Posted June 27, 2016
By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News
Lawrence G. (L.G.) Almeda, an intellectual property attorney and shareholder in the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Gilson & Lione, is the new owner of the Plymouth Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, purchasing it from head instructor Elihu (E.J.) Ledesma.
Almeda's daughter and three sons, ages 7 to 14, are all students at the Academy. After seeing his children take to the martial art and combat sport, Almeda who in his youth was captain of the varsity wrestling team at Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills got involved in 2009, and went on to win a silver medal at the 2014 International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Pan American Championships in California.
"The Plymouth Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy has been a part of my family's life for several years and I see the multiple benefits of preparation, strategy, composure, wit, athleticism and confidence that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brings to my children and to me," said Almeda, who earned his J.D. from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and LL.M from The John Marshall Law School. Chair of the Brinks' Brazil Task Force and Nanotechnology Practice Group, he focuses his practice on patent opinions and prosecution in the medical device, nanotechnology, and clean technology fields.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, for self-defense, sport grappling tournaments (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition, focuses on grappling, with the goal of gaining a dominant position, and uses joint-locks and chokeholds to force an opponent to submit. It promotes the principle that a smaller, weaker person using leverage and proper technique can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant.
"Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu got mainstream attention as an offshoot of the martial arts family in the early 1990's when Royce Gracie, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert, took several titles in the Ultimate Fighting Championships, which were then single elimination martial arts tournaments," said Almeda, who describes the sport as a human chess match, and adds that the discipline helps him in his legal practice.
"It's growing in popularity, as evidenced in part by the increasing number of participants in the Pan Am and World Championship competitions as well as its advantages in anti-bullying efforts."
Located in downtown Plymouth, the Academy is an affiliate of Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu, a world-wide association of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies founded and run by Saulo and Xande Ribeiro, both winners of multiple world titles. Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Association of Plymouth was established in 2010 and serves all ages.
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Published: Mon, Jun 27, 2016
From the August 2016 issue

Local Jiu-Jitsu Dad Talks About the Sport, Benefits for Kids

Canton dad Lawrence 'L.G.' Almeda, new owner of the Plymouth Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, dishes on the sport, its impact on his life and why it's great for kids.

Jessica Schrader • July 25, 2016

Lawrence “L.G.” Almeda knew he wanted his kids to learn two important skills: “How to swim and learn how to defend themselves,” he says. What he didn’t know is that this simple goal would end up changing his life.

Almeda – a Canton father of four and a partner at his law firm in Ann Arbor – is the new owner of the Plymouth Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy. He bought the gym after years of watching his kids take lessons and eventually becoming a student and competitor himself.

“We just grew to love it,” Almeda says. “It’s a human chess match. It’s based on strategy and leverage and not necessarily brute strength.”

The Almeda rule

Almeda discovered the sport while researching martial arts classes for his kids, three boys and a girl now 7-14. They’ve indeed learned to swim and self-defend.

“I think it’s just a requirement to be able to save yourself if you’re on a boat and it tips over and you’re in water – and, likewise, at the very minimum be able to get away from a bad situation and run.”

No-strike zone

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is ideal for kids because it focuses on grappling and gaining the dominant position no matter your size or strength. And there’s no striking.

“It’s very beginner friendly,” Almeda says. “It’s a friendly place. There’s no showboating and there’s no ego.” Kids know other students are their teammates.


Kids gain self-confidence and learn stress management, strategy and teamwork, Almeda says. And these skills can be crucial for bullying situations – especially when kids end up on the ground, which is common during confrontations.

“It allows the child to have the confidence to adequately defend themselves and diffuse the bully,” he says.

Busy days

While life is busy juggling two jobs and parenting four kids, Almeda says the sport has brought his family closer – and his older kids are happy to help at the gym. His house even features a 12-by-17-foot Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training room.

“You can’t miss it if you walk into our front door,” Almeda laughs. “If someone had no idea what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was they’d say, ‘You did what to your piano room?'” But family and friends know the drill. “They understand it’s our passion.”

Plymouth Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy
  • Address: 584 W. Ann Arbor Trail, Plymouth
  • Phone: 734-709-8454
  • Offerings: For kids ages 7-12 (case-by-case basis for under 7), teens and adults; plus private lessons and women-only classes
  • Cost: $75/month kids program, four classes/week (discount for siblings)
The Plymouth Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy is now under new ownership. EJ Ledesma remains as Head Instructor and Academy Advisor. As EJ and family have relocated out of Plymouth, the Academy is now owned and operated by Lawrence G. ("LG") Almeda, a long-time student and friend of EJ. Recently, a local news article was published, reporting on the new ownership, LG's background along with benefits he has experienced from training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The article has been provided below for your convenience.

2014 Master Worlds

Post-training selfies
2014 Pan-American
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