Sensei Leanne Hensley-Noland
Operating Owner and Sensei
Godan 5th Degree Master Black Belt Karakido Karate
Certified Personal Trainer
Mixed Martial Arts Fighter/Instructor
I first developed an interest in kickboxing when I moved out at the age of 18. I began at a local karate school that specialized in Karakido Karate. I quickly realized that not only did I need the lessons taught, but I also had a passion for them. After about a year of training, I began to compete at a local level. After winning numerous matches, I competed and won in bigger venues. I have been fortunate enough to have had several trainers that positively influenced my life. I have become skilled in Mixed Martial Arts with their guidance, especially Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Judo, Karakido Karate, and Krav Maga.
In April of 2006, my life changed with the birth of my child, Mason. My path of instruction changed. I realized that I had a unique set of skills that made me feel confident as a parent and female and an extreme passion for sharing these skills with other people and children, and with this, I began my passion as an instructor. I believe that EVERYONE has a "Fighter Within" themselves if they challenge themselves to release it. Therefore, FighterWithin was born.
I am a very unorthodox type of trainer, and I thrive on challenging my students to their fullest potential. What I offer is not for the weak of heart but rather for the warrior who strives to build a mind stronger than any muscles formed. I also believe that your body is a work of art, and with proper nutrition and formation, it can perform as a well-built machine, IF you will condition it to do so.
A native of Hendersonville, North Carolina, I graduated from West Henderson High in 1997. After graduation, I attended college and attained certifications and accreditation in Massage Therapy, Early Childhood Development, and Business Management. I work closely with firearms and instruct others to acquire the same passion for safety and proper use. I was awarded my first degree Shodan Black Belt from Grand Master Roger Yarborough in September of 1999 and presently am a third-degree Black Belt (Sandan) with the hopes of receiving my fourth degree in the very near future. In 2021 I received the prestigious award of Leading School and Leading Master Marial artist of the Year through the U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame. My level of training and achievements continues to this day as I believe a true teacher never stops learning.
Kids Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor
Blue Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Shodan 1st Degree Master Black Belt Karakido Karate
I only walked into Fighter Within because one of my boys wanted to break boards with his head, so I signed them up for karate. Soon after I started taking kickboxing class in June 2016. After doing kickboxing for about a year and a half, I figured I would take karate as well. Why not, it looked fun and I was at the dojo already because the kids had class. I took my first karate class November 21st of 2017. It was a special feeling having your children teach you things and help you practice for a promotion test. I never imagined that exactly 5 years later, I would test for, and earn, my black belt. I never planned for martial arts to be a part of my life, let alone become my life, as an adult.
By July 2018, I decided to sign up for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Yet again, I was already there watching the kids and it looked so fun. Jiu jitsu made my brain hurt for quite some time, so many movements to do just one technique. Learning it all never came easy, but I’ve always had a passion for it.
Since starting class in 2018, we saw a growth in our combined adult and kids jiu jitsu class. Seeing the need, we chose to begin offering a separate kids only class. It was then that I chose to take on the role of instructor for that class. I try to keep classes fun and interesting, all while teaching jiu jitsu techniques.
At the dojo you will find me as the Wednesday kickboxing instructor, kids jui-jitsu coach and Karate assistant.