For the Body
Study Brazilian jiu jitsu at Gentle Art Studio in Astoria
BY JESSICA MILITELLO
Gentle Art Studio, the latest new business to
pop up on Astoria Boulevard, offers Lotus
Jiu Jitsu for members of the community
focused on improving their body and mind
with a fun and useful martial art.
The school — located at 28-02 Astoria Blvd. — offers
classes starting from the age of 3 teaching Brazilian Jiu
Jitsu, which focuses on grappling for self-defense, fitness,
and competitions. Their Jan. 18 grand opening welcomed
new and experienced martial artists to train and improve
their lives through the arts teachings.
Kelly Borges, the co-owner and assistant
instructor at the school, stressed the importance
of Gentle Art being a place welcome to everyone
in the area.
“Jiu Jitsu is for everyone and Gentle Arts Studio
is for everyone,” said Borges. “We have kids from
age 3 up to an 80-year-old student in here, and
we really want to impact this community as much as
we can in a positive way.”
Working with Borges is the school’s co-owner
and head instructor, Eduardo Santos. Santos is a
lifelong martial artist who is a 4th degree black belt
and is internationally recognized as an instructor.
He initially moved to Astoria from Brazil in 2006.
In Brazil he was a member of the Lotus Club,
which is a competition team based in Sao Paolo that
was founded in 1989 and has since spread to several
countries around the world. Santos opened up his
first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in a smaller space on
Broadway Avenue in 2015.
When the time came to expand, Santos and
Borges decided it was best to stay in Astoria, a
community that is beloved by both of them. The new
space on Astoria Boulevard is much more expansive
and has two floors with wide windows and is filled
10 FEBRUARY 2020 I LIC COURIER I www.qns.com
Courtesy of Gentle Art Studio
with vividly green plants and a large training floor to
spread the art to even more Astorians.
The school offers classes for small children up to
adults and has offerings for all levels of experience
including fundamentals, advanced classes, as well as
yoga. The art is based on the principles of Brazilian
Jiu Jitsu, which translates to “gentle art.” It involves
grappling and techniques that can be paramount in
a self-defense scenario.
But aside from the physicality of the art, there is
a major emphasis placed on spirituality and becoming
a better person through the art and its teachings as
well as the school being a second home, which is
exactly what Santos and Borges hoped to bring to
the neighborhood with their new location.
“We wanted to make a space where we could
really help everybody to feel better when they walk
in here,” said Borges. “A place where the kids and
the adults are comfortable and everyone is welcome.”