Julia Ledbetter - Biography

Julia Ledbetter has been a competitive athlete since the age 14 when she began her martial arts career competing in tournament fighting and forms.  She taught her first Karate class at the age of 15 and received her first degree Black Belt in Wado Ryu Karate at the age of 17.    

Black Belt and Karate Illustrated Magazines acknowledged her abilities, rating her the #1 lightweight female fighter and forms competitor in the South and listed in the top 10 female competitors in the Nation.  In 1977, Ned McWherter and The Tennessee State House of Representatives honored Julia for her accomplishments.

In 1989, Julia and husband, Levi Montgomery, created Priority One as a focal means of bringing their two professions together as one for presentation to the public.

1990 saw Julia coaching and competing as a member of a 6 person national Karate team that consisted of 5 of her own nationally rated students. In 1995, as the oldest female member of the USA Kickboxing Team, Julia traveled to Stuttgart Germany where she competed at the World Games winning a gold, silver and bronze medal.  Although she continues to practice privately, she officially retired from competitive Karate the following December.   

Following her retirement from Martial Arts and as rehab for several knee injuries, Julia found another competitive outlet in weight training. She discovered the sport of bodybuilding allowed her to fulfill that need “To Train and Compete” and was much easier on the joints.  At the age of 43, she entered her first amateur body building competition, the Tennessee State Body Building Championships.

She drew cheers from the audience for her physique and showmanship wining 1st place in both her age and weight class.  Julia has continued competing and winning up to and including the 2005 Jr. Nationals, where she placed 7th.  The photos at the top of each page were taken just prior to that competition.   

Julia’s Body Shop, established 2003, is a private studio specializing in health and fitness consultations, self protection and Boot Camp fitness programs. She continues her passion for helping her clientele to lead healthy and fit lifestyles. Her professionalism, knowledge of the human body, heart pounding workouts and contagious personality keeps her schedule full and available training slots in high demand.  


Levi Montgomery is owner and chief instructor at Self Defense Lebanon located inside Julia's Body Shop. His law enforcement career began in 1979, and his postings as an officer have included SWAT, undercover, vice, patrol and training.  With an extensive background in police tactics, weapons use and Martial Arts, his unique methods of controlling aggression have been recognized and implemented throughout the US and abroad by special operation groups such as Team MIKE in Kosovo, H8 (Hostile Area Tactical Escort) Teams in Iraq and special interest groups operating out of the western U.S.. Levi is currently the Defensive Tactics Instructor for Rutherford County Sheriff's Office and a Master tracking trainer, instructing law enforcement and military personnel throughout the United States and Canada in the use of police tactics and Visual/Tactical Man Tracking.