Invictus Combatives Academy of LaGrange helps kids and adults learn to defend themselves

Published 8:44 am Saturday, July 6, 2024

Does an action always have an equal and opposite reaction? Gracie Jiu-Jitsu teaches its students that fighting fire with fire is not the solution; fighting fire with water is.

Kids and adults alike have been learning these ways for nearly a decade now in LaGrange thanks to power couple Robert and Penny Moore, who run Invictus Combatives Academy, a certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Center.

“I think a lot of times physical altercations can be avoided with individuals that have the confidence and ability to defend themselves so that they don’t have to escalate to kind of match the other individual,” Robert said. “When you have one person that’s able to be confident in their abilities to defend themselves and take care of themselves, they’re often able to stay a little more even-keeled and be able to talk instead of escalating the situation.”

“It was the first look that he had seen from a different view of how to handle physical confrontations or verbal de-escalation and how that can really benefit not just in career, but also personal self-defense,” Penny added.

Both are ex-law enforcement officers with Robert finding out about Gracie Invictus back in 2011 through training with the LaGrange Police Department. He brought it to his wife and they have been on the mats learning ever since.

Their passion for Jiu-Jitsu and teaching blossomed the day they discovered it back in 2011. Five years later, the couple was starting their own academy at 322 South Davis Rd. In a lot of ways, it’s been a home away from home for the last eight years as the two spend practically every evening of the week at the academy.

What the duo has learned they are now passing down to kids and adults alike. The academy in LaGrange has five main classes: Little Champs, Little Grapplers, Gracie Combatives, Master Cycle and Women Empowered.

The Little Champs (ages 5-7) and junior grapplers (ages 8-12) are the heartbeat of the school as the Moores help teach children how to effectively deal with bullies without escalating it towards violence. 

“Our children’s programs focus on how to be verbally assertive and talk to a bully. And then if it should go physical how to protect themselves as well as protecting the bully so it’s more control. We don’t do punches or strikes. We dDon’t teach that to the with children or really much in adult classes, either,” Penny said. 

If the kids stick with the program and grow with it they will eventually find themselves promoted to the Gracie Combatives class. This is the largest class they feature with participants ranging from early teens to senior citizens. It’s a safe place for how to properly protect oneself.

“There’s no physical sparring in those beginner programs,” Robert said. “The last thing you want is new students that see a technique for the first time and then after being shown a move for five minutes, say, Okay, go do it. That’s very discouraging because we know that one of the hardest things for a new student to try is to walk through those front doors and just come into the building, so we want to make sure that we protect everybody coming in. We want them to feel like this is a safe environment. 

If participants begin to show mastery of the Gracie Combatives techniques there is an avenue to take it a step further. The Master Cycle is the smallest class they offer with only a handful of participants taking their abilities in Jiu Jitsu to a competitive level.

“So once a student completes the Gracie Combatives program, which consists of those 36 self-defense techniques, they move into the master cycle, which covers the other 550-something techniques. So that’s where we still focus on self-defense, but students also learn more of the sportive aspect of jujitsu,” Robert said. “Typically, there’s two sides of jujitsu, you have the self-defense, which is what it originated for, but over the years, just like so many other things that become a sportive side of it, where people wanted to compete and do tournaments and things like that.”

The academy also offers a female-only class called Women Empowered. 

“We also have a women’s only program, which is for ages 13 And up. And it deals with preparing young ladies and women for should they ever get approached by a male that wants to physically harm them,” Penny said. “We didn’t introduce the Women Empowered program until 2019. Yeah, so that came along a little later, but we have found that it’s helped quite a few women and young ladies.”

To find out more about the Gracie Invictus Academy in LaGrange or register for classes check out their website at: