has held 12
By Steve Krah
ELKHART -- The numbers are staggering.
Tae Kwon Do Grand Master Steve Travis has promoted more than 11,000 students to various martial arts ranks and promoted more than 500 black belts and 11 masters.
Travis, 46, became a Grand Master when he was promoted from seventh degree black belt to eighth degree black belt by North American Tae Kwon Do Association. A July 29 promotion ceremony was attended by more than 35 black belt instructors, eight masters and 130 spectators at Steve's Gym/Elkhart Martial Arts Academy.
"For me, it's more of a way of life," says Travis. "I've dedicated my life to training and teaching martial arts."
Martial arts became a part of Travis' life in 1970 and he became an instructor in 1976. In 1977, he was the Chung Do Kwan Black Belt of the Year.
He has received sports awards from Presidents Carter and Ford and has held 12 national titles, including 1983 Amateur Athletic Union full-count heavyweight champion and 1990 United States Tae Kwon Do Union gold medalist.
Travis was inducted into the North American Tae Kwon Do Association Black Belt Hall of Fame in 2003.
A member of the Elkhart Police Department since 1990 and a lieutenant since 1996, Travis is licensed by the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in defensive tactics.
Travis offers instruction at both Steve's Gym/Elkhart Martial Arts Academy and the Elkhart YMCA. He is also in charge of Sturgis (Mich.) Tae Kwon Do and has other affiliate schools in Indiana, Michigan and Florida. He has written two martial arts manuals.
A practicing hypnotherapist since 1992, Travis was awarded a Ph.D. in philosophy from Concordia College in the Dominican Republic in 2002.
"We try to make each person a champion of their own weaknesses," says Travis. "Some people are more athletic. Some people are more out of shape.
"We take each and every student as an individual and take which skills they need to develop and make their weaknesses into their strengths. If someone is out of shape then we might work on their physical conditioning. A top-notch athlete might freeze during competition, so we work on their self-confidence."
Elkhart Martial Arts Academy is involved annually with the Labor Day telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
As a way to help young martial artists in the community, the black belts at EMAA have established a fund to offer financial aid to those in need.
Says Travis, "We never turn anyone away."
Contact Steve Krah at (574) 296-5912 or email@example.com.