While jiu-jitsu is a great way to get in shape, make new friends, and learn some self-defense, it can also be financially inaccessible for some families. The membership costs alone can be tough to swing for people who are already struggling to pay bills, and when you add in the price of gear, the sport may simply be too expensive for some people and families.
Tom DeBlass is now doing his part to ease that burden on two families to help two young boys cope with the struggles of childhood bullying. Earlier today, DeBlass shared a post from one boy’s parent that detailed their son’s problems with making friends in school. The parent says that their son has anxiety, largely due to a stuttering problem and “facial and vocal tics” that they say leads other kids to be hesitant to approach him.
In response to the parent’s post, DeBlass made a post of his own, saying, “I’m giving this kid 1 year of free training. I also have tics and [dealt] with them my entire life along with adhd. If I made it anyone can. I’m giving away 1 more year membership to a child 12 or under that is being bullied. DM me if you want the opportunity for your child.”
Now, DeBlass is making good on that offer. He told the Jiu-Jitsu Times that another mom had reached out to him after he’d made his post, sharing the story of her young son and his struggles with bullying and suicidal thoughts. Now, DeBlass says that both kids will be coming in next week to start training BJJ and begin their one-year membership.
While no one person can save every child from bullying and social isolation, “small” actions like this can make a big difference in the lives of a few lucky kids.