At the end of the day, Kuhio Tabancura is just a good ole’ island boy. He’s pretty easy going, loves food, has a warm heart for those close to him, and grew up with fighting as a big part of his culture.
Dating back almost 20 years ago, Kuhio was living in Hilo, Hawaii – the same hometown as former UFC champion BJ Penn. That’s how he found jiujitsu and he hasn’t looked back since. Now teaching and training out at Checkmat Murrieta, Kuhio will be taking on one of the biggest challenges he’s faced since he entered the sport when he takes on world champion Tarsis Humphreys this Saturday at Fight 2 Win 95.
We wanted to get Kuhio’s thoughts on the upcoming match so please read on. Then Saturday come watch him live as he looks to showcase his jiujitsu and shock the world.
Fight 2 Win 95 – Kuhio Tabancura (Checkmat)
Kuhio, tell us a little bit about what you’re all about.
I am an island boy at heart (Big Island) that has been on a fun ride called life so far. Enjoying every day with my family and friends showing that anything is possible if you stay focused and want it. The reason I started jiu jitsu in 2000 was for the fun of it and the fighting aspect of it. Fighting is part of our culture and how we grew up. The Penns were a big influence on the Big Island when it came to training back in the day so we all hung out and basically started rolling.
When I’m not training I have an extremely supportive wife, kiddos and full-time job that I focus on to be the best at. I also like to surf and fish as well.
What’s Jiu Jitsu done for you? Who do you credit?
Jiu jitsu for me has led me to meet a lot of good people in my life. It also has given me the opportunity to teach and watch people grow in their own lives and jiu jitsu journey. Training at our gym Checkmat Murrieta has been fantastic to say the least. We have tons of talent that push each other each day from UFC fighters to World Champions. I have my coach and mentor Ricardo Pantcho Feliciano overseeing the squad and day to day beatings…lol! Pantcho has also been very influential up till now in pushing me and really opening my eyes and my game to full potential. I also have to give shout out to the early crew of Nova Uniao Hilo back in the day for entering me in my first NAGA only to get whipped on.
What are some of the greatest obstacles you’ve had to overcome?
My journey in jiu jitsu has had its ups and downs like anything else. This is the good part of our sport, it will always be here. You may take a beating when you get back, but it will always welcome you with open guards… <laughs> Kids, work trying to find myself as a person…. that was some of the biggest hurdles.
What’s your biggest motivation?
Biggest motivation right at this moment is seeing that I can make a difference in someone’s bjj game essentially in their life. It keeps me pushing my own body and mind to train.
What accomplishment are you proudest of so far?
My accomplishment that I am most proud of so far is receiving my black belt. To me the time, dedication and wanting was something that nobody can ever realize until you set foot on the mat. I also won a few other medals and tournaments.
How would you describe your jiujitsu game?
Most people who watched me train or competed against me described my jiu jitsu as aggressive. In my early days as a white belt I watched a lot of Margarida, Jacare and Leo videos. I love the throws and always pushing forward no matter what.
You’re facing Tarsis Humphreys at F2W95. What do you expect out of him?
This match with Tarsis I expect nothing but great BJJ out of him and a tough fight. He has been around for a while and consider him a legend. Once I got this match with him, I thought to myself, “Wow!” Tarsis Humphreys!!! Such and honor! I literally went for a run that same night. Now time to train! I have been training for this match harder than any other opponent. Two, three times a day sometimes! Come Dec 1st I want to give the crowd and my opponent some beautiful jiu jitsu from this virtually unknown old man!
Predictions?!… It’s going to be a great fight. After this I have been really contemplating taking a step back from competition to focus more on my family and teenage girls who keep growing…lol!
Any last words for the fans or anything else? The floor is yours.
Lastly, I would like to thank Seth and the whole crew from F2w for putting on such great events and considering me for such a great opponent. To my fans, family and friends I would like to Mahalos for all the support, words and encouragement over the years…Osss