REVIEW: Tom DeBlass DVD – Half Domination

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In the ever-evolving market of DVD instructional for BJJ, I am one to try and learn the old way. Training at the academy, seminars or privates seems to do the trick for me. However, every now and then I do tend to purchase a volume or two. Usually, it’s either because it’s a position I work a lot or one I need to improve. My latest purchase is Tom DeBlass Half Guard instructional called Half domination. I decided to share my thoughts on it with BJJ World. So, let’s get into the Half Guard Domination Review:

Tom DeBlass: Half Domination Review

First and foremost, Tom DeBlass is a both a cool character as well as a formidable grappler. Both great qualities in someone to learn from. The DVD is titled ‘Half Domination: controlling and winning from Grappling’s most dynamic position”. The bundle is made up of 4 DVDs, each dedicated to a certain aspect of the Tom DeBlass half guard game. Both the bottom and top half guard positions are included, with lots of new information available.

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Half Domination Review

Structure

From a structural standpoint, the Tom DeBlass DVD is meticulously produced. Tom begins with the basics of the knee shield position from the bottom. After sharing his philosophy of the position, DeBlass moves on to the basic technical mechanics. As the Half Domination DVD plays out, a bunch of related techniques is presented, all very easily connected together as a system.

The second volume switches things up by introducing the top half guard position. Again, starting from the very basics of the knee shield, it offers two main directions. First, Tom presents an effective and simple submission game from the top half guard. Secondly, he offers comprehensive guard passing options to complete the system.

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Volume three gets back to the bottom position, exploring more advanced aspects of the half guard game. Unstoppable sweeps, essential recovery paths and submissions ranging from kimuras to leg locks are all covered.

In the fourth and final volume, the structure of Tom Deblass Half Guard DVD changes significantly. This is more of a “what if” scenarios, covering every possible aspect of guard retention. Tom DeBlass Half Guard is known for being notoriously difficult to pass. In fact, his half guard has not been passed in years. Here, he offers all of his best concepts for staying safe. As far as the knee slice position is concerned, the final section of the DVD is offered exclusively to preventing this very common pass.

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Content Quality

So, now that we’ve agreed that the DVD is structurally sound, let’s review the quality of the information. Tom DeBlass has immense knowledge of the sport, which is apparent from the first few minutes. What’s really eye-catching is that he offers techniques that are applicable to every level of practitioner out there. The simplicity of the moves he demonstrates is the secret behind their effectiveness. You won’t find any fancy inverting or ten-step sweeping sequences. It’s down to the meat and potatoes with Tom, with stuff that you see him do at every competition he enters.

The bottom game of Tom DeBlass Half Guard instructional is based around framing and retaining, before going on the attack. Personally, I prefer the concept of being safe before applying an offensive game, so this really resonated with me.

With the top game, it’s all about pressure. You either pass or submit, it’s easy as that. There’s no spinning or flying over while passing. Instead, Tom offers the simplest routes past the most common half guard positions. The submissions range from guillotines, through arm locks all the way to toe holds, allowing for plentiful attacking options.

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Practical Application

In all honesty, I’ve never considered myself a half guard specialist. I do like working from the bottom half guard often, but I do not look for the position while rolling. As far as game-changing instructional, Half Domination has been one for me.

Since acquiring the set, I have had tremendous success, particularly with the butterfly half variation found on the third volume. As simple as it may seem, it’s has opened up a new direction of the bottom half game for me. The Spartan Push is another move that has really impacted my game, opening up a new pathway to leg locking positions. Also, the fourth volume’s retention workshop is pure gold, offering amazing details for guard retention. I find those especially useful during scrambles when someone gets the opportunity to pass.

Conclusion

In all fairness, Tom DeBlass has recorded a masterpiece in the realm of the half guard. Beginners will be able to learn the basics, while the advanced student is going to discover game-changing details. This DVD set is so packed with useful information that it leaves no doubt about your money’s worth. Make sure you acquire it and expect huge improvements on your half guard game in just a matter of weeks!

Ognen Dzabirski, GB purple belt.

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