Former BJ Penn Instructor Tom Callos Featured at Todays Big Island Internet Society Meet Up

The Big Island Internet Society has grown to about 100 folks and the meetings have been moved to the third Saturday of each month.  Today’s meeting was a potluck held at the societies founders house Larry Czerwonka.

Today, a group of about 20 of us met to listen to Tom Callos discuss how he has used the internet to help his business in general.

Larry Czerwonka talks to Tom Callos about the internet

This months format took a different twist as Larry interviewed Tom which was video taped and then others had the chance to go forward and give a “Born/Raised” presentation on where they were born and raised.

Larry interviews Sherry Carden

Here is part of the interview with Larry and Tom.  For those that don’t know… Tom Callos is the guy that basically taught BJ Penn much of what he knows as he was one of BJ’s first instructors.


…At his school’s peak in the late 1990’s, Tom taught about 200 Hilo residents both stand-up martial arts (taekwondo and kickboxing) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Before Tom started his school in Hilo, in fact, on the first day he and his bride to be Kathleen Harris moved from Kamuela to Hilo, Tom put up fliers in local gyms looking for judo players and wrestlers to train with.

The next day BJ Penn’s father called Tom and said his boys were interested. Coincidently, Tom had met JD Penn the day before, as he was leasing one of the Penn’s rental properties on Kauila St.

BJ Penn, his brother Reagan, and a number of their friends started meeting Tom two to three times a week at the Waiakea Recreation Center. Tom taught BJ and “the boys” what he knew, as he had just started training in Jiu-jitsu a 18 months before, and BJ became Tom’s 5th degree black-belt-test training partner.

“I’m going to guess that I have tapped out BJ Penn more than anyone in the world, “Said Callos in a recent interview. “Of course, that was in the first three months of training with him, because after a few months, BJ was a formidable and eventually an unbeatable opponent.”

When Callos’ instructor, Ernie Reyes, Sr. was having his 50th birthday party in 1997, Tom suggested to JD Penn that BJ could go to San Jose with him. Tom offered to introduce BJ to his former teacher, Ralph Gracie (the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu pioneered the worldwide popularity of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu).

Shortly thereafter, BJ’s father arranged for BJ to live near –and train with — Ralph Gracie’s Academy. Two years later BJ would earn his black belt (normally a 5 to 8 year process) and win the world championships, earning him the nickname, “The Prodigy”…

More Here: What is Tom Callos to BJ Penn

3 Responses

  1. Aloha Damon, nice seeing you even though we never chat. Great coverage of today’s event. It was a great one! Blessings, Dewi

  2. Interesting interview.

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