The history of Jiu Jitsu in Buffalo being discussed might sound something a little like this quote, “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.”
Training Jiu Jitsu in Buffalo hasn’t always been as easy as it is today. In fact, while the city of Buffalo current hosts at least 5 different academies/gyms offering Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, not too long ago, there wasn’t any variety to choose from.
It has been talked about since 1967, when the sentence was used by Dmitri Borgmann in his book Beyond Language.
Professor Michael Katilus started training Jiu Jitsu (approximately) in early 2005. Professor Michael is a born and raised Buffalonian, and proud to have started a business in the town where he went to high school Depew, NY). Fun Fact: Lake Effect Martial Arts held its first class in June of 2016. Buffalo Jiu Jitsu had at the time (2005) no real brick and mortar location to choose from (the closest was an mma gym in Lockport which is nearly 30 miles away). Professor Jarod Koopman started a year or two before Professor Michael and he was based in Rochester, NY at the time, training with Kyle Saunders, who was at one point the earliest organic black belt in WNY history. Many of the coaches at Lake Effect Martial Arts started in the mid 2000s and were left learning from at best, a videotape or blue belt at the time. A lot of the training back then was meant to compliment the small yet growing scene of MMA fighters. Now it is easier than ever for Jiu Jitsu to sustain itself on its own, or be independent from MMA fight training. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to share the mats with multiple upper belts. It may very well be possible that for Buffalo Jiu Jitsu all together, Lake Effect Martial Arts houses the largest amount of brown belts in the area, and this can be seen at almost any class you should choose.
While many “old school” Buffalo Jiu Jitsu practitioners may become almost cultish in their origins, it is of distinct importance to note, that there were many small pockets of teams assembling and of which, many talents came out of these small pockets. Its possible to become rather prepared at a lower belt rank training with a friend or two in a garage, basement, or renting mat space at a nearby martial arts academy. The difference in skill becomes more nuanced in some areas and more widespread and obvious in other realms as one progresses through the higher ranks of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
If training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a long term goal, beyond the ranks of a blue belt, we highly recommend joining an academy so that you can improve at a much faster rate, likely faster than those before you.
Many devoted practitioners of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Buffalo have helped pave the way. Some of these practitioners who helped shockingly may still be dormant, retired white belts (a language common to the most devoted and uncommon, almost foreign to a newcomer). Taking risks in a growing scene requires sacrifice beyond the duties of a single person or entity.
How fortunate so many of you have become in starting your Jiu Jitsu journey in Buffalo at an incredibly robust time. While the competition mats for Jiu Jitsu in Buffalo may not always reflect the opportunistic time period, the plethora of class times, academies to choose from and unbelievable variety of instructors to absorb/learn and become educated from has never been stronger.
What we offer better than any Buffalo Jiu Jitsu academy is a deep variety in styles, understanding and a holistic approach to Jiu Jitsu as it can get.
LEMA (Lake Effect Martial Arts) boasts a Professor who began training Jiu Jitsu in 1991 in Brazil, under the legend Professor Roberto Godoi, founder of team G13. Professor Fernando Volpe Mello teaches all Friday 7am classes. Professor Michael Katilus is inarguably the most decorated black belt competitor in Buffalo Jiu Jitsu history, and he teaches all Monday and Wednesday classes at 630pm. Professor Jarod Koopman is easily in the top 3-5 longest running practitioners of the art in not just Buffalo Jiu Jitsu but the Western New York region as a whole, is a decorated defensive tactics instructor, and can be found teaching every Monday and Wednesday at 630am. This is just a starting point of reference for our incredibly diverse, dedicated, active, able bodied and disciplined coaching staff. Our coaches will roll with you, be accessible to you, not compartmentalize any aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for their liking and most importantly, encourage you to be your very best, on and off the mats. Our coaches have paved the way and paid their dues so that learning is easier for you, and we’ve cycled through what does and doesn’t work through long trying periods of trial and error.
We’ve mentioned 3 black belts above currently teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (from self defense, to gi, to no gi, components of wrestling, components of Judo, and not restricted within one particular ruleset) with a combined time of FIFTY FIVE (55) years of devotion to the practice of Jiu Jitsu. When factoring in teaching (teaching is in of itself another art form) we offer well over FOURTY (40) years covering classes, growing the art and being there for students. For our kids classes, we always have at least a brown belt or above teaching our childrens classes, another LEMA exclusive worth noting.
So what are you waiting for? Fill out the free trial week form here, today…. http://lakeeffectbjj.com/trial/
Team Lake Effect Martial Arts and 4 of its most active coaches celebrating Jarod Koopmans promotion to black belt in New York City, and Professor Fabio Clementes school, Checkmat NYC, take on December 1st, 2017. Respect your coaches journey, it makes your journey stronger.