When you hear about a neighborhood martial arts school it’s easy to think about a bunch of kids in white pajamas punching and kicking at the air with the occasional “kiai” exclaimed. In the Cedar Park/NW Austin area alone there are at least 25 martial arts schools. So what setsInvictus Martial Arts apart from the rest?
One word: community
Invictus is a place where everyone belongs.
Whether you’re a kid struggling with self-confidence, an adult needing an outlet for stress relief, or a teen needing an encouraging dose of self-discipline, Invictus provides a welcoming environment with knowledgeable and supportive coaches that are passionate about seeing you succeed.In a world where social media silently demands you to live a picture-perfect life, only presenting the best parts of what you experience day-to-day, the culture at Invictus takes a different approach.
At Invictus, it’s okay not to have it all together, and it’s ok to fail, because failing is how we learn and learning is how we grow.
To state it plainly, at Invictus, it’s ok to just be authentically you. In fact, it’s not only ok, it’s celebrated. And when you’re part of a community where you feel seen and accepted just as you are, something remarkable happens: transformation.
Invictus Martial Arts is co-owned by two Avery Ranch residents, Dave Hackbarth and Selynda Garza. “It’s been our honor and pleasure to be able to help so many of our neighbors become the best versions of themselves through training in the martial arts”, says Mrs. Garza.
This month, Invictus celebrates 3 years of transforming lives through the martial arts.
In those 3 years, about a third of the members that have joined Invictus hail from the Avery Ranch neighborhood. Here’s what a few of them have to say about being a part of the Invictus family:
Olivia E.: “I like Invictus because it’s a fun way to learn kickboxing. Also it is a great community of people in the neighborhood.”
Nikhil S.: “I like going to Invictus class because I get to learn mixed martial arts which is fun and a good form of exercise.”
Arjun B.: “My parents say I am more confident than ever. Invictus has played a large role in that. I love my classes, coaches, and the energy in the room.”
Ethan S.: “I enjoy practicing martial arts and making new friends. And dad jokes.”
Livy S.: “It’s great to be able to attend class, exercise, learn, and build friendship with my peers.”
Maggie H.: “Kindness, discipline and strength are the words that, for me, best describe Invictus. I enjoy every single class I go to.”
Ganesh M.: “By joining Invictus, I’m proud to see my daughter grow from a timid kiddo to a more self-confident individual who can protect herself. While I originally tagged along to give her company, these days I look forward to every class myself for another day of fun filled learning experience.”
Jonah H.: “I enjoy being able to help others and be able to get away from the days stresses. Invictus has helped me with strength and courage in ways I am ever grateful for.”
Sarah M.: “I get compliments when I do something good; that boosts my self-confidence to give my best. The instructors are really kind and not very strict. I get to learn how to fight and I love it.”
Dhiya M.: “I like being active and moving my body. It’s totally fun.”
Jude G.: “I like Invictus because it is a place to train and work out with friends and family. Being at Invictus has helped with getting to know the community better and has helped with my strength. And I can’t wait to see where this leads me in the future.”
Ready to join our martial arts community? It’s easy to GET STARTED.
Looking for martial arts for your kids? You’re not alone. Parents often chose to enroll their kids in martial arts because of the benefits of developing discipline, focus, and confidence. But did you know that martial arts isn’t just for kids? In fact, even if you’ve never trained in martial arts before, there are several surprising benefits to starting your training as an adult.
De-stress In Style
Any fitness routine is great for relieving stress, but add punching and kicking to that routine and you’ve got a super-powered program to get you feeling strong while you melt away that stress. Martial arts training combines two great benefits: 1. it reduces stress hormones and 2. it stimulates the production of endorphins. So, after a stressful day at work or a tense day at home with the kids, there’s no better feeling than being able to disconnect for a bit while you punch and kick a bag. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life throws your way.
Kick Those Unhealthy Habits
Even though parents tend to enroll their kids in the martial arts for the discipline and self-control, adults can also benefit from developing these character traits. We’ve heard time and time again how adults who start training in the martial arts are finally motivated to adopt a healthier diet and even quit smoking or drinking. The expectation to train multiple times per week in the pursuit of the next belt rank keeps adults accountable and on track to achieving their fitness goals.
Strengthen Your Mind
Training in the martial arts is both physically and mentally challenging. Whether it’s strengthening your body to punch faster, kick harder, or perform more reps of a physical exercise like push-ups, training in the martial arts challenges your mind to overcome temporary physical discomfort in the pursuit of self-improvement. There’s also a focus on problem solving under pressure, especially during sparring. Developing a strong mind, even under adrenaline stress, is a skill that directly translates into any career setting.
Improve Balance & Coordination
As we get older, our ability to balance slowly declines. The more we focus on exercises that target our stabilizer muscles and joint stability, the more we can maintain and even improve our balance and coordination. Martial arts styles like kickboxing and Muay Thai that focus on kicking while balancing on one leg, help adults learn to control their bodies and improve their balance as they strengthen their muscles. Additionally, most of our stability comes from a strong core. The majority of techniques in martial arts directly impact the core. This isn’t just limited to the abdominal muscles but also includes the lats, gluten, and lumbo pelvic hip complex.
Love Your Body Better
So many adults begin an exercise program with the goal of loosing weight and feeling better in their bodies. The typical standard here is that if they look better, they will feel better. The challenge is that it takes consistent training and time to achieve results that are visible when it comes to physical transformation. People will often get impatient with their perceived lack of progress and give up their fitness goals before they have a chance to benefit from their efforts.
Training in the martial arts helps shift the focus from what our bodies look like towards what our bodies are capable of doing. Of course, as we build strength in our bodies, we start to feel better and after a few months we start to see the results, too.
Ready to start training in the martial arts as an adult? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.
Teens today face so many unique challenges. From bullying and stress to anxiety and depression, as a parent, it’s difficult to know how to help. Now more than ever, it’s so important to ensure our teens are surrounded by a positive and supportive community to keep them on the right track.
Martial arts programs have long been praised for their many benefits among people of all ages, such as improved focus, discipline, and confidence. Unfortunately, most traditional martial arts programs are more geared towards serving younger children, leaving older teens feeling left out and under-served.
After over a decade of developing and leading martial arts programs, we understand the need for a comprehensive mixed martial arts program designed to get teens moving, connecting with other like-minded individuals, and having fun…OFF their device of choice.
We’ve put together a quick list of benefits of MMA training for teens to get you started:
Physical Fitness & Strength
If given the choice, many teens would much rather sit in front of a device all day than even think about doing any kind of physical fitness training. This can make motivating them to get involved in school sports that involve early mornings and long practice sessions multiple times per week. Most of our teens train in MMA two to three times per week…because they LOVE it! There’s something about getting to punch and kick a bag or pads that doesn’t feel like working out and is just plain fun. Plus, it builds both mental and physical strength which helps combat any negative self-talk they may be dealing with as a result of bullying.
So many teens struggle with a lack of self-confidence due to their lack of maturity and perspective. On top of that, bullying and cyberbullying are still a major problem in many of our middle and high schools. Rather than focusing on all the ways they “fall short”, training in MMA gives them a place where they can focus on all the ways they excel. With opportunities to earn new belt ranks and learn new and challenging techniques, MMA training will have your teen feeling motivated and proud of themselves and their accomplishments.
Motivation & Work Ethic
One of the most challenging things about raising a teen can sometimes be just keeping them motivated. As they inch closer to adulthood, parents begin to worry about their future success when it comes to higher education and even careers. Martial arts training teaching the importance of committing to a goal and following through. Experienced martial arts trainers and coaches will know how to hold teens accountable for their class attendance and weekly practice time. This helps them build a strong work ethic which will serve them tremendously in their future.
While the focus is typically on how they are being treated by others, it’s important for teens to understand that having self-respect will help other to see and treat them with dignity and worth. Having a healthy level of self-respect will enable them to have the confidence to set firm boundaries that align with their values. Martial arts training consistently reemphasizes the concept of respecting themselves as well as respecting others. Teens quickly learn that when they demonstrate good respect towards others, they are deserving of being treated with respect in return. Understanding this, they are much less willing to settle for anything less when interacting with their peers at school or other social situations.
A Sense Of Community
With anxiety and depression being so prevalent among teens, it’s so important to make sure they have a supportive community they can rely on. Martial arts communities are some of the tightest-knit groups of kids, teens, and adults. It feels amazing to see teens surrounded by people with common interests and goals that will support them on their good days and bad. It’s easy for them to make awesome friends that they actually enjoy hanging out with. It’s no wonder so many parents choose martial arts training for their teens!
Ready to start seeing your teen benefit form martial artists training? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.
According to the CDC, a staggering 25% of U.S. adults are considered physically inactive. The health repercussions of not getting enough physical activity can be severe: obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. Of course, the benefits of physical activity are numerous including a decreased risk of chronic disease, improved mental health, and better sleep to name a few. Bottom line, as adults, we need to get moving.
There are several reasons adults don’t exercise. The most cited reason is a lack of time. Also noted are a lack of support or lack of desirable options. Let’s face it, the idea of spending half an hour on a treadmill isn’t exactly inspirational.
So, what can adults do to get moving that’s fast, effective, and includes a positive and supportive community?
Martial arts training is an ideal solution. Surprisingly, only 5% of adults have ever trained in a martial arts discipline. With so many benefits, we want to do our part to share our passion for mixed martial arts training and grow that number.
There are a variety of physical, social, and emotional benefits to training in martial arts. Need to loose weight? Want to feel stronger? Could you use a confidence boost? Is a lack of accountability crippling your progress? Regardless of what your fitness goals are, you can completely transform your life with martial arts training. We’ll show you how!
Ready to become part of the 5% of adults that consider themselves martial artists? It’s time to get moving and start getting the results you deserve. At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.
Since the 1980s, Mexico has boasted it’s fair share of impressive boxers. Names like Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez dominated throughout the 80s and 90s and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez continues to dominate even today. But up until the last 5-10 years, hispanic fighters have been under-represented in the sport of MMA. Fortunately, the UFC now has a growing number of fighters with Mexican roots who display the same heart, desire, and physicality we’ve come to expect from Mexican boxers.
MMA fighter Efrain Escudero recently said, “For Mexicans, not only in boxing but also in MMA, we are warriors. We like to fight. We like to be involved in tough wars inside a ring or Octagon.”
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re taking a look at five Hispanic fighters who have faced insurmountable odds to become some of the best mixed martial artists in the world.
Here’s our list of the top 5 Hispanic mixed martial artists of all time:
Ortiz grew up in Huntington Beach, California with his Mexican father, Samuel and French mother Joyce along with three older brothers. He had a difficult childhood due to his involvement in street gangs, exposure to drugs, and frequent trips to juvenile halls. In high school, he began wrestling and quickly found his passion for the sport winning a CIF championship and finishing fourth in the state tournament his senior year. He went on to attend Golden West College where he became a California Junior College State Champion and All-American for two consecutive years.
Ortiz‘s mixed martial arts debut was at UFC 13 in 1997. He has a record of 21 wins and 12 losses. He went on to become the UFC light heavyweight champion. In July of 2021, Ortiz was inducted into the UFC hall of fame.
Cruz grew up in Tucson, Arizona with his mother, grandmother, and brother. He began wrestling in middle school and went on to compete for Flowing Wells High School. He was on track to secure a wrestling scholarship to the University of Northern Colorado; however, due to an injury he sustained his senior year, he lost the opportunity. Before becoming a professional fighter, Cruz worked at Lowe’s while he attended community college where he studied to become a firefighter.
Cruz began his professional mixed martial arts career in 2005 at the age of 20. He quickly became known for his quick footwork, head movement, and use of feints and angular strikes. In December of 2010, he won the inaugural Bantamweight Championship. After successfully defending the belt twice in 2011, he was sidelined in 2012 due to an injury and subsequently stripped of the title in 2014. In early 2016, he regained the Bantamweight Championship in what many media outlets called the greatest comeback story in MMA history. Cruz has a record of 21 wins and 3 losses. Besides his amateur wrestling experience, he is also a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. While Cruz still actively fights, he is now also a regular commentator for UFC.
Moreno was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico where his family owned a piñata business. He started training in mixed martial arts at the age of 12. While he had early ambitions of attending law school, he decided to focus solely on his mixed martial arts career.
Moreno made his professional MMA debut in Mexico in early 2011 at the age of 17. In 2014 he joined the World Fighting Federation promotion where he won the Flyweight Championship before being cast on the 25th season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2016. Moreno has a record of 19 wins and 5 loses and is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In June of 2021, Moreno became the first Mexican-born UFC Champion in history. He is expected to defend the Flyweight Championship at UFC 269 in December of 2021.
Velasquez was born in Salinas, California but raised in Yuma, Arizona. His father, Efrain, was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who gained his citizenship when he married Velasquez’ mother, Isabel. Velasquez attended Kofa High School where he served as the captain of both his wrestling and football teams. He had a very successful wrestling career winning the 5A Arizona Wrestling Championship twice. After high school, he attended Iowa Central Community College for one year where he won the NJCAA National Championship in the heavyweight division. He transferred to Arizona State University where he placed 5th in the country in 2005 and 4th in 2006. He graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.
Velasquez made his UFC debut in 2008. He became known for his cardiovascular endurance and aggressive fighting style. In 2013, he was ranked number 1 for the most strikes landed per minute in the UFC. He has a record of 14 wins and 3 losses and is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Velasquez is also a former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Aguilar was born in Poza Rica, Veracruz, Mexico. Her family immigrated to the US and settled in the Houston, Texas area. After losing her father and older brother at a young age, she went on to graduate high school and attend San Jacinto College before taking a semester off to pursue a career in acting in Hollywood. Success did not come easy, so she made the decision to move to Oregon where she worked as a corrections officer and gained extensive experience in self-defense. At the age of 24, she moved to Miami where she first began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Aguilar made her professional debut as a mixed martial arts fighter in 2006. She went on to fight for Bellator Fighting Championships from 2010-2013. She became the first female fighter to sign with the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) promotion in 2013 and in 2014 became the first WSOF Women’s Strawweight Champion. Aguilar went on to successfully fight in the UFC from 2015-2019.
Currently, Aguilar uses her martial arts expertise to teach self-defense classes. She says, “Being able to share the importance of self-defense with men and women makes everyone involved feel so empowered and confident. I love that I can share my skills to help people protect themselves.”
Aguilar has had a decorated career in mixed martial arts. Her accomplishments include: FILA Grappling World Championship Women’s Senior No-Gi Gold Medalist (2009-2010), 2010 female fan favorite of the year, 2011 female flyweight of the year, 2012 Florida MMA Female Fighter of the year.
Aguilar was part of the first female team at American Top Team from 2006-2020. She has a record of 20 wins and 9 loses and is a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Ready to start training in mixed martial arts? Try a FREE training session at Invictus! Which class below are you most curious about?
If you’re currently hitting the snooze button multiple times every morning, walking around like a zombie during the day, reaching for the nearest energy drink to get you through the afternoon, and unable to unwind and get good quality sleep at night, you’re not alone. Fatigue is a common complaint for many adults. General fatigue is caused by several issues including: poor sleep, poorly managed stress, poor diet, poor life/work balance, and yes…poor fitness habits.
It may sound counterintuitive, but experts agree that expending energy by engaging in regular exercise actually pays off with increased energy over time. This is because regular exercise raises blood oxygen levels and increases endorphins, which helps us feel more energized.
So, which are the most effective exercises at increasing oxygen in the blood and boosting energy? It turns out, aerobic training, like mixed martial arts, is best!
Here are three ways to fight fatigue with martial arts:
Focus On Cardio
Training in mixed martial arts is fantastic for cardiovascular strength building and endurance. Martial arts drills that incorporate bag or pad drills are great for developing enhanced aerobic and anaerobic respiration. Additionally, mixed martial arts is great for increasing stamina and endurance. The best martial arts training sessions start with a warm-up designed to get your heart pumping and your muscles conditioned. Additionally, sparring drills focus on developing your cardiovascular endurance. Consistent training improves heart health which helps the body regulate oxygen levels more efficiently, resulting in better energy management.
Full Body Workout
One of the greatest benefits of mixed martial arts training is that it trains the body as a whole. Whether you’re working on the fluidity of your practice combos on a pads or refining the technical aspects of your kicks on a heavy bag, mixed martial arts training will have you experiencing the benefits of a full body workout. The more you focus on conditioning your body as a whole, the more you’ll realize the benefits when it comes to feeling more energized.
Get Better Sleep
While exercise helps boost your energy, it can also help you wind down. In fact, a recent study showed that exercise plays an important role in improving the quality of your sleep. Experts suggest that people who get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week sleep significantly better at night and also feel more alert during the day. Mixed martial arts training requires both physical exertion and mental focus which helps ready the body for a better night’s sleep. So, while you’re putting in the time on the mat, you can be confident that you’ll be falling asleep faster as well as sleeping through the night more consistently.
So, instead of pouring another cup of coffee when you hit that afternoon slump, hit the mats for a quick 30 minute training session! In the long run, you’ll be happy you did.
Ready to feel more energized? Try a FREE training session at Invictus! Which class below are you most curious about?
Finding the right personal trainer can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, we’re here to help! Maybe you took some time time off from your fitness routine and suddenly a few weeks turned into a few months. Perhaps you’re bouncing back from a minor injury and feeling uncertain about what exercises are best for your current activity level. It’s possible you’ve never had a consistent exercise regime and you could use some guidance. Or maybe you’re just struggling with feeling unmotivated. We’ve all been there. You know a personal trainer can help, but how do you find a coach that’s right for you?
Regardless of why you’re considering working with a personal trainer, one thing is certain. You want to see clear and consistant progress.
When you think of a personal trainer you probably think of a typical training session including some cardio as well as strength training with weights. But did you know, there’s an alternative? If running on a treadmill and working with free weights doesn’t get you excited, an MMA coach may be the perfect fit for you. Getting in shape with martial arts training isn’t just possible, it’s also a lot of fun! Understanding the benefits of working with an MMA personal trainer is as easy as A, B, C!
A. All About Accountability
One of the main reasons people hire personal trainers is for accountability. It’s a lot harder to blow off your training when there’s a coach waiting for you at a set time every week. Knowing you have a coach who is fully invested in your growth and development helps you stay motivated to keep doing the work and keep showing up. An MMA coach will specifically challenge you to develop your upper and lower body as well as your cardio during each training session. MMA training is a full-body, aerobic activity that uses body-weight resistance training to develop strong bones, encourage weight-loss, and strengthen muscles. Whatever your fitness goals are, having an MMA coach as your personal trainer will keep you focused on why you started and give you the support you need to achieve lasting transformation.
B. Beat The Boredom
Let’s face it, nothing sucks the life out of you like doing the same exercises week after week without seeing any progress. In fact, many people will quit their gym memberships because they just aren’t motivated. Keep things interesting with an MMA personal trainer! A good MMA coach has mastered the art of disguising repetition. Whether it’s mixing up combos and pad drills or working through sparring techniques, every training session is different. Ultimately, you’ll stay engaged and excited about your training while working up a great sweat.
C. Customized Training
Your fitness needs and goals are uniquely yours. Shouldn’t your training program be too? A personal trainer will customize your training experience to ensure you get exactly what you want out of your workout. A good MMA coach will help you understand your body and train you to be able to maximize your performance the way only you can. In addition to training you how to perform each technique, your MMA coach will also train you why each technique works with your specific body mechanics. Worried about an old injury? Your personal trainer can suggest modified movements that will still help you make progress while avoiding re-injury.
Ready to give personal training a shot? Reserve a FREE private coaching session at Invictus where REAL people like you are getting REAL results for the REAL world!