Putting Things Into Proper Perspective

2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for the whole planet. Covid-19 threw a wrench into everyone’s plans, goals and dreams for the year. And while a few people may have struck it rich in the stock market, the rest of the planet was busy dealing with job losses, shutdowns, sickness and even the death of loved ones. Add to that a presidential election that has stirred up more controversy and division than any in recent history. The combination was enough to drive stable, mild mannered people over the edge. Here in Texas, small businesses like mine have been lucky in the sense that our mandatory shutdown was short lived and we were able to reopen in a relatively short amount of time. But that does not mean we were without struggle. I know of several martial arts schools that had to shut down as a direct result of Covid. During struggles like this, perspective is key. Just a few weeks ago, I found myself mildly depressed. November and December were slow months in terms of the schools growth. And, with my recent bicep surgery and not being able to train as much or compete in the upcoming Jiu-jitsu Master Worlds, I was starting to feel a little bit like Scrooge.

The Unexpected

Although I was feeling a little grumpier than usual, I was excited to get our team ready to compete in the IBJJF Jiu-jitsu Master World Championships in Kissimmee, FL. In preparation for the final week of training, the competitors were focused and working their drills, positional sparring and final game plans. Jack Moores (Team Tooke purple belt, coach and competitor) was among the students registered to compete. He had a great practice Monday morning, and left the school in great shape ready to compete just a few days later. Later that day I received the news that Jack had suffered a stroke, was in the ICU and no one knowing whether we would ever see him again. Coach Jack is fairly young, in amazing shape and has no personal or family history of stroke. To put it mildly, we were shocked. I’m thankful that as of today, Jack is doing great and has made a fantastic recovery. He plans to slowly return to training and exercise within just a couple of months. When I heard about Jack I almost immediately felt 2 different emotions and lost another one. The first was sadness. I felt sad for my dear friend. I felt sad for his family. Jack is one of the hardest working and most reliable people I have had the honor to call a friend and the last person who deserves this misfortune. The second emotion was gratitude. I started to really think about how lucky our team and I have been to have Jack in our lives. I really believe that he gets more satisfaction from helping friends than anyone I know. The last emotion I felt was guilt. I had allowed a lackluster couple of weeks and a hurt bicep to really impact my mood. I can only imagine what a real problem (like a stroke) might have done.

It Takes Effort

Gratitude for our health, our family, our career…our lives all require practice. These things¬†should¬†make us feel happy, grateful and ecstatic from the time we open our eyes until the minute we close them. But we simply aren’t wired that way. Gratitude requires effort and we must practice it daily. Today I am grateful that Jack is doing much better. I am grateful that I have friends and students I absolutely love. I’m grateful for my strong health and for for my wonderful family. And I’m grateful for this very moment where I am free to share my thoughts, ideas and feelings without prejudice.

I hope you will take some time today and each morning to focus on how wonderful your life is (or can be), when you keep it in its proper perspective


Travis Tooke

Team Tooke Mixed Martial Arts

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