom DeBlass.
If you follow Tom DeBlass for his no nonsense approach to life and jiu jitsu, you’re going to love High Tech BJJ in the Gi. Half Domination, his first instructional focused on his game changing half guard techniques with us here at BJJ Fanatics was such a success with students and fans raving about how his clear and concise instruction is easy to apply instantly to change their games. High Tech BJJ in the Gi might be even better! Check it out today!