A beginner sees a “roll” differently

“Good Things Take Time; What Comes Easy Goes Away Easily”


So you stopped in to see a class and saw a bunch of people “rolling”. What is a roll? What exactly did you see?

The langugage of Jiu Jitsu takes passion and practice.


Its certainly easy to fall out of love with Jiu Jitsu for a variety of reasons: the schedule never perfectly fits your busy schedule, the bumps, bruises and injuries along the way lead you and others to think you’re crazy, its not entirely cheap and well, to see noteworthy progress is difficult at times.

Two veteran practitioners of the art in a “roll” exchange moves, positions and essentially, a language, removing the verbal component most often associated with the word language, and replacing it through a defensive art form that resembles a sophsiticated body language.


A good roll is a cathartic experience, producing a series of receptors in the brain that can become rather addictive in its sensation. Roll well and it feels as if all the major neurotransmitters in the brain related to movement are thanking you, and providing clarity of the moment that a fast life often struggles to identify. The Wolf in Pulp Fiction once famously said ” I think fast, I talk fast, and I need you two guys to act fast if you want to get out of this”.  Coincidentally this famous quote is sampled at the beginning of a well known Jiu Jitsu podcast. So if you’re a beginner, this is what you may be seeing (fast exchanges), (not fully understanding its intricacies), and it may seem weird, or too intense, at times.

Talking to veterans of the art…This degree of intensity (within rolling) varies greatly. The ridiculous notion of “if you go hard” you belong and if you don’t, you don’t, is cultish. It has no place in the art and its incredibly wide array of offerings. Consider each person’s purpose for starting the art and how many have changed that purpose along the way. Each one of us without seeing it clearly loves the autonomy our different individual journeys provide.


The varying degrees of rolling and its importance is better measured by this very simple exercise…..The next time you line up in class….Instead of peaking at everyone elses belt, rank and striping…..Only focus on yours. Each belt, each student, is on a different journey. Your journey is scripted by you and your Professor (all varying degrees). Worrying about someone elses rank is a waste of energy. What does rolling intensely teach us? When NOT to waste energy is a start.

In martial arts, whenever you can, practice humility. For when you look at the world you see way less of it then you imagine you see. Curiosity can always help you fall back in love with something you may be beginning to feel out of place with. Curiosity within jiu jitsu can be positional studies, re-building an area you’ve developed a deficency in, strengthening an area you want to master (studying) or examining a fellow training partners strength. All of these informational choices are also alternatives to rolling. Treating Jiu Jitsu as if its the killing fields is a fleeting approach that will blow up in your face when your body no longer can handle the vigorousness of your efforts.

What makes Jiu Jitsu so unique is the physical chess parallel. We can always improve. Theres no one specific way of going about it.

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Sparring, What is it? Elements of MMA

Sparring: What is it?

Sparring is a common word and practice among martial artists or fighters (particularly for MMA), but to an outsider it might just look like fighting. So what is it? Is it fighting? Isn’t that dangerous? Why do it? 


Buffalo, New York is no stranger to fighting and the culture that surrounds it, although it wasn’t until 2016 that we finally allowed Mixed Martial Arts fights to be held here after a 20 year ban. We have had some great boxers and MMA fighters come from the area. 


Still there are those that don’t know what sparring is, and many who see a martial art like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or the other two aforementioned sports as just fighting. We hear it all the time from friends and family that don’t practice, “Why do you do that? What’s the point of fighting?” etc, etc, etc.


Sparring by definition refers directly to boxing, “make the motions of boxing without landing heavy blows, as a form of training.”


Key phrase right there, is that it is a form of training. So yes, it is, in a way, fighting. However it is more of a simulation of sorts that mitigates and reduces the risk of injury, while still helping a practitioner develop the skills they need, and conditioning necessary to engage in a real fight.


So why do we do it?


In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, we end almost every class with “rolling”, our word for sparring. The founders of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu realized it wasn’t simply enough to practice techniques, you also needed to be able to apply them in real, live context.


Rolling is a great way to take the techniques you learned, and piece them together into the whole system, while learning to defend yourself from very real threats. One of the benefits of Bjj is that since there is no striking, such as in boxing or MMA, it is much easier to keep someone from getting hurt.


Applying an arm lock, or choke stops when the opponent gives up, or “taps” out, typically before any permanent damage is done. This is one of the reasons many believe Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to be one of the most effective and practical forms of self defense, due to the ability to train it at near 100% intensity, while keeping yourself healthy. It prepares its practitioners better for a real life situation.


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Sparring is nothing to be afraid of, especially at an academy like Lake Effect Martial Arts where all the students learn to practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with control and mindfulness, not just of themselves but of their training partner as well.


Excel in an area of Mixed Martial Arts before embracing the entity of Mixed Martial Arts.

For more on the subject of sparring or “rolling”……https://www.jiujitsutimes.com/3-bad-rolling-habits/


Author: Tom J Brady

Being the very best version of yourself

Its easy to get mixed up in the popularity of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world. Most of the attention is drawn towards the best competitors ( lets call this medal chasing), the most aestheically pleasing academies and the well off, traveled practitioners who have truly become the “lifestyle”. A common desire is for a practitioner to fall in love with the pursuit of competition success. While competition certainly has its valuable takeaways, lets dive further into the short-sightedness of that medal equals ultimate value directive.
Jiu-Jitsu is gaining a ton of unexpected momentum from popular figures such as Jocko Willink and Joe Rogan.  A repeated host on both podcasts has been Dr. Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, who has received quite a bit of praise over his best-selling book 12 Rules to Life An Antidote to Chaos has influenced a deeper meaning in my life and daily practices. Recently seeing him at a lecture, Dr. Peterson asked the question, “Who could you be”? With the eye opening response, “You Could Be the thing that transcends suffering and malevolence”. You could through the focus of self improvement, which ultimately is what Jiu Jitsu aims to provide, transcend areas of your life that needed repair (by transcend think fix, deal and move forward). Carl Yung, a famous psychiatrist said while studying Psychology and Alchemy, ” In Sterquilinus Invenitor” which means (loosely) what you want most will be found where you least want to look. So applying this to Jiu Jitsu and the topic in the first paragraph, perhaps the medal is the short sighted approach falling to the more triumphant quest of exactly what you could be. Could you be the one that leads and influences others in a positive manner? Could you be the one who spreads the art beyond simply your interpretation of it? Could you be the one who learns from your mistakes, corrects those errors and reaches new levels most cannot?

“Medal Chasing” needs to be addressed for a variety of reasons, which would take an entire day of reading to be broken down accordingly. With the medal chasing pursuit you will at times (but not always) see additional short sighted approaches to poorly aimed goals, such as drug use (illegal, performance enhancing to be clear). Consider how consciousnessly damaging steriod use may be and how likely you will walk away from a martial art without a better understanding of yourself if you are chemically altering your body/mind. It is of my personal belief (which may or may not carry much weight but should be discussed) that God has given us everything we need to succeed and in God’s plan comes balance and understanding. Consider this….You pursued Jiu Jitsu at the highest level but reached your goals through a process even you ethically compromised with. Instead of asking yourself “Who could you be” maybe you see yourself as what you couldn’t. That is not a position you should ever want to live in.

Petersons lecture the other night had an interesting subplot about directing aim and hunting. Dr. Peterson said that everyone wanted to experience a hunt with a successful hunter as he provides more than just the kill (meat). The hunter provides an experience and a success to others that many can benefit from in the future. If you’re a real hunter, that is what you aim for (shared opportunity). Imagine hunting with someone who devours their meal immediately upon a successful adventure, never wipes their hands clean from the mess and only references their hunts while others starve (sounds like a fun person to be around huh!?)

Carl Yungs ultimate aim was wholeness. What character traits have strengthened through your practice of Jiu Jitsu? Maybe calling them character traits isn’t helping well enough with your aim. Lets refer to them as virtues. What virtues (tying together an earlier post about Bushido Code) have you benefitted from?  Rectitude,Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Honesty, Honor, or Loyalty? Maybe a more Western sense will help you more in understanding virtue. Humility, Kindness, Temperance, Chasity, Patience, Charity, or Dilligence. (For me, Dilligence has been the biggest takeaway that I learned through the art thus far).

If your pursuit in the art has too many negative components attached to it, you’ll find yourself too close with: Pride, Envy, Wrath, or Greed. None of these sins will transcend you. Avoid them at all costs. And most importantly, remember that the hardest battle each day on the mats is not with someone else who may beat you, or an opponent who may have your number, but against yourself. You are always fighting yourself, and its a fight that with time, maturity and wisdom, you must win.

Throw that medal chasing language in the trash where it belongs. Don’t cheat yourself out of the lessons you may not be able to see or notice at the time, because if you’re present and aligned you’ll tie them together at points in life where it matters most.


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Grappling 101: Jiu Jitsu isn’t just Jiu Jitsu

Grappling 101: Ground Fighting and Submission Oriented Arts in Buffalo, NY

Our aim and primary sense of pride is within the realm of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This does not mean however that our grappling pursuits are restricted to one creed or ruleset. Our coaching staff have rich histories in a variety of grappling based arts aside from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Our Academy truly is a melting pot of various art forms all designed to optimize performance in Jiu Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, submission wrestling, and beyond (we have students who have transferred successfully their mat skills to football fields, baseball diamonds for example). To name just a few other grappling arts our coaches and student body have backgrounds in would be next to impossible, but Sambo, Catch, Wrestling and Judo are easy to note.
Not only has our student body expanded their grappling prowess but they have competed, studied at length and coach the various additional grappling art forms listed above.

Our extensive community has people from all over the Western New York area. It may seem at first glance that we are primarily pulling from the Buffalo and surrounding suburban area (Depew, Lancaster, Cheektowaga, West Seneca, Amherst). Upon further examination you’ll find our community has students traveling from Niagara Falls, Lockport, Holland, Clarence, Fredonia, Rochester, and beyond. Truly devoted grapplers knowing their practice is worth everything they’ve hoped for.

So next time someone tells you we’re just a Jiu Jitsu Academy that primarily does Gi Jiu Jitsu and competition Jiu Jitsu, first come see for yourself. Then kindly remind your friends that Lake Effect Martial Arts is where the best Grapplers in Western New York come to train.

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American Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison cross trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Many judokas are finding out that training BJJ amongst the variety of other grappling arts gives them not only a competitive edge, but a leg up on the competition. The newaza (ground fighting) time addition has helped propel many American Judo athletes to higher than ever levels of success.