Travis Tooke Family Pic

I’m Turning 40!

What I have learned over the years

Tomorrow I turn 40 years young. In many ways it’s hard to believe. I remember as a young man thinking how “old” 40 was. I also recall this idea that whenever I eventually reach that age, I would be wise and mature with answers to all of life’s problems. Well, I may have overestimated my abilities. I have so many more questions about life than I do answers. I’m hardly the Yoda like entity of wisdom that I once imagined and my corny/inappropriate sense of humor would suggest that I’m far from mature. I still have a long way to go and much to learn, but I have gathered a few ideas along the way that I’d like to share with you.

Exercise Every Day

I currently exercise much more now than I ever did in my younger years. This daily ritual has been paramount in keeping me young both in body and mind. While some of my training has been tapered to work around a few nagging injuries, I am more physically active than ever before. I run, lift weights, do calisthenics, yoga, and, of course, Jiu-jitsu 1-2 times daily. This weekly routine has kept me going strong and is the most important part of my mental health. You don’t have to train like an olympic athlete and run yourself into the ground. But an ‘intensity appropriate’ exercise session every day will improve the quality of your life in a way that is second to none. And if you are not currently a Jiu-jitsu student…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Read More Books

Here’s something you may not know about me. I was a slightly below average student throughout my school years (which didn’t include any college). I hated to study and I absolutely dreaded reading assignments. These days, I read about 3-4 books every month. Reading (or audiobook listening) helps me see the world through a fresh new lens every week. It is nearly impossible for life to become dull while in the process of learning some new and exciting. While writing this, I was coming up with dozens of ideas about what I’ve learned over the years and I realized that the majority of my education and knowledge has come from books.  I’m enjoying the process as much as I did when I really upped my reading game over 20 years ago. Even if I lived another 1,000 years I still would never get to read everything about all the fascinating aspects of life. That fact alone is humbling and fascinating (actually, I bet there’s a book written about that very topic). I equate the ongoing education I receive from books to that of martial arts training. Both are incredible journeys, filled with adventure and unending knowledge.

Less Social Media, More Time With Friends, Family and Nature

I love posting on Instagram and Facebook about the exciting news happening here at the school. Recently, I had the honor to promote 6 new Black Belts! I was sharing stories and posts while tagging everyone and keeping the celebration going strong. Social media can be a great way to connect and share memories and events with the people you love. But there is a catch. And when I say “catch”, I mean a destructive and addictive force that causes anxiety, depression, FOMO (fear of missing out), envy, anger and negative thoughts that pile on to one another in a vicious that won’t end because you can’t stop from scrolling down to read the comments or see just how perfect everyone’s life is but your own!!! Am I exaggerating? For some, yes. For others, I barely scratched the surface on how much of a negative impact social media/their smart phones have had on their mental well being. Now, I don’t want to bash smart phones all together. Suffice to say, there was probably a pretty good reason why Steve Jobs wouldn’t let his own kids have IPads. But here’s a bit of advice…Never start your day or end your day on your phone. Before you go to bed, put your phone just out of reach. You can keep it close enough to hear your alarm, but far enough that you cannot reach it without getting out of bed. When you wake in the morning, drink some water, stretch your body, do some deep breathing but leave your phone alone. After you have completed this ritual…wait 5 more minutes, it won’t kill you. When you inevitably return to the dark world of smart phone addiction, see if you can refrain from checking it every 45 seconds. This can be difficult, especially when it’s buzzing with alerts and notifications! Those are so exciting, aren’t they!?! Here’s an idea, the next time you go to the bathroom (number 2 lol), leave your phone! I know, I know…you never do that, right? 😳

Sorry, that was a long “smart phone” rant. I think that’s what you would call “Projecting” as I feel that I’m giving this advice to myself. Once you have curbed your smart phone addiction, call an old (or new) friend, family member or loved one and go hiking in the woods together and keep your phones on airplane mode. If a mountain hiking adventure isn’t doable, your local park will suffice. Spending time in nature is good for the soul and spending actual time with actual people is what humans are wired to do. We need to be directly connected with the ones we love and we need to connect with the natural world.

I am always learning and my views on politics, religion, jiu-jitsu and the Corona virus might change from one week to the next. But when I push my body to sweat, learn something new and exciting, and connect with my fellow humans and the natural world we all share, I am right where I need to be. I believe these ideas are true and I hope you share this view. Thanks for reading. Happy Birthday to Me!

 

 

 

Travis Tooke

7 Ways to Guarantee an Unhappy Life

7 Ways to Guarantee an Unhappy Life

We spend a great amount of our time and energy longing for happiness and meaning. There is no perfect formula for everyone and we must all balance our opportunities and experiences with who we are as individuals. Knowing this is often not enough and finding true meaning can still elude even those of us with the best intentions. In this short blog I’d like to reverse engineer this existential dilemma and talk about how to have an unhappy life. Perhaps by identifying what makes us unhappy we can become more aware on what NOT to do. Below is a list of 7 ways to guarantee an unhappy life:

  1. Blame others for your hardships
  2. Lie to yourself and to others
  3. Rely on other people to give your life meaning and value
  4. Take any and all blessings for granted
  5. Take the easy route and avoid hard work
  6. Believe that you have learned all that you need to learn
  7. Accept the unfairness of the world as your destiny

Wow, that was hard to write. But maybe the message hits home in a unique way that will be better remembered. Now that we’ve identified 7 tried and true ways to guarantee an unhappy life, let’s explore 7 alternative choices that might bring about a more meaningful and happy life:

  1. Accept responsibility for where you are in life and where you go moving forward
  2. Be impeccable with your word
  3. Acquire the skills needed to lead the life you wish to lead
  4. Practice and express gratitude often
  5. Work harder than you ever thought possible
  6. Keep an open mind and learn new things every day
  7. Create your own destiny by applying yourself and working daily toward a better future

While ladder list may be more familiar to you, my goal here is that the contrast between the two will give you a different perspective as to how these ideas can help you. Instead of simply recognizing the truth of the positive list, a better task might be to ask yourself how often you are guilty of items from the first list. We all are at times and this can be a harder pill to swallow. But if we can manage to face our shortcomings, we can move forward and get back to the task of living a more meaningful and happy life!

 

Professor Travis Tooke

Team Tooke Mixed Martial Arts Academy

Hotel meme

2020, a year to forget, or a year to appreciate

Happy New Year

Well, Happy January 4th to be precise. 2020 was referred to by many as “a year to forget” and for good reason. We witnessed a deadly global pandemic, a hostile election, rioting, unemployment, and Jake Paul. And while the media filled our ears with one apocalyptic doomsday scenario after another, we survived. Personally, I found myself in a frantic state of mind when I realized that I had to close the school  down back in March. I didn’t know how long the shutdown would last and I played out the worst case scenario in my head for that first week. But the team (You, me the coaches and staff) pulled through it. We hosted zoom classes, encouraged one another and when we were finally allowed to reopen, nearly everyone returned smiling from ear to ear. I was excited to get back to training and competing. So when the IBJJF announced the Austin Open, I registered right away. And, as you might recall, tore my bicep during my semi final match attempting a single leg takedown. If the mandatory shutdown wasn’t enough to get me down, bicep surgery and several weeks of doctor ordered “no physical activity” just might. While it was a major bummer and I had my fair share of super grumpy days (okay, weeks), I am so grateful that it didn’t get the better of me. I strapped on my robot arm and made due with what I had. Actually, my Terminator-like arm brace made me feel as though I had super-human strength…especially when I sparred with 10 year olds LOL!

The truth is, 2020 wasn’t all bad. So to break the routine of the terrible, horrible agenda driven news from the everyday media, I have decided to share some of the good things that happened in the past 365 days.

 

1) Renewable (Green) Energy had a record year

2) More people than ever around the world had access to electricity

4) Africa was declared free of wild polio

5) Elephants and Gorillas had a major baby boom in Africa

6) Blue Whale numbers are increasing

7) We got Tiger King on Netflix!

 

And if that didn’t add to your New Years Optimism, here are a few more reasons why right now, 2020 AD is the best time in history to be alive:

 

1)Life expectancy is at an all time high

2)Child mortality is at an all time low

3)GDP continues to grow in developing countries

4)More people worldwide live in democracies

5)Wars and conflicts are lower than ever before

6)Team Tooke Mixed Martial Arts Academy is alive and well!

 

Your unique experience over the past year may or may not have been the best. But remember to keep in mind that we live in the most opportunistic country during the the most opportunistic time in history. And while life, people, government and new ideas are not perfect, today is as good as it has ever been and will likely be even better by this time next year. Carry with you a positive attitude and belief in the good of who you are as well as the people around you. Protect yourself from those who might do you harm but also from those sources who will try to convince you that the world is a dark, evil place that gets worse with each passing year. The facts don’t support this narrative. Also, check out the book Abundance by Peter H. Diamandis for more information about a hopeful future.

I hope 2021 is your best year yet and you realize all of your goals. Happy New Year!

 

Professor Travis Tooke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Torres Jiu-jitsu Academy

Torres Jiu-jitsu Grand Opening

Torres Jiu-jitsu Grand Opening in Spring, TX

On Saturday, November 7th, Team Tooke Jiu-jitsu Black Belt Michael Torres celebrated his Grand Opening. Professor Mike started his school similar to Professor Travis Tooke, in a very small location! As he grew, he was forced to find a location that could support his larger student base. The growing pains of the martial arts business world are as difficult as any other business and more so than most. The road to black belt is long and arduous. Add on top of that a nationwide pandemic, being a full time instructor, business owner and new father, Professor Michael Torres has his hands full. But Mike has within him the martial arts spirit ad the dedication and discipline to succeed. That is why Torres Jiu-jitsu in Spring, TX will quickly become one of the top Jiu-jitsu academies in the greater Houston area.

Special Offer for New Spring Jiu-jitsu Students

Anyone in the Spring, TX area looking to learn realistic self defense and Jiu-jitsu should be sure to visit Torres Jiu-jitsu for a limited time introductory offer. Classes are available for kids, adults and families. Contact them today to find out why Torres Jiu-jitsu is the number one Jiu-jitsu academy in Spring, TX

 

Travis Tooke

Team Tooke Mixed Martial Arts

10111 Grant Rd Suite R

Houston, TX 77070

www.TeamTooke.com

Warrior Crucible

Outperform Your Old Self

Competing with Yourself

In the competitive world we live in it seems that winning against our competitors is a high priority. In Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, 2 athletes start a match but only one will be declared the victor. In team sports, 2 teams play but only one wins. It seems simple enough and the stakes are often so high that there seems to be little room for extra competition. But competing against others only shows you that you’re doing better than someone else. It doesn’t necessarily tell you that you  have improved a great deal. Working to outperform your old self is actually the best indicator of progress. As a Jiu-jitsu instructor I still enjoy the challenge of competition. But I only compete a handful of times per year. The majority of my time is spent teaching and training with my students. Since I have years, and sometimes decades, more experience than many of my students, I don’t always try to just win match after match as fast as possible. That wouldn’t teach me anything or tell me that I’m progressing. It also wouldn’t be too fun for the beginner level student. Rather, I challenger myself to work out of bad positions, limit myself to only one or 2 submissions that I’m allowed to use. This type of training forces me to grow and it’s a better learning experience for the student as well.

Why Compete with Yourself

Here a re a few ways that you can work to outperform your old self on a weekly basis. To start, remember that comparing yourself to those who are operating beneath your level might boost your ego but it won’t grow your skill. And comparing yourself to those who are operating above your level will slash your confidence and demotivate you. Competing against your old self will drive progress and growth. Competition among others is natural and can be helpful but only when you find a competitor that drives you to be better. When the sole focus is to beat a specific person or drag them down, you can only stop them from winning. But you will still lose in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE competition! I believe that the intense training, visualizing, nervous energy and focus that makes up  competition camp is a very good thing. And, competition goals and events will certainly fuel growth. I’m just saying that by itself, it’s not enough. You have to keep beating your old self.  You must always be working to improve, even with age. Your physicality may slow over time, but your comprehension and control can increase long beyond your physical prime. Not only will this way of training help you improve at the fastest level, but you will enjoy the process so much more.