Professor Thomas Pless


Owner of the Santa Fe Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy

Third Degree Blackbelt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Alberto Crane and Draculino

Professor Pless has been teaching Martial Arts for over 25 years. He is a black belt or equivalent rank in Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Muay Thai and Pekiti Tersi Kali. He also has a 4-0 MMA record.

Born in Santa Fe, Professor Pless is a lifelong Martial Arts devotee. Thomas’ first foray into martial arts was at the age of fifteen with the study of Tae Kwon do at the Tae Kwon Do Institute, a discipline in which he holds the rank of black belt. Pless began studying Hapkido at the Institute as well. Tang Soo Do at the Santa Fe Boys Club, He was training at Warrior Priest Arts, a Santa Fe dojo, where he was also exposed to Muay thai and the Phillipine Martial Arts. In his first week as a martial arts student young Pless already knew that he wanted to be an instructor one day and dedicate his life to martial arts.

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“I didn’t have a clue what it took, I just knew I had found my calling.”


In the early 90’s, intrigued by the exploits of Royce Gracie in the first UFC, he turned his attention to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Professor Pless also began studying Muay Thai, in 1990, under Doug Pandorf and Ajarn Siruchai “Chai” Sirisute. In 1999 Pless spent nine months training Muay Thai and absorbing the culture in Thailand, an experience that greatly impacted his career as a martial artist.

Later Pless enlisted in the Navy for four years of service to his country, during which he continued his martial arts training. After his enlistment concluded, Pless was again back at home training hard in a grappling club that had formed at Warrior Priest Arts along with Alberto Crane and Amal Easton.

After his studies at Warrior Priest Arts, Pless began to study Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Alberto Crane – founder of the Santa Fe Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy. After spending considerable time studying in Brazil, in 2007 Professor Pless earned his black belt.

2007 was a pivotal year for Professor Pless. Crane decided to leave to open an academy in California and transferred ownership of the Santa Fe BJJ Academy over to Pless. Now, as the phrase goes, the student had become the teacher, and a dream that began so long ago had been realized.

With such an eclectic mix of styles in his background Professor Pless is able to help students with varied goals improve as martial artist.

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“Some students want to pursue MMA, others purely Jiu-Jitsu, and yet others enjoy the fitness or self defense benefits.”


Thomas Pless is driven by his passion for Martial Arts and his desire to help others. His students demonstrate the same unbridled enthusiasm in their training and devotion to the art, their school, and their professor.