I just completed the 50th year of my life and it was full of turning points that I did not expect. Turning points in my marriage, my Jiu Jitsu journey and my spiritual journey. I thought it would be good to sit down and summarize the last 12 months for the benefit of myself and those who are ready to give up.

First of all I celebrated my 24th wedding anniversary. Although you might think that two people that have been married for 24 years are beyond any real threats to their marriage, if you do you are wrong. The beginning of the last 12 months were filled with doubt and uncertainty. Through the help of a close friend, David Fairchild and our pastor, Eric Landry, we were able to deal with some demons that quite frankly I thought would never come between the two of us. Without going into the details I can tell you that from my perspective the last year with Grace has been one of the best. (She might have a different perspective, lol)


Second, a lot of people don’t know this but prior to the last 12 months I had competed in 6 tournaments. I lost every single match except one. Why did I continue? Because I could see myself improving each time. I knew that eventually I would win a tournament. I won my first Gold as a Blue Belt at the L.A. Open. Two weeks later I was promoted to Purple Belt. I was a Purple Belt for another two weeks when I won the North American as M4. My winning streak continued with a Gold at the Pan Ams M5 Open Class and most recently Double Gold at the Vegas Open as M4. (in the photo I am wearing all the medals I acquired in the last 12 months)

gene cook jr. podium

How did I go from losing all my matches to a record of 7-1 as a Purple Belt? A lot of hard work, great coaches and tough team mates. Tom Cronin, Tino Martinez, Sean Ruiz, Jeff Gallegos and Carlos Dubon just to name a few. I also have to think that having some of the problems in the marriage healed with the full support of my wife made difference also. 🙂


Next on my list is my relationship with God. The problems I had in my marriage were just a refection of a deeper issues between me and God. Again, without going into details I am now in a healthy place spiritually. As a result I have found the motivation to start podcasting again and have put out a few podcasts in the last month.


Looking back, year 50 might turn out to be one of the best I have had yet!

Thanks for reading