About Me

In the Spring of 1990, what started out as a hobby for Todd Tanaka and his three friends would soon change his life forever. Meeting Relson Gracie would set Todd on a path of compassion, discipline, and perseverance. Values that would later shape and guide his life in the twenty years to follow.


Jared Zygowicz, Jon Matsumoto, & Todd in Relson's Garage 1995


Jared Zygowicz, Jon Matsumoto, & Todd in Relson's Garage 1995

Todd trained relentlessly, he became the first person in the United States to compete in a Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu tournament. Todd began to realize that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was more than a hobby, it was more than a martial art...to him it became a way of life.


The 1st US Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament / Honolulu, HI December 1992
Todd Tanaka vs Chris Johnson


Hawaii State Jiu-Jitsu Championships 1994 Todd vs Andre Pinto, Royce Gracie referee

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has given Todd so much and it was time for him to give back. Todd showed an interest in teaching so Relson sent him to attended the Gracie Academy Instructor Program under Rorion, Royce, and the legendary Helio Gracie. Upon returning from the instructor program, Todd helped open the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Hawaii in Kaimuki.


Gracie Academy Torrance, CA 1996
(back row left to right) Scott DeVine, Nathan Zigler, Royce Gracie, Todd, Blake, Mark
(front row left to right) Danny, Rob Khan, John Burke, John Crouch


Helio Gracie, Todd, & Royce Gracie


Grand Opening of Relson's Academy Kaimuki in Hawaii 1996
Royce, Helio, Todd, Rorion, & Relson

 

Team HK started as a private group class at Relson's Kaimuki Academy with Todd's friends Daniel Chu & Brent Maeda. It quickly grew to a group of over 10.


Brent Maeda, Todd Tanaka, & Daniel Chu


Wanting to expand his knowlege of grappling, Todd also started taking up Judo in 1996 at the Hawaii Kai Shobukan branch under Franklin Ramos. Shortly afterward Todd moved in with the Ramos family & got private classes from Franklin & his 2 sons Brad & Stuart.

In 1997 Todd was introduced to the martial art Muay Thai through his student Dwayne Padello. Over the years Dwayne taught Todd his art in exchange for Jiu-Jitsu classes.

Throughout the next couple of years, Todd would work behind the Academies front conunter & assist Relson & Scott Devine with teaching classes. He would later become the Assistant Manager of the academy.

In 1999 Relson decided to move his Kaimuki Academy to Town on Queen Street. While the new Academy was being built Todd taught the classes for Relson at the Universit of Hawaii in Studio 4 & taught the kid's class in Hawaii Kai at the Koko Head District Park rec-center. After helping the opening of the Queen Street academy, Todd eventually became the Academy's General Manager.

All of these experiences would serve Todd well later.

March 18, 2002 marked the opening of his Team HK Jiu-Jitsu (Team Hiroi Kokoro) Dojo in University Square on the cross streets of South King & University avenue. This also marked the beginning of the biggest challenges and changes in Toddʼs life. Team HK Jiu-Jitsu saw a rapid growth over the course of the next year. Todd also progressed as he was promoted to the rank of Brown Belt. In late 2003, Todd and his friends partnered up opened the restaurant En Fuego Grill and Poké in Kapolei. As the wild success of the restaurant collided with the success of his academy, Todd found himself at a crossroad.

He chose to remain on the path of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

July 22nd, 2009 became another benchmark for Todd and the Jiu-Jitsu community in Hawaii. Todd became the 10th Black Belt promoted out of Hawaii by Relson & First person by Relson & in the State of Hawaii to complete the arduous journey of achieving the rank of black belt starting as a kid.


Todd's belts over the years


Todd's Black Belt ceremony July 22, 2009

Becoming a black belt did not leave Todd complacent, just the opposite. He would continue his journey as both an educator and as a competitor. In January of 2010 he opened a second branch of Team HK Jiu-Jitsu in Kaimuki, then 4 months later another in Maryland.

Even with a grueling schedule of teaching and competing, Todd still commits his time to give back. He has given seminars on womenʼs self-defense, volunteers teaching homeless kids at the Next Step Shelter for The Hata foundation, and other pro bono work in the community.

*Side note: Team HK Jiu-Jitsu has a diverse collective of students such as artists, teachers ,high school and college students, accountants, businessmen, police, lawyers, security and club owners, doctors, other marital artists.

Todd's Jiu-Jitsu Resume

2nd Place Teen Open - 1992 Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu International Tournament
Competitor Adult Blue Belt - 1994 Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu State Championships
2nd Place Adult Blue Belt - 1995 Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu State Championships
Competitor Adult Purple Belt - 2000 Arnold/Gracie World Championships Columbus, OH
3rd Place Adult Purple Belt - 2003 Pan American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships Santa Barbara, CA
Competitor Adult Brown Belt - 2009 Brazilian World Jiu-Jitsu Championships Long Beach, CA
Competitor Adult Black Belt - 2011 Brazilian World Jiu-Jitsu Championships Long Beach, CA

Assistant or Tournament Director for Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Hawaii In-school Tournaments 1996-2001
Assistant or Tournament Director for Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Hawaii State Championships 1996-2001
Assistant or Tournament Director for Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Hawaii International Tournaments 1996-2001
Assistant Tournament Director for Arnold Schwarzenegger/Gracie World Championships Columbus, OH 2000
Assistant Tournament Director for Relson Gracie International Open Columbus, OH 2000

Other hobbies of Todd inclued video editing, building websites, social networking, watching movies, & hanging out with friends.

Todd has also teamed up with friend George Kotaka & started teaching a Women's cardio kickboxing class. The two also have a safety course for business workers.

BELT LINEAGE

Helio Gracie > Relson Gracie > Todd Tanaka

For more information on Todd's Jiu-Jitsu school & Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Team HK go to www.teamhk.net


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Events

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HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!

The Academy will be closed today for Father's Day. Classes will resume Monday the 19th.

KAMEHAMEHA DAY 2017

We will be closed on Monday June 12th, 2017 in observance of Kamehameha Day. All classes will return to regular schedule on Tuesday June 13th. The Women's self-defense class make up will be held on Tuesday night at 6pm. Thank you for your understanding.

RELSON GRACIE JIU-JITSU BLACK AND PURPLE BELT PROMOTIONS!!!

Today we had a promotion ceremony and I had the pleasure of promoting my long time student Lee Sakai to the rank of Black Belt. Lee was my right hand man when he lived here in Hawaii. He now lives in Las Vegas and runs his own school under the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Team HK flag. Congratulations…

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