Our Instructors and Staff

Ninja Pinto

Jiu Jitsu, Capoeira, Ninja Bootcamp, Kids Jiu Jitsu, Kids Capoeira

From São Paulo Brazil, Luis Felipe Ninja Pinto "Ninja", moved to the USA pursuing his dream to teach martial arts. Ninja believes that thru martial arts and physical activity in general, students improve their self awareness, they become mentally and physically stronger and much more self-confident. Ninja has been teaching since 2000 and has great experience with kids and competition training. 

Morena Pinto

Women Jiu Jitsu, BootCamp and Capoeira

From Minas Gerais-Brazil, Morena is a mother of three, a business owner, a dancer and a martial Artist.

She is the head coach of our Women Jiu Jitsu program with great experience as a competitor. Morena is an instructor in Capoeira and she runs our Bootcamp program.

Be ready to have fun and be challenged in her classes. No one is left behind and she is amazing with team cohesion. 

Morena has taught seminars all over the US, Japan, Saint Martin, Mexico and Brazil, we are sure you will have a lot to learn from her.  

Heath “Val” Chitwood

Jiu Jitsu

From Olathe, KS I moved back to the area in 2013 after first spending 6 years with the United States Marine Corps and then 10 years as an overseas contractor with the government.  I fell in love with jiu jitsu while traveling in Thailand in early 2013.  Through this journey, I have trained only under Ninja Pinto here at the Brazil Academy.  As an avid competitor, I have competed at Master Worlds, American Nationals, and numerous other tournaments on a national and local level. I have won Master World twice.  Once as a blue belt in 2015 and again as a purple belt in 2017.  

Christian Hidalgo

No Gi Jiu Jitsu

I was born in New Jersey, into a family and social circles obsessed with martial arts!  Growing up with Judo, Boxing, Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, and other traditional martial arts, I learned to appreciate the value in earning competency in various martial arts as applications toward sport competition, self-defense, and personal development. After moving to Kansas, I met Ninja after a few years of inactivity from combat sports, and began training Capoeira in 2002, and soon traveling for both sport and performance. In 2007, Ninja started offering Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes at Brazil Academy and flying in world-class competitors and instructors, and I quickly found myself obsessed with grappling sports again!  In 2014, I began teaching self-defense seminars; and in 2015, began teaching BJJ classes and coaching students at tournaments, as well as refereeing at tournaments held by various organizations.  I love experiencing the subtleties of higher-level technical application and helping others to also gain their own appreciation for the art and achievements. 

Taylor "TK" Kelly

Monday Wednesday BJJ Fundamentals

Born and raised in Lenexa KS, my journey with martial arts started in 2008 at the University of Kansas where I spent 4 years training Tae Kwon Do. After learning about the effectiveness of Jiu Jitsu, I began searching for a gym so that I could learn grappling and become more well rounded. My search brought me to Brazil Academy in 2011 and I have been training here ever since. I have competed around the country and in Brazil in IBJJF tournaments and also found success competing in local tournaments. When I first joined the academy, I also continued my striking training with Muay Thai and have competed in a few tournaments and amateur bouts. I am always eager to share knowledge about whether it is about striking or grappling. Being a part of this family has allowed me many opportunities to learn, grow, and experience new things in life. I look forward to seeing you on the mats! OSS!

Joe Wood

Tai Chi

I fell in love with martial arts as a child the first time I saw Chuck Norris wielding deadly punches and kicks to deliver much needed justice.

When I was six years old my dad began teaching me some simple boxing drills, but my formal training didn’t begin until I started karate when I was 10. That was in 1992.

Since then, I have studied chinese kenpo and tai chi chuan. I have been teaching martial arts & self-defense since 2010 and I am passionate about helping people meet their fitness goals, become healthier, and learn how to defend themselves.

Paul Sooksengdao

Muay Thai

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6-8am and 12-8pm


6-8am and 11am-8pm







11441 Strang Line Rd
Lenexa, KS 66215

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