We have been proudly affiliated with Checkmat BJJ for many years. Let us tell you a little more about this long-standing relationship.
In just 13 years since being founded, they have created numerous world champions within their affiliate academies.
Here is what you need to know about Checkmat BJJ, including everything from their founding to their top competitors!
The history of Checkmat BJJ
The story of Checkmat BJJ starts with its founders, Leo, Ricardo (Rico), and Leandro Vieira. When the Vieira brothers began their Jiu Jitsu journey, they were a part of the Jiu Jitsu affiliation Alliance.
Leozinho (Leo), the oldest of the brothers, began training with Alliance founder Romero Calvacanti when he was six years old. This was before Jacare had founded Alliance and was running his academy Academia Strike.
The Vieira brothers leave Alliance BJJ
Unfortunately, tension started rising between the Vieira brothers (along with other Alliance competitors) and Alliance co-founder Fabio Gurgel. The bad blood developed from Gurgel dictating which federations Alliance athletes were allowed to compete in. This led to many of the world champions leaving Alliance, which included the Vieira brothers.
The Vieira bros and Brasa Team
After the fallout with Fabio Gurgel, the Vieira brothers bounced from gym to gym, training wherever they could to prepare for competitions.
A few years after leaving Alliance, the Vieira brothers attempted to create their own academy along with a few others. They would call it the Brasa Team, and enjoyed a few years of competition success. Ultimately, the Vieira brothers would leave Brasa in 2008 over disagreements over leadership and vision for the team.
Checkmat BJJ is formed
After their departure from Brasa, Leo and his brothers would take matters into their own hands. They formed their own team in 2008 and called it Checkmat BJJ.
The Vieira brothers would recruit their good friends Chico Mendes and Sebastian Lalli to help build their academy. Checkmat BJJ went from a small academy of top competitors to a full fledged Jiu Jitsu affiliation almost overnight.
In their first year the team won the adult team championship at the 2008 No-Gi Worlds. They repeated this feat by winning the team championship at the 2009 No-Gi Worlds.
Checkmat BJJ had seemingly come out of nowhere and became a big time player in the world of Jiu Jitsu. Every year since they were founded, the team continued to grow and develop more and more world champions.
Lake Effect Martial Arts shortly after its conception teamed up with Fabio Clemente, one of the pioneers who brought BJJ to the Northeast United States. Team Fabio Clemente originally was with Alliance Jiu Jitsu but after a falling out, decided to become independent (without an affiliation). After a world champion joined Team Fabio Clemente a new affiliation was born called Jiu Jitsu for the People. Lake Effect Martial Arts original affiliation was with Team Fabio Clemente and Jiu Jitsu for the People. Jiu Jitsu for the People was short lived and shortly thereafter, Team Fabio Clemente affiliated with Checkmat. After several good talks with Fabio Clemente and Leo Vieira, Professor Michael Katilus decided that Checkmat Jiu Jitsu and its familial approach to the jiu jitsu community, would be a perfect fit for Team Lake Effect BJJ.
It’s unusual for any team in the WNY region to remain close with an affiliation as long as LEMA has with Checkmat/Team Fabio Clemente. Loyalty is what we seek in friendship and loyalty strengthens our relationship to truth.
When choosing a jiu jitsu academy, find a team that is tightly knit. You’ll find a better sense of community, belonging and a healthier mindset. Seek coaching from coaches who are faithful to their team and students. If you love jiu jitsu, find an academy that is for jiu jitsu and by jiu jitsu. Clubs, teammates ranks and medals come and go, but that lessons you take away from the gentle art are meant to enlighten the student to what’s truly important.
Lake Effect Martial Arts is located at 2106 George Urban Blvd in Depew, New York. Just a quick exit off the 33 expressway will get you into the George Urbandale Plaza. We are between the former DMV and Gabe’s on the other side of the Wegmans Plaza. We’re just minutes away from the Walden Galleria Mall and the even closer to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF).