Our Team

Meet our staff and crew that make all of our classes possible.

Our Team

Welcome to ATJIUJITSUNYC - Jackson Heights

Martial Arts for Adults and Kids

Through classes focusing on mixed martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Muay Thai, Yoga, and Kickboxing. The goal of AT Jiu-Jitsu NYC is to provide members the opportunity to be able to grow as individuals by gaining a better sense of themselves in both mind and body, all while learning about the sport and self-defense aspects of these martial arts. Members will walk out of at Jiu-Jitsu NYC feeling empowered and confident. AT Jiu-Jitsu NYC will work with members to set personalized goals and prove that these set objections can be reached, despite any existing limitations.

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Our Team

Professor Alvaro Tautiva Owner and Head Instructor

Professor Alvaro Tautiva

Owner and Head Instructor


Professor Alvaro is currently a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a Brown belt in Judo. Professor Alvaro obtained his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on December 2017 from Vitor Shaolin in NYC. Prior to Jiu-jitsu, he has trained and continues to train in Muay Thai, was a certified trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (N.A.S.M.) and obtained an Associate Degree in Speech Pathology through LaGuardia Community College.

An active competitor in the BJJ scene, Professor Alvaro has competed and medaled in several tournaments in the United States, ranging from New York, Boston, Miami, and Las Vegas. In 2015, as a purple belt, Professor Alvaro was runner-up in the IBJJF Masters Worlds championship and soon after took 1st place in the no-gi Pan-Ams championship.

Some current titles include:

  • IBJJF Summer Open 2017: Brown Belt Master 1 Feather Champion
  • Pan Jiu-jitsu No Gi IBJJF Championship 2015: Purple Belt Master 1 Feather Champion
  • World Master Jiu-jitsu IBJJF Championships 2015: Purple Belt Master 1 Second Place
  • New York Summer International IBJJF Open 2015: Purple Master 1 Second Place
  • Big Apple Open 2015: Purple Belt Adult Feather Champion
  • Good Fight 2013 Summer Classic: Purple Belt Adult Light Champion
  • Good Fight 2012 Winter Classic: Blue Adult Feather Gi/No Gi Champion/Open Weight Gi Champ
  • Long Island Pride XVI: Blue Open Weight No-Gi Champion
  • Boston IBJJF International Open 2012: Blue Belt Feather Third Place

Having been raised in Jackson Heights his whole life, Professor Alvaro dreamt about being able to bring Jiu-Jitsu to his community and giving members the opportunity to connect and interact with other members of the community while engaging in classes.

Alex Castro Morning Class Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

Alex Castro

Morning Instructor

Kim-Lien KendallSmarteryoga Instructor/ Kids Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo Assistant Instructor

Kim-Lien Kendall

Smarter Yoga and Kettlebell Instructor

Kim has been teaching yoga classes, one on one sessions, workshops, seminars, retreats and teacher trainings since 2005. She has studied several styles of yoga under many well-known teachers and combined her background in exercise physiology and kinesiology to co-create Smarter Yoga (TM), an individualized movement practice rooted in exercise science without the dogma of traditional yoga practice. She is the CEO of Smarter Bodies and the co-author of “Exposing Yoga Myths”.

Kim has a BS in Biochemistry from Florida State University (2005), is certified by Yoga Union, has completed training and an ongoing education at the Breathing Project, is certified as a Redcord Active instructor and is a MET Master Facilitator. Kim is also an active competitor in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and currently a purple belt. She is known for creating sport-specific mobility programs and has created a program specifically for grapplers that will be taught exclusively at AT Jiu-Jitsu NYC.

Morgan Chen

Morgan Chen

Muay-Thai Instructor

Morgan Chen is the Owner and Head Coach of AstoriaBarbellClub and CrossfitAstoria. Morgan is of Taiwanese descent but was born and raised in Rego Park, Queens. He attended P.S. 139, Russel Sage JHS 190, then went onto Forest Hills High School. Morgan received his first nationally recognized personal training certification when he was 18 at NASM_Fitness. Surprisingly, his favorite hobby is eating. He loves to explore new restaurants and learning new cooking techniques.

Morgan admits to being a diehard NY Knicks and New York Mets fan, and remembers going to Shea Stadium every summer as a kid. Morgan states that he wants to give back to Queens by making personal training and qualified fitness advice affordable for everyone. His vision for Queens is to have complimentary fitness classes in every public NYC Parks(s). Although extremely busy between multiple ventures, Morgan spends his most important time as a dad not a coach.

Rocco Giambrone

Rocco Giambrone

Kickboxing and Kids MMA Instructor

Rocco is a lifelong competitive athlete. Starting with martial arts (Taekwondo) at the age of 7, he has played nearly every organized sport under the sun. Football however, was where he decided to devote his efforts for a majority of his younger years. From pop warner to playing at the collegiate level, he developed the grit, a love for the daily grind and the dedication needed to transition well into the combative sport lifestyle.

Finding martial arts (Brazilian jiu jitsu) again at the age of 27, he quickly embraced the joy it brought back into his life and sought to embark on his Mixed Martial Arts journey. A few short years later, he has made his way onto the prestigious MMA team at the world renown Renzo Gracie Academy in NYC, where he trains daily. He is currently a bjj blue belt and has had several fights in his young career, including an amateur title fight. Rocco is hopeful on turning pro in 2020.

Born and raised in Astoria, Queens, Rocco is a die-hard New Yorker. A big advocate of the phrase “eat, drink and be merry”, he has fused his passion for life and training with his teaching to create a fun and upbeat atmosphere during his classes.

Natalia Vallebuona - Program Director

Natalia V.

Coach and Program Director

Natalia was born and raised in Jackson Heights and as such shares the love for the community. Natalia obtained an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from Queensborough Community College in 2018 and is currently studying to obtain her BS in Criminal Justice. During her free time, you can find Natalia on the mats taking our Kickboxing classes where she has been training for two years.

Natalia has always loved caring for children and was studying to become a teacher for elementary school aged children prior to changing her major. While her major has changed, her dedication to the well-being of children has remained.


Gabriela V.


Gabriela, mainly known as Coach Gaby has been training in Jiu-Jitsu for two years. She is currently a blue belt. Along with Jiu-Jitsu, Gaby also takes kickboxing and is currently studying as a Political Science Major. She is artistic and creative and is now a professional at painting our school’s logo. Gaby can be found assisting Professor Alvaro during the kids classes or at the desk on Thursdays and Fridays. 

Daniela Tautiva M.S.WCo-Owner and Assistant Program Director

Daniela Tautiva M.S.W

Co-Owner and Coach

Daniela obtained her Masters in Social Work from Adelphi University in 2018 and currently works as a Foster Care Case Planner. Having been raised in Jackson Heights and being the daughter of immigrant parents, Daniela works closely with families with the goal of providing permanency and safety of their children.

As Co-Owner and Assistant Program Director of AT Jiu-Jitsu NYC, Daniela has worked closely with Professor Alvaro to ensure that the programs offered at our school are tailored to the needs of every child and adult, with the goal of assisting our members in working to build confidence.

Daniela is a 2nd Degree Brown Belt in Shotokan Karate through Sensei Kai Leung and is currently a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.