Tyrus Cox calls out, “90 seconds!” as the thumping of boxing gloves increases, enough to drown out Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” playing in the background. The clock counts down to zero, a siren signaling the end of the workout. Cox walks from person to person, shaking hands and congratulating them on a job well done.

Cox opened Centex Combatives & Fitness in Pflugerville three years ago. For the past two years, the fitness center has operated it its current location near Pecan Street. While his Pflugerville business is still in its early stages, Cox said his passion for martial arts is more than 10 years in the making.

“In my early days of training, what I realized was that it was a good stress relief,” Cox said. “It’s the one part of the day where nothing else matters.”

Cox said he evaluates each individual’s financial capabilities on a case-by-case basis to keep his business an affordable option for people interested in trying martial arts but who do not have the ability to spend hundreds of dollars each month to train.

Centex Combatives, Cox said, is more than a business endeavor. He said it is an opportunity to give back to the community by empowering his clients and giving back through charitable organizations.

Centex Combatives partners with the nonprofit organization Mission 22, which pays for three months’ worth of martial arts training for combat veterans. Centex Combatives also has an internal nonprofit organization, 512 Jiu Jitsu, which provides free jiu-jitsu classes throughout the Greater Austin area to teach people how to protect themselves.

Cox stressed the importance of greeting each person as they come and go from the mat, bowing to them and shaking hands after every session. Martial arts, he said, is about strengthening individuals—both within themselves and their communities.

“The most important person on the mat when you’re training is your partner,” Cox said. “ In judo, we call it jita-kyoei, which means ‘mutual benefit.’ But it’s definitely about establishing a community and making sure everyone feels welcomed and calm.”

Centex Combatives & Fitness

100 12th St., Ste. 108B, Pflugerville | 512-710-6112 | www.centexcombatives.com

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 5-9 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-noon, closed Sun.