Your instructors

Our Journey to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


We are family of life long martial arts practitioners and martial art school operators.  We have 6 children who all train or have trained in traditional martial arts, MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  My husband has been training in traditional martial arts for 48 years now and teaching it for 35 years.  For 15 years prior to moving to Maui we owned and operated two different schools, a traditional martial art school and a seperate MMA school.  We have been on island for 9 years now and are ready to share our love of martial arts through another martial art school,  Common Ground Jitsu, LLC.  Specializing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

As a martial arts family, we have seen and felt first hand the many wonderful benefits it can bring to an individual, family and community.  We are looking forward to enhancing you, your child and your families lives by bringing together like minded people with common goals and interest on Common Ground.


Penny Thomas

South African born Jiu Jitsu star, Penny Thomas is a former Junior Olympic gymnast and has been at the top of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and submission wrestling circuit for the past decade.  Based in the beautiful Hawaiian Island of Maui, Penny is turning her focus to teaching and passing on her knowledge and experiences.  Having trained all over the world with many of the industries best, Penny has a unique skill set which she is using to motivate and encourage those around her.  She is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor, an NASM certified personal trainer, Gymnastics coach, Self-defense Instrucer & Jiu Jitsu Professor who specializes in group classes, seminars and personalized training.

Billy Pacheco

Billy began his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey at the age of 20 in San Louis Obispo, California while going to college.  He earned his blue belt under Chris Lovato of Paragon BJJ and that was a pivotal change in his life.  He found himself living the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lifestyle that is so greatly admired by accumulating experience, staying true towards following his passion and continuing to share the art of jiu jitsu with all walks of life.  Billy has been teaching at Hanaloa School of Jiu-Jitsu in Wailuku where he just received his Black Belt and has graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Hawaii.  As a brown belt he was competing as IBJJF World Champion, at purple belt, he competed at Blue Fight Circuit 2015-Brazil-Featherweight Champion, and as blue belt competed in the US Open in California and was Bronze Medalist while also becoming a multiple time Hawaii State Champion.  He has been teaching kids, adults and women's classes for five years now.  He has specialized in teaching self-defense, competition, fundamentals and fitness.  We all search for inclusiveness, friendship and a place to train where like minded individuals can collaborate and make each other better without the critical critique and social pressures that fall outside of the academy. Through his quality instruction and welcoming environment, every class will bring you into the element of acceptance, appreciation, dedication and focus.

Tyler Mahoney

yler Mahoney was born and raised here on Maui, and has traveled the world surfing, sailing and training Jiu Jitsu. Tyler has been training Jiu Jitsu for the past 6 years and is currently a purple belt under Luis Heredia. He was a double gold medalist at the Hawaii Triple Crown as a blue belt, winning his weight and the open weight divisions. He is a very patient and technical teacher.