'It could save your life': UFC legends BJ Penn, Urijah Faber teach self defense seminars around island

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When it comes to self-defense, there aren't many forms of mixed martial arts that serve a greater purpose than Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. And when UFC Hall-of-famer, BJJ black belt and Hawaii native BJ Penn is instructing a seminar, one tends to listen.

Hawaii's UFC multiple-weight division champion, Penn, and UFC Hall-of-Famer Urijah Faber toured three UFC Gym locations on Oahu today, teaching jiu-jitsu and striking seminars to the public.

"We're just showing techniques, showing a couple of my favorite techniques," Penn said. "Glad Urijah's down here, my brothers are here too and they're showing their favorite techniques. Just having some fun and spreading the word about self-defense."

The tour will serve as the announcement of the upcoming opening of BJ Penn and UFC GYM's Kailua location, which is set to open later this year.

"People come out and support me and are here to learn self-defense and jiu-jitsu is such an amazing form of self-defense," Penn said. "Please, anyone take it. It could save your life."

Helping show some transitions into full-mount on the mat was Faber, a good friend of Penn's and former UFC title contender.

"BJ has done a great job bringing this gym to the islands and teaching what we do," Faber said. "There's no secret that the Hawaiian culture is rich with the fighting spirit, so BJ was one of the first guys who put them on the map and now you got Max Holloway, Yancy Medeiros and Michael Nakagawa and these guys that are really starting to step up."

The growth of MMA in Hawaii is no accident, according to Faber. The owner and coach of Team Alpha Male in California said that without Penn's influence on the sport, there wouldn't be the influx of local fighters making a name for themselves in the sport.

"I think it's going to be a long tradition of Hawaiian warriors making a staple on the sport but it started with this, BJ Penn and the Penn family over here," Faber said. "So we're excited to be a part of it."

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