Last year, a video of Rickson Gracie emerged where the BJJ legend was asked to give his opinion on people that cross train at various BJJ academies at the same time, in order to maximize their training.
Rickson was against that practice and he explained exactly why in detail:
2nd degree BJJ black belt Tom Deblass of Ocean County Jiu-Jitsu, is a student of Ricardo Almeida from whom he received all of his belts. He also has a close relationship with Almeida’s master Renzo Gracie. DeBlass shared his thoughts on the sensitive subject on his Facebook:
How lucky I am, sitting beside them.
Loyalty to my Professor Ricardo Almeida and his teacher Master Renzo Gracie is something I feel strongly about. However, I feel at times many don’t understand it. I have been lucky enough to be awarded my blue belt all the way to my second degree black belt under Ricardo Almeida. I have also been lucky enough to spend numerous hours with Master Renzo. My life is what it is today because of them. I love my team and I will proudly fly its flag for as long as they allow me.
I never tell my students they aren’t allowed to train somewhere, I let them make their own decisions. Furthermore, I welcome guests from around the country and world from different teams to visit my Academy at anytime. I love it. I give seminars all over the nation and soon the world. Meeting new people in the Jiu-Jitsu world is something I love and I’m thankful for. We all share something beautiful, Jiu-Jitsu.
However, if you open a school down the road from my teachers school I will not visit you. It’s not that I wish bad things upon you, but why would I spend a day so close to my teacher and not choose to learn from him? Now a days our schedule is so busy it’s hard to share as much time on the mats as we’d like, yet a training session is always a free day and phone call away, regardless of how much time passes.
Our team is blessed with many great teachers and I am lucky to have learned from so many. We have proven our Jiu-Jitsu on the world’s biggest stages competitively. Next ADCC like many others in the past we will have a representative in each weight class, do you understand how amazing that is? I am forever in debt to my team and teachers.
Loyalty doesn’t mean you cannot visit other schools. Loyalty doesn’t mean you cannot be friends with people from other schools. Loyalty simply means you have a home base. If you are part of an amazing team you understand the commeradery we share. My best friends can be found right on the mats along side me.
DeBlass went on to add that loyalty should be a two way street:
So many teachers expect loyal students, but let me ask you this, are you loyal to your students?
Do you understand it is your job to serve your students, not your students job to serve you.
They are paying for a service, so I am very curious where things have gotten mixed up over time.
Loyalty is a two way street, so rather then demanding loyalty from your students, give them reasons to be loyal by providing them the best service and care you possibly can.
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