Tom DeBlass recently released a biography that has been incredibly popular, even reaching the top spot of the Amazon best-selling list for martial arts biographies, and in it he discusses his experiences with sexual abuse as a child. Owing to the success of his book, he also sat down with CNN recently and opened up about the incident in his youth that came at the hands of an older child:
“When you’re a child, you’re very pure, you know, you’re very innocent. When that happened, I thought it was my fault. That’s probably one of the things that changed me the most because, in order to cope and deal with life, I had to, like, make myself kind of emotionless. I had to make myself not care.
And, you know, now as an adult, I understand life is life and it happens. I’m thankful for all my experiences, including that one; because, if I never went through that, I wouldn’t quite understand someone who did.”
“And, you know, I accepted it. I said: “I will take what I can from it and learn, and try to make myself a better person.” And one of the things that always helped me was that I always remember, like, I’m not the only one who went through it. What really helped me become at peace was, like, I probably truly didn’t come really at peace with it until the book because, if I talk about it, how many other men is that helping?”
The sexual abuse isn’t all that the CNN interview with Tom DeBlass was focused on of course, and they also moved on to discuss how he actually attempts to help people change their own lives, through coaching:
“I don’t even look at it as me just thankful that I can give it to kids. Because, I think sometimes a lot of the kids who do it will, you know, they’ll do it and it will help them and it will change their lives, but maybe it’s not something that they’ll do forever. But some of the adults who find me, you know, this is their last chance for some of them. They’re just fed up in life.”
“They’re tired, they’re stressed, they’re lonely, they’re angry… And I feel Jiu-Jitsu gives them an outlet that they never had before. So I’m just thankful to provide an environment for people from all walks of life, literally. It doesn’t matter your color, it doesn’t matter your religion, it doesn’t matter your preference. Nothing matters man, just get on the mats. You train, everyone’s equal. I’m thankful to provide something for people that I think people from all walks of life could benefit from.”
The full interview that Tom DeBlass gave to CNN where he discusses a host of topics, including his sexual abuse, can be found here.