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Tuesday, 01/24/2012, 03:30 pm

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BJ Penn's Weekly Pics – Master Tom Callos and I


When I was 17 years old ( and not doing much but drinking and fighting down at the beach) this man (Tom Callos) moved in two houses down the road from my house. He had done a couple Gracie Jiu Jitsu lessons in Northern California and wanted to have some grappling partners to wrestle with at the local rec center… I didn’t want to do it but Tom persisted and I finally went to the rec center and Tom choked me and arm locked me… the rest is history.. Too bad im so outta shape in this pic :(.. other than that enjoying retirement and hanging out at the gym is always fun.

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14 Comments to BJ Penn's Weekly Pics – Master Tom Callos and I

  1. Chigs says:

    Your fat as dump!!!

  2. mmaislandjunkie says:

    always great to have solid mentors in life to help guide you. props to master tom callos for helping u find something you excelled at that brought many great memories for yourself as well as all your fans. hope ur enjoying ur time off bj!

  3. Twayne says:

    Totaly agree with braddah Junkie.. Thanks to Master Callos for helping to produce one of the Greatest MMA Fighters Of All Time in Da’ PRODIGY!!! Happy to know you’re enjoying your Ohana & retirement. GOAT in my book aleady! God Bless Champ!!

    100% BJPENN.COM ALL DA’ TIME!!!

  4. Trevor says:

    Please come back!!!!!!!!!

  5. dave says:

    bj still the man

  6. Mike says:

    tom is wearing a freestyle gi! that’s where i take classes!

  7. snoop froggy dogg says:

    Bj lookin fat an happy good for him, hope hes enjoying his family an retirement an after he gets bored comes back an GETS ANOTHER BELT!!!!!

  8. Tom Callos says:

    OK, let’s set the record straight BJ. I had far more than a couple of lessons, I’d had 15 or so lessons (wink) and about a year or so of arm-bar-ing and neck cranking every fool who was brave enough to wrestle with me. I also ripped, I’m guessing, about 120 t-shirts, as you remember I often used their necks to choke out my most inexperienced partners. What I brought to the training table wasn’t a lot of bjj experience; what I came with was training experience. I knew how to work the basics, to move forward step at a time, working techniques to try and find what worked and what didn’t. I knew how to train, how to show up, how to think under pressure, and how not to bullshit the kids who came to work out with me, like you, into thinking I knew more than I actually did. The first thing I had to teach you –and your friends who came with you, was how to be good, respectful training partners –and you guys picked it all up instantly.

    If you recall, I told you all that I didn’t know a lot, but we’d work with what I knew –in preparation for when we would meet someone who knew more (as luck is preparation meeting opportunity, yes?).

    What you did for me, at that time, is hold me accountable to a consistency of practice that helped me get in shape and ready for my 5th degree TKD test under Master Ernie Reyes, Sr. While I grappled with you several days a week for that year prior to my test, I was also running and riding my bike for cardio, and throwing kicks and doing my forms in the evenings. You showed up, EVERY TIME we had a workout –and you were game for anything I could dish out –and more. For that I am forever in your debt. I was picked as best tester for the 5th dan test –and I while that’s not like winning the worlds, it meant a lot to me.

    It wasn’t a year and half later I had to go into the hospital for double hip replacements. I’d been kicking since 1971 and I simply wore them out thru over-training. My life as a competitive athlete had come to an end –and so that time with you and my 5th dan test became a last hurrah for me. Since then I’ve managed to play, to train, but the year we trained together was a definite ending for me –and a beginning for you. Since then I have marveled at your rise to world class status –your ability to handle the stress and keep your sanity –and sat in awe, like most of the world, at your ability to get it on.

    It was, after I grew up as a teacher, always my goal to have the people I worked with turn out to be world class “somethings.” I didn’t always achieve that –but in your case, it happened. I really wish I could take credit for your skill level, drive, and bravery –but it wasn’t me, you had it in you. A lot of people, I know, have helped you along the way –this one thanks you for the experience and the years of kindness and friendship. And I’m sorry, genuinely, for ripping so many of your t-shirts.

  9. Paul Doran says:

    Amazing read tom. Thanks sir

  10. TunisiaMan says:

    Another sign of BJ great humility and respect, he is not wearing his blackbelt in front of his old teacher
    BJ enjoy retirement but please don’t end like Matt Serra :) (just kidding)

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