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Inverted Gear Academy is led by a trio of BJJ black belts with diverse backgrounds and deep knowledge of martial arts and sports coaching. Get to know the instructors:

Meet Nelson Puentes

Nelson Puentes began his journey into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2007. At the suggestion of his close friend Dave, he entered his first tournament only one month after his training began, and he never looked back. Nelson has been a mat rat ever since, and now has the experience of over 100 tournament matches under his belt. Nelson is a multiple time Grapplers Quest and NAGA champion, a bronze medalist at the Pan Americans, as well as a NY Open champion, and Boston Open champion. He currently holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and a brown belt in Judo. He remains an active competitor and devout student of both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He also trains Sambo and is well known for his extensive knowledge of takedowns and leglocks.


Meet Hillary Witt

Hillary started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2005. She has trained with some of the most prominent instructors in the sport. While she lived on the west coast she trained with Saulo and Xande Ribeiro as well as Andre Galvao. Hillary even tried her hand at MMA and spent a year training and teaching BJJ at Alliance MMA – one of the premiere MMA schools in the country.

Hillary is an accomplished competitor in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu having won both gi and no-gi World Championships at Purple Belt. She also has multiple Grapplers Quest titles and is a Judo Nationals champion. She has teaching experience at all age levels and looks forward to sharing her love and knowledge of the Gentle Art with you.


Meet Matt Kirtley

Matt Kirtley discovered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2004 and immediately fell in love it and devoted himself to the art. Now a third degree BJJ black belt, Matt is recognized as a highly technical and knowledgeable instructor with a talent for simplifying complex concepts so anyone can learn them. He has a special passion for teaching beginners and giving them skills that will carry them all the way through black belt. Matt is constantly digging deeper into the latest research on how to learn faster, teach better, and help others reach their fullest potential. His interest in biomechanics and motor learning extends into his certifications in Functional Range Conditioning, a joint care systems that is perfect for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes.


  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, 3rd Degree (Rank verified by Beltchecker.com)
  • Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist
  • Certified in Basic Life Support (CPR) by the American Heart Association

FACT: Nelson and Hillary first trained jiu-jitsu with Matt as an excuse to play Magic: The Gathering together.