Professional Fighter? It's an Expression Richer and More Important Than its First Impression

Hello Fightersbook --and a big hat's off to Frank Garcia and Carmine Zocchi for taking action and putting together a much needed resource like this one.

I'm the short Greek guy, without the hair, on the left in this picture (the one wearing the $40 Gracie t-shirt/investment). That's my wife on the right --and standing in the middle is our son, Keenan Cornelius. This was the photo taken right after he won the Mundials (BJJ Worlds) in LA. This was also the win that cemented his name into the BJJ worlds history books, as it was the completion of "The Grand Slam," or a double gold medal at The Pan Am Games, The Europeans, The Brazilian Nationals, and The Worlds.

Go Keenan!

With the miracle and ease of modern video-making, here's the moment of his win, captured by yours truly:

Now, I'm proud to note, this is the second fighter that's come from my teaching --that's taken the work to a level few get to experience. The other young man I started who most everyone knows is:

Yeah, BJ Penn.

Now I genuinely wish I could take ALL the credit for these two amazing athletes, but the truth is, I think they both would have done what they've done without me. 

I just happened to be there. Lucky me.


The Professional Fighter and MMA

I started the martial arts with a lesson in judo in 1969 --and for the most part I've been fighting ever since. 

I've fought boys, men, women, wives, friends, enemies, the death of my parents, impending old age, money issues, education, injustice (sometimes, but never enough), keeping up with the Joneses, and all of it --like you. 

So the "fighter" part, I've got that down. Now have I always been "professional?" No. Being professional, in and out of the ring, takes a little aging, maybe some mentoring from someone smart enough to see it all for what it is, maybe it takes some pain too. 

To be a "Professional Fighter" might, to some, mean fighting for money or training to fight for money, but to me, I've taken the expression "out of the ring and into the world." Now, at age 53, with all of these years of martial arts training under my belt, I seek to fight the good fight, when I can, against things that need a really good ass-whipping. There's plenty of subjects out there that need professional fighters working on their behalf, so I am, you know...busy. 


There are no styles, as there are no real "State Lines." They're political bodies, imagined limitations, and brand names. It's always been "MMA." I read the other day that Lee (you know: "LEE") wrote or said, "My JKD is not your JKD." Well, likewise, my MMA is not your MMA.

I use what works for me --and I'll betcha, you do (or will do) the same. 

I'm pleased to meet you. Happy to be engaged in the martial arts, still, after all these years. I think the pursuit of martial arts skills, in all shapes and sizes, and under every kind of banner and flag, is a worthwhile pursuit. 

Real fighting BELONGS in the ring and on the mat, not on city streets. I invite you to be more and more professional as the training reveals what it will reveal, like the layers of an onion coming apart, when you're ready to learn what you're supposed to learn. I invite you to embrace your MMA --and make it a good MMA, as it's all yours.

As for me? Look at my smiling face in the pictures above. The martial arts have been very good for/to me, my family, and friends. What else can someone (a Professional Fighter) ask for?

Tom Callos

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Tags: Callos, Tom, editorial, mma, professional


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Comment by Frank Garcia on August 17, 2012 at 11:28am

I'm overtaken Tom. Awesome post! loved reading it...

Comment by JFarrow on August 15, 2012 at 8:07pm

a brilliant opening post Tom and I am so glad that you joined us!  this network is a perfect scratching post for a fighter/professional professional fighter of your caliber.. looking forward to all that you have to teach us in the future!  

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