Sensei James Leonelli has been training at Tiger Schulmann's Mixed Martial Arts for more than half of his life. He has been teaching at TSMMA for over a decade now and is one of only 50 hand-picked head instructors chosen by Master Tiger Schulmann himself. Born and raised right here in Suffolk County, Leonelli credits his main driving force in to becoming an instructor as his deep love of the martial arts and his desire to change lives. As a Dean's List graduate of Dowling College, Sensei Leonelli has the discipline necessary to achieve great levels of success, a skill he strives to pass on to each one of his students.
Being a member of Team Tiger Schulmann's fight team, he has competed in various forms of martial arts including kickboxing at the Warrior's Cup and grappling at NAGA events. As an experienced instructor, Leonelli has taught students of all ages, coming from all walks of life. His work with the Autism and ADD/ADHD community was featured on a national CBS news story, highlighting the success he has had in reaching students who need his help the most.
For Sensei Leonelli, instructing at TSMMA is much more than teaching people how to punch and kick. What he loves the most about teaching the martial arts is motivating his students to achieve their goals and watching them transform into better, stronger, people in front of his very eyes. He finds the utmost satisfaction in knowing that he has made each student he teaches a competitor for all of life's challenges, just like his instructor did for him. His instruction has given countless children the discipline they need to excel at school, the confidence to stand up for themselves, and the self-defense skills they need to be able to adequately defend themselves. His instruction has also allowed his students to get into the best shape of their lives. His classes are motivating and fun, and his knowledge of what it takes to stay in peak physical condition is unparalleled.