Get to Know Your Instructor: Jon "Thor" Blank

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Jon “Thor” Blank is a recent 10th Planet Bethlehem brown belt under Zach and JM after being promoted in December of 2017.  He typically teaches both the fundamentals and advanced classes on Thursday nights, affectionately referred to by the squad as “Thorsdays.”  In his younger years he was a wrestler and has 10 years of folk style wrestling experience, which formed a solid base for his jiu jitsu training.  His good friends, Andrew and Kevin Jones, who were already training under Zach and JM, introduced him to 10th Planet Bethlehem.  10th Planet was perfect for him since it is all no gi based and he never really had an interest in training in the gi, partly due to his wrestling background.  Now 24 years old, Jon has now been training jiu jitsu for only a short 4 years but has made quite the name for himself on the competition scene, specifically in the submission only format.  Even as a blue belt he was winning local tournaments at the expert level against purple, brown and black belts, and he has continued to punch above his weight throughout his jiu jitsu career.  In September of 2017, when he was still only a purple belt, he took on a tough 16-man tournament in San Diego at Ultimate Mat Warriors 2, submitting 4 opponents, including experienced black belt competitor Stephen Martinez, on his way to winning the welterweight championship belt and $2,000.  He has also competed in other high level EBI style invitationals such as the Finishers Sub Only and Sapateiro 6, which was an open weight tournament.  His performances in competition have been so impressive that he was awarded the #14 spot this year on the 10th Planet Top 25 Pound for Pound Competitor list, which includes competitors from all 10th Planet locations.  Through all of his training, teaching, and competing, Jon also holds a full time job and is one of the nicest and most humble guys you could possibly meet, regardless of how intimidating he can appear.  You can check out a quick highlight video below of his submissions in an EBI qualifier tournament up in Canada a little over a year ago.

RAPID FIRE Q&A

Who or what got you into training jiu jitsu? 

Previous wrestling experience and then Andrew and Kevin Jones brought me in to Finishers.

How long have you been training? 

4 years

Do you have certain positions or submissions that you focus on a lot when training and competing? 

During training I have been focusing on passing the guard but during competition I just look for whatever is open.

What do you think is the most impressive submission to pull off in competition? 

Rear naked choke, because it shows you completely dominated them by passing their guard, taking their back, and submitting them in an obvious way.

Do you have any jiu jitsu heroes that you look up to? 

Brian McLaughlin

What is your favorite ruleset when you compete, if you have a preference? 

EBI rules

What are some of the bigger competitions you have done? 

Sapateiro Invitational 6, Ultimate Mat Warriors and the Finishers Sub Only

Which do you think was the hardest competition? 

Sapateiro Invitational 6

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

10th Planet Top 25 Pound for Pound Competitor

UMW 2 170lbs Champion 

Finishers Sub Only Competitor 

Sapateiro Invitational 6 Competitor

UGC Superfight Winner 

4 time Good Fight Submission Only champion as a blue belt (purple/brown/black division) 

2 time Gym Wars super fight winner 

10 years folk style wrestling experience 

District 11 Champion  

2 time PIAA State Qualifier 

2 time Colonial League Champion 

Multiple time MAWA Champion

Original Post Date 3/30/2018