BJ Penn’s First BJJ Instructor’s Opinion On The Prodigy’s Return To MMA

BJ Penn’s First BJJ Instructor’s Opinion On The Prodigy’s Return To MMA


With a record of 16-10-2 and with 3 defeats in a row, UFC hall of famer, ‘the prodigy’ BJ Penn, is coming back from retirement to make another run at the UFC feather weight belt currently held by Conor McGregor.
Penn is now 37 years old, and he retired after a disappointing loss to Frankie Edgar via TKO in July 2014.
In his last 7 fights he went 1-5-1.

He has relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico at Greg Jackson’s gym.

Tom Callos is the step father of Keenan Cornelius, and he is also BJ Penn’s first ever BJJ instructor. He recently shared his opinion on Penn’s return to MMA.

At the age of 17, BJ Penn began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after being introduced to it by his neighbor, Tom Callos Callos had put up fliers in local gyms looking for people to train with, and B.J.’s father Jay Dee Penn had called Callos and said his boys were interested. Callos then taught B.J. and his brother what he knew. Shortly thereafter, B.J. moved to San Jose, California to begin training at the Ralph Gracie BJJ academy with Dave Camarillo, who he lived with and became close friends with. It was here during his time in San Jose that he decided to pursue a career in martial arts (albeit not mixed martial arts at the time).

Callos wrote on his Facebook page :


“Should Bj Penn fight again? Someone asked me my opinion, so here’s my thoughts on it (not that what I think matters):
BJ Penn should do whatever BJ Penn is most interested in and passionate about, be it –in the end –what we think he could or should have done or not.

As Roosevelt so famously said:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. “

I get lots of calls about hip replacements, having had both of mine done, one of them twice now. People ask, “When will I know if I need mine replaced?”




My answer is: “You will KNOW, for sure, when it’s time. If you aren’t sure, it’s not time.”

Likewise, when BJ’s ready to stop, he’ll stop –and until then he should ride the (expletive deleted) tiger straight into the battle –shouting and laughing and whooping it up for all he’s worth.
He’s not fighting for the money, he’s fighting to quench the fire in his belly –and for that, I understand and approve.

Funakoshi said: “The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.”

BJ Penn the martial artist is going into the ring –and approaches his training –facing the unknown –and that takes guts. Not all of us are ready to step into such a dangerous place, with so much to lose, and go for it. BJ’s strength of character and willingness to engage is what, in the end, we will most respect.”