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ACCESS OUR SCHEDULE
& EXCLUSIVE WEB SPECIAL

Secure your spot and get started today with our EXCLUSIVE offer!

By opting into the web form above you are providing consent for Lake Effect Martial Arts to send you periodic text messages. Standard rates may apply. You can reply HELP at anytime or learn more. You may opt-out anytime by replying STOP.
Hugo Hur

Dropped in for a No-Gi class while in Buffalo where I’ll be traveling now for work. Facility, staff, and instructors were great. They made me feel welcomed and got some good rounds in. Look forward to coming back next time I’m in town.
-Traveling Brown Belt from Philly

Daniel Ayd

I was in town for work and Michael welcomed me to join any session that worked for my 42 year old white belt self which happened to be a 6:30am intro session on a cold November morning. Gym was very clean, spacious and well appointed with timers, cubbies, seating and changing space. I love their appreciation for foot hygiene! Great location with lots of windows and a big parking lot--super easy to find and convenient to Buffalo. Greg was the instructor for this session and he spent a lot of time with a thorough warm-up and individualized attention during reps. He even got involved in the gauntlet-style positional grappling which I seldom see black belts risk their noses and lips with us white belts! I hope to come back in the future... thanks again for the hospitality!
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David Skorka reviewed Lake Effect Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Great Professor (Mike) and Coach Joao... Very welcoming and glad I was able to make class. My 67th school to train at and it was like I had trained here all the time. Tough rolls and all around good peeps... Not to mention a really nicely laid out facility. Being Born and raised in Buffalo and being home visiting it had that warm Buffalo welcome. Look forward to training here again.

Chris Kwilas

I participated and competed in various martial arts in my life. Everything from Tae Kwon Do, Kempo, and Karate in my younger years and even trained in Muay Thai for two years in my late 20s. I was always a heavier set build and I thought I have experienced what I could out of martial arts regarding weight loss while pushing my body and confidence to the limits. That is, until, I took my first class of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Lake Effect Martial Arts (LEMA).
When I joined the LEMA family, I was the heaviest I been in my life and pushing an obese weight of 290lbs at the height of 6’0. I was extremely intimidated and embarrassed to start training in a martial art once again knowing how heavy I was, let alone a martial art I have absolutely no familiarity! However, due to the amazing culture and leadership of the academy, I felt right as if I was training on the mats there for months. Everyone is extremely helpful, friendly and always willing to assist (Professors and students); does not matter if your tall, short, heavy, skinny, everyone is training together on their jiu-jitsu journey. You’re not alone at LEMA or just “another number” at a gym, and the inviting family-like culture demonstrates the second-to-none leadership from the professors.
In only 5 ½ months I have shed 50lbs and counting! Along with the weight loss, I am the most flexible and mobile I have been in my life and this is including my earlier martial arts years. Jiu-Jitsu is very challenging and will push your mind and body to the limits, but, you’re not on this journey alone.
Regardless of what someone’s goals are: lose weight, get in better shape, compete or learn self-defense with arguably the most efficient martial arts in the world, there is no other place to train other than Lake Effect. I am grateful for taking the leap into the world of Jiu-Jitsu and looking forward to conquering more goals with the Lake Effect team!

Chris Wopperer reviewed Lake Effect Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Joining this gym was like joining a family. Very welcoming! Professors and coaches are true professional. Can't wait to continue my journey with this team.

Mike Wags reviewed Lake Effect Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Absolutely the best martial arts school i have ever had a privelage to visit. Excellent family atmosphere, top of the line instructors and an amazing student base. Everyone was extremely helpful and took time to explain how the techniques worked. I highly recommend this school no mat bullies no spazes just a nurturing environment to bring out the absolute best in oneself. I cannot stress enough the amount of time and care the professors take with their students. For anyone thinking about training there really is no better academy in western New York.

Brittni Szprygada reviewed Lake Effect Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Lake Effect Martial Arts is the best place in WNY if you are interested in: learning or training jiu jitsu, learning self-defense techniques, trying to get your kid into a positive hobby/sport (or "bully-proofing"), or if you're looking to improve your MMA game strategies. This state of the art gym is a bright, clean facility unlike others in the area. The coaches have trained and competed jiu jitsu all over the world. They take the gentle art seriously, they are each very dedicated to learning and improving their skills, and teaching the most cutting edge techniques to their students. These guys are patient, articulate, professional and encouraging as coaches - they want to help people to be their best on and off the mats. Check them out!

Michael Jones reviewed Lake Effect Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I’ve dropped in a few places and the first half an hour of class is always awkward. You don’t know anyone, you don’t know where the lockers are etc. This is the most welcoming place you can find. There are just good guys there. They shake your hand, they like and want to help to white belts- great place to spend your time, can't wait to come back.

Minhaz Siddiqui reviewed Lake Effect Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Awesome place to train, great environment with supportive teammates that makes the academy feel like an extension of your family.

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Our latest news & thoughts

Sink or Swim, Fight or Flight

I was a lifeguard on Lake Erie for seven years and witnessed many rescues.  People of all walks of life needed to be saved not only because they didn’t know how to swim, but because they didn’t know how to control their fear.

I remember numerous occasions where I had to save people in panic, and believe me, the word panic is an understatement.  They were in so much fear that they would grab on to anything that would save them from going under, including me.  In this scenario there are two people in danger of drowning.

Imagine their surprise when I repeatedly pushed them away and simply asked them to stand up.  Many times the water would only be a few inches above their waist!

Regardless of the situation, panic is the enemy of survival.  As the father of three, I took much care in ensuring my kids know how to swim at a proficient level.  Their ability to survive in water, including rough current and rip tides, isn’t because they are great swimmers.  It is because they don’t panic once conditions change.

I’ve trained in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) for over a decade.  BJJ is a very difficult martial art, requiring you to successfully perform technique against a fully resisting opponent who is often much larger and stronger than you.   There is often a feeling of suffocation and panic can ensue, just like drowning.

About a month ago a new student started training with us.  Michelle is an outgoing, young professional.  She came to us because she wanted to get in shape but didn’t want the monotony of a gym.  After class, she would quickly say her goodbyes and leave.   I never could get a feel for her level of enjoyment or disdain for BJJ.  After 2-3 weeks of regular attendance, I asked her how she was doing.  She replied “Much better”.   I asked her “Much better than what?”

She explained to me she experienced such panic during her first few classes that she had to leave immediately after class ended.  Often her sense of panic would be so extreme that she would be dry heaving in her car all the way home.  You can’t run away from someone who has you pinned down on the ground, especially if they are bigger, stronger and or trained to keep you there.  To get up and run, you need to fight your way out.  Michelle would lie there almost motionless out of fear.  This is a common response for many victims of assault.

What changed for Michelle?  In its true form BJJ is what psychologists call a form of Exposure Therapy.  According to the American Psychological Association the definition of Exposure Therapy:

“Exposure Therapy is a psychological treatment that was developed to help people confront their fears. When people are fearful of something, they tend to avoid the feared objects, activities or situations. Although this avoidance might help reduce feelings of fear in the short term, over the long term it can make the fear become even worse. In such situations, a psychologist might recommend a program of exposure therapy in order to help break the pattern of avoidance and fear. In this form of therapy, psychologists create a safe environment in which to “expose” individuals to the things they fear and avoid. The exposure to the feared objects, activities or situations in a safe environment helps reduce fear and decrease avoidance.

Exposure Therapy has been scientifically demonstrated to be a helpful treatment or treatment component for a range of problems, including Panic Disorder.”

While Michelle still finds BJJ difficult, she now has the ability to calm herself, breathe and think while trapped on the ground.  A good BJJ school teaches students to access their situation and self-regulate their emotions.  Michelle is getting in shape and practicing survival skills in a fun, safe setting.

We wouldn’t think of letting our children’s fear of water keep them from learning how to swim.  It’s almost impossible to go through life and avoid all bodies of water.  Why take the same chance with a possible physical altercation?  If you train yourself to be calm, your chance of survival is much greater – whether drowning in water, or in assault.

Lake Effect Martial Arts has two locations, one in Depew serving the north towns and one in Hamburg, covering the south towns.  Come check us out.

 

About the Author:

Cole Racho is an old Brown Belt

He likes his family, coffee and dogs