Tom DeBlass: “When I Was 23, My Girlfriend Laughed at My Dream To Open a BJJ School”

Tom DeBlass: “When I Was 23, My Girlfriend Laughed at My Dream To Open a BJJ School”

As you climb towards success – in BJJ and everything else in life – you’re going to encounter some obstacles. Unfortunately, those obstacles will sometimes be the people you deeply care about; sometimes even the people you love.
When that happens, it’s important to focus on your own belief in yourself and in the work you’re putting in towards achieving your goals. And not a lot of people understand what that truly means as well as Tom DeBlass does.

In a recent Instagram post, DeBlass reminisced back to the time when he was 23 years old and when an ex-girlfriend laughed at his dream of opening a BJJ school one day.
Nevertheless, he ended that relationship and kept going. Eventually, he opened up his own space, though it was far from ideal:

I remember when I was 23 and I told my girlfriend at the time I had dreams to open my own school, she looked at me and laughed. Her response was: “Are you serious? I was hoping you’d grow out of this stage and live like an actual adult.”
I laughed it off and didn’t say much. Needless to say that relationship ended.

One year later I opened my Academy. Well I don’t know if you could call it an Academy. It was a small office space, 800sq feet on the second floor in an industrial park. I couldn’t afford a real sign so I got a white poster board with blue tape and spelled out “Jiu-Jitsu”.

My bank account was negative. I had to borrow money from my Mother to buy mats.

Tom persevered and, after a lot of hard work, earned success:

Fast forward 20 years, I have a lock on this Jiu-Jitsu game. I am now able to take care of my Mother. She was able to retire early and get out of a shit job where she wasn’t appreciated. I can give her everything she deserved. She sacrificed a lifetime for me and I could finally give back.

No one needs to believe in you, just make sure you believe in yourself and work harder than anyone else.


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