Sensei Laurie McNeilly

Sensei Laurie McNeilly has been training in the martial arts for over 26 years, starting in 1989 when she began learning Cooper-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu at Notre Dame. Since then, she has studied American Kenpo Karate, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Boxing. As well as being a 4th-degree Black Belt in Cooper-Ryu, she is a Chicago Golden Gloves and Ringside Champion in Boxing. You can also see her work as a stuntwoman in many movies including Public Enemies. Most recently, she has started studying Circus Arts and is focusing on the trapeze and aerial silks. Despite a very full schedule, she continues to train in the martial arts.

“It’s part of who I am. I don’t know what else I’d do. It’s just something I love doing and I feel good doing it.”

Sensei McNeilly is passionate about teaching. She says her biggest motivation is seeing students achieve more than they expected.

“You have absolutely nothing to lose in just coming in and trying it. Just come in and do it. You have no idea, when you walk in the door, what you can accomplish.”

When asked why she continues in the martial arts, having achieved such success she replied,

“I love to see someone walking in the door who doesn’t know anything about what we do, or doesn’t think they can do Martial Arts and you get to see that Ah-Ha! moment.”