By TXMMA Staff | Photos by Mike Calimbas (MMA & BJJ Photographer)
BJJ Black Belt Travis Tooke eager for MMA debut; Fights Rashid Abdullah this Friday at Fury FC 1
HUMBLE, TX, October 31, 2013 – “I’m feeling great and ready for Friday,” said BJJ black belt Travis Tooke as we asked him about his impending MMA debut coming up this Friday night at Fury Fighting Championship 1 in North Houston.
A longtime Houston resident and head instructor of Team Tooke and all their affiliate academies, Travis has been around the scene for awhile. He has kept busy growing his businesses and coaching his own athletes like UFC vet Andrew Craig but he also has tried to find time to compete also. He competed at last year’s IBJJF Pan Ams and also was matched up against Renan Chavez in a 2012 no-gi superfight.
As for MMA, it’s only now he’s able to turn his attention to the sport but he’s excited to try his hand.
“I always had a bit of an itch to do it (MMA) but never dedicated any time to the stand up game. After Andrew Craig’s fight with Leben I decided to train some striking. Once I got into that I got more excited about the idea of doing a fight. I knew Eric and Jace had a show coming up with FFC so I just said let’s do it.”
Fury FC 1 Interview – Travis Tooke (Team Tooke)
TXMMA: Travis how would you compare the training you’re doing for this bout versus training for BJJ competition?
Travis Tooke: I think the mindset (with MMA) is very similar (to grappling) but the training is completely different. Like any sport, you have to have the right focus and confidence in yourself in order to perform at a high level.
TXMMA: What are some of your goals with this new endeavor? Are you going to push for the big leagues?
Travis Tooke:I really haven’t thought that far ahead. I just want to do this fight and we’ll see how I feel after. I already have my career with the school so I’m not thinking about changing that part of my life to pursue MMA. But, who knows, I really do like it so we’ll have to see how I feel after this fight.
TXMMA: Aside from training your school has grown rapidly in both numbers and reputation over the past few years. What would you attribute for that success?
Travis Tooke:The right people. I have been fortunate to have a team of great coaches, staff members and students. It’s not 1 magic thing that has accounted for our success, it’s the combination of great people all working toward a great goal.
TXMMA: What has Andrew Craig’s success in the UFC done for the other guys as far motivation?
Travis Tooke:Andrew is the perfect example of how to do it the right way. This guy is literally one of the nicest and hard working guys you will ever meet. He doesn’t win because he’s the fastest, strongest or meanest guy in the UFC. He wins because he dedicates himself and makes no excuses along the way. He has definitely motivated everyone in our school from the kids to the adults to even the Boot Camp Ladies. I’m still better looking though.
TXMMA: What are some of your future goals – for both yourself and your team?
Travis Tooke:I’m going to continue to grow the School and Team Tooke name for years to come. We have competitors in Jiu jitsu, Muay Thai, MMA and Judo and they are going to continue to shine on the competition scene. I believe we will have bjj world champions and more UFC fighters in the near futire. Of course, the majority of our students don’t compete and that’s why we have programs for everyone. I want for all Team Tooke students to reach their Martial Arts goals regardless of what they may be. I mean, we have students who have lost over 100 lbs. Others who have a completely new outlook on life because of the friends they have made and the new lifestyle they have. That is as rewarding or more that any trophy or medal.
TXMMA: What’s a greater love for you: Coaching or competing?
Travis Tooke:Ughhh! That’s impossible to answer. For me, the two are very similar. When you coach you are competing through someone else in many ways. And when you compete, you have to work in sync with your coaches. I’m just happy I don’t have to choose one over the other. Of course, at this point in my life, I would never give up coaching for myself. I love it too much.
TXMMA: What’s your favorite submission and which one can we expect to see on Friday?
Travis Tooke:You’ll have to wait until Friday. <laughs>
TXMMA: Any last words or words for the fans?
Travis Tooke:Thank you all for everything and I hope to see you on Friday night.