Steve’s Gym | Elkhart Martial Arts

Steve’s Gym | Elkhart Martial Arts is the premier martial arts academy in the Elkhart area.  We have over 100 years of combined martial arts knowledge and experience.  We offer classes in Mixed Martial Arts, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, and many more fitness style classes.  The gym is named after Grandmaster Steve Travis.

Among the many schools that teach Martial Arts and Self-Defense, we strive to be the most professional. All of our Black Belts are certified and experienced in teaching men, women, and children from beginner to advanced levels. It is our goal to bring out the best in you, therefore making you the best that you can be. We know that if you participate in a training program under Grandmaster Travis’ philosophy, you will soon develop skills that you never thought were possible. You can start improving yourself today by signing up at one of our locations.

Grandmaster Steve Travis | Owner

In 1970 Grandmaster Steve Travis started training in the martial arts, an unrelenting pursuit of bettering himself,  with much integrity and tenacity he started his career in the martial arts – in 1973 he started competing in tournaments.  Grandmaster Travis has won over one hundred and fifty-five trophies in competition.  He stopped competing in 1997 and concentrated on his martial arts academy:  Steve’s Gym | Elkhart Martial Arts.  Travis has won state titles in Michigan and Indiana through USTU and AAU tournaments.  Grandmaster Travis has nine national titles as well from various different organizations in the martial arts world.

Grandmaster Steve Travis also is a highly decorated police officer that served twenty-one years and eight months on the Elkhart Police Department.  He retired as a Lieutenant.  As part of his law enforcement background intermixing with his martial arts background, Travis has trained over a thousand members of the military and law enforcements agencies.

Grandmaster Travis has promoted: fourteen people to the level of Master Instructor or higher, 11000 people in different ranks in Tae Kwon Do, 3 different Olympic hopefuls, 200 National Champions, and so many more.

Grandmaster Steve Travis has been training skills for a lifetime, not just teaching to teach.  His passion drives him to push his students to be the absolute best and gives them truth that they can succeed, but they have to work for it.

Instructor Profile

Grandmaster Travis has been involved in the training of all the black belts in the NATKDA and also in the Elkhart Charter School for Chun Moo Hapikdo USA. The following, highlights some of the outstanding Black Belts that Grandmaster Travis has had the honor of training and promoting.

John Salomon 7th Degree Black Belt Tae Kwon Do, 4th Degree Hapkido

Senior Master Salomon is a Viet Nam Vet. He started in the martial arts in 1981. For all 33 years he has trained under Grandmaster Travis, and has been dedicated and loyal to the teaching of Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan. He founded the Penn Club for Tae Kwon Do. He has 4 generations in his family practicing Tae Kwon Do, counting himself and down to his Great Grand kids. He has been awarded Black Belt of the Year, and is also in the NATKDA Hall of Fame. He is a member the Executive Board, and was instrumental in the founding of the Pilsung Foundation Scholarship Fund. He has also been involved in the training of State and National Champions, along with self defense classes involving law enforcement and the general public. He is still a practitioner and instructor in both Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido, well into his 60’s, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

Ted Wilmore, 6th Dan Tae Kwon Do, 4th Dan Hapkido, 3rd Dan Shorin Ryu Karate

Ted Wilmore has been training in the martial arts since 1977. He is certified by the Kukkiwon, in Tae Kwon Do, and he also holds black belts in 2 other martial arts.

In the 80’s, he competed in tournaments all over the country, both Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing and Open tournaments. He collected numerous trophies for sparring, kickboxing, forms competitions, and weapon forms. He is a world class weapons competitor, with trophies to show for it.

From 1990 to 1996, he was the chief instructor at the Notre Dame University Tae Kwon Do Team. He trained many Notre Dame students to their black belt, who have since gone on to other parts of the country and the world.

He is still actively training as an instructor and student, at Steve’s Gym / Elkhart Martial Arts. He focuses on new students, higher level students, and black belts in their training methods to improve their skills as martial arts practitioners. One of his level of expertise is finding martial arts techniques inside of forms. He will tell you that all movements in forms have multiple meanings, and that they are a valid part of martial arts training.

He is constantly seeking to improve his martial arts through seminars and the several 100 martial arts videos in his collection.

He has proven himself over and over again, just like the other black belts that have been highlighted, for loyalty and dedication to the philosophy of Grand Master Travis’ vision of the martial arts.

Grand Master Travis says that Senior Master Wilmore is a true modern day warrior.


Rich Smith II, 4th Dan Tae Kwon Do, 1st Dan Hapkido

Rich Smith II started his martial arts training in 1987, at the age of 12 years old. He received his 1st degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do on November 4, 1989. He is currently a 4th degree in Tae Kwon Do, and a 1st degree in Hapkido. He is still actively training and instructing in both Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan, and also in Chun Moo Hapkido USA, at Elkhart Martial Arts. He has attended many seminars over the years, expanding his knowledge of the martial arts. He is scheduled to test for his 5th degree in Tae Kwon Do in 2015, as well as 2nd degree in Hapkido.

Mr Smith has won gold medals in USTU State tournaments, as well as gold medals in AAU State tournaments. He also coached the NATKDA team at Junior Olympics.
He has participated in close to 50 demonstrations.

All of his accomplishments might not have happened for someone with less drive and determination.
At the age of 13, while a blue belt, he lost his newspaper route. With out the money from his route, he decided to use his school lunch money to pay for his martial arts classes. Mr Smith said that he got very hungry for several months. He came to ask Grandmaster Travis if he could do work around the gym to pay for his classes. Grandmaster Travis said he didn’t need any one for that, but he has never turned away a student, who had the burning desire to continue his training, just because of a financial situation. In fact, Grandmaster Travis said that Mr Smith was actually the inspiration of the Pilsung Foundation, a non-profit organization, designed to help those in need.

Mr Smith swept, mopped, took out the trash, and cleaned the toilets. Grandmaster Travis said cleaning the toilets was Mr Smith least favorite task, but he never complained.

Grandmaster Travis says he is very proud of Mr Smith and his ability to overcome the obstacles that confront him. Mr Smith has used the lessons he has learned in the martial arts, including self confidence and discipline, in other areas of his life. He worked his way up from a cook at Hacienda, to General Manager of the restaurant in Plymouth, Indiana.

Mr Smith is a great example of someone that doesn’t look for reasons to quit or make excuses, but overcomes obstacles in true Chung Do Kwan manner.

Kristy Travis 4th Dan Tae Kwon Do, 1st Dan Hapkido

Kristy Travis, is a Master Instructor 4th Dan with the NATKDA, 1st Dan in World Tae Kwon Do Federation Kukkiwon, 1st Dan in Hapkido with the Chun Moo Hapkido USA. She received her 1st degree in 1999, and is currently training to test for her 5th Dan. She also was certified in Pressure Point Control Tactics.
During her testing for black belt, she was asked if she had had an easier time in training because she is Grandmaster Travis’ wife. She responded, “No. If anything, I had to work harder to prove myself”.
She Instructed tae kwon do at the Elkhart Martial Arts Academy, also holding classes in self-defense. She was an Instructor at the YMCA, for both adults and children. She has over 1500 instructing hours.
Mrs Travis holds many AAU State and National Titles, as well as USTU State Championships (See below for all dates), and also ATF National champion in Olympic sparring, Point sparring and forms.
She believes in hard training and in being disciplined. She once had been training for months getting ready for national competition and while sparring in practice, broke her foot. She did not let that stop her from going on and competing at the National Championship. Through her discipline, she endured the pain to win a national gold medal.
Black Belt of the Year twice, Coach of the Year 6 times, Mrs Travis is a board member for the Pilsung Foundation, which is a scholarship fund for underprivileged adults and children. She is also an Executive Board Member of the North American Tae Kwon do Association.
She has performed in and directed many martial arts demonstrations throughout the years for various events.
She is involved in the community and has been a volunteer with Muscular Dystrophy Association since 1989, when her son Dominick was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. A proud momemt for her was when Dominick earned his 8th Gup and later his 7th Gup in Tae Kwon Do, during the MDA Telethon. Her daughter Brittany has also been diagnosed with this disease , for which there is no cure yet. Mrs Travis says that this is an important Cause to fight for.
She also had developed and taught the women’s self defense courses for the SOS program through Church Community Services for women who are survivors of domestic violence and were learning new life skills to support themselves.
Kristy is also a licensed attorney in Nevada. She also does Pro Bono work as a CAP attorney for Legal Aid of Southern Nevada who advocate for children in the Foster care system.
She has also worked with Las Vegas Metro Police Department in the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center.
Among all of these accomplishments she is always helping others, acting as counselor or mediator. She is also a avid animal lover.
Through out all her years she has shown dedication and loyalty to the North American Tae Kwon Do Association and the students placed under her supervision.
Grandmaster Travis says that he is very proud of her and all her accomplishments. He says Mrs Travis is his gold medal.

Bruce Andresen, 4th Dan Tae Kwon Do, 2nd Dan Hapkido

Bruce Andresen has been practicing the martial arts since 1962, when he was 8 years old. His parents put him, his brother, and his sister in Judo at the Elkhart YMCA, after he was bullied by some 6th graders. Money was tight in their home, and his father pulled them out of Judo after he thought they knew enough to defend themselves. Those Judo lessons instilled a love for the martial arts that continues to this day. Mr Andresen has practiced 9 different martial arts, looking for one that met his needs. He saw some good instructors and bad instructors in that time.
When Mr Salomon open the Penn Club at Queen of Peace, Mr Andresen’s son Eric decided that he wanted learn Tae Kwon Do. After awhile, Eric convinced his father to practice with him, in 1994. While practicing, Mr Andresen realized that he had finally found the martial art he was looking for. In 1996, the Penn Club merged with Elkhart Martial Arts. Mr Andresen continues to train and instruct at Elkhart Martial Arts to this day.

Mr Andresen received his 1st degree black belt, in Tae Kwon Do, on May 31, 1997. When he was asked why he was training in the martial arts, he said one of the main reasons was to have options. He strongly believes in the Code of the Masters: “I will avoid rather than block, block rather than strike, strike rather than maim, and maim rather than kill because all life is precious and none can be replaced”.

Mr Andresen has attended over 50 N.A.T.K.D.A. instructor seminars. He has participated in a workshop seminar with Bill “Super foot” Wallace. He has attended seminars on Jeet Kune Do, Stick Fighting, Hapkido, Jiujitsu, Jujitsu, Falling Ways, Self Defense Instructing, and Cane Techniques. He also was certified in Pressure Point Control Tactics. His favorite weapon is the cane.
In addition, Mr Andresen is a certified Official and Coach with AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) and USAT (USA Tae Kwon Do). He has refereed, officiated, judged, and coached at the local, state, and national level, since 1999. He has attended many Official Certification Clinics at both State and Nationals. He has also hosted Official Clinics at Elkhart Martial Arts.

Mr Andresen has also competed at the local, state, and national levels, winning many Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals.

Mr Andresen is the editor of the NATKDA Instructor Manual, and 1st Training Manual. He was also the editor of the NATKDA Newsletter. He is involved in running the NATKDA website.

He has been chosen twice as NATKDA Black Belt of the Year. He was inducted into the NATKDA Black Belt Hall of Fame in 2014.

Mr Andresen is very involved in the community; MDA, Relay For Life, Pay it Forward, Santa’s Pantry, YMCA, Elkhart Youth and Community Center, and the Pilsung Foundation. Mr Andresen serves on the board for the Pilsung Foundation, which helps provide the means for those in need to be able to practice the martial arts. He is also an Executive Board Member of the North American Tae Kwon do Association.

Mr Andresen is known for his ability to teach all ages, from 3 to 80. He has a particular gift working with kids. He has even been given the nickname, “The Kid Whisperer”.

In 2004, Mr Andresen moved to Florida for 4 years. He started the first of his Tae Kwon Do Outreach Ministries through a church in Florida. In 2008, he moved back to Elkhart, Indiana to become the manager for Steve’s Gym / Elkhart Martial Arts. He has also been instrumental in starting Out Reach Programs at Northside Baptist, Grace Bible, and Trinity Lutheran.

Through his many accomplishments, Mr Andresen has placed a high priority on the needs of the students, placed under his supervision.

Grand Master Travis says Mr. Andresen’s philosophy isn’t just to train and instruct in the martial arts, for him it is a way of life.

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