Executive Directors

Master Mike Johnson began training in Taekwondo in 1981 and is now a 7th degree black belt under the Grandmaster’s Taekwondo Association. He has taught the accredited martial arts program at the University of Texas at Arlington since 1986. He teaches Women’s self defense, Co-Ed self defense, and is the advisor and head instructor for the University Martial Arts Association. Master Johnson has competed in tournaments all over the United States and has won over 100 trophies, medals, and 35 Grand Champion trophies. He won the Traditional Karate League Eagle Award as the top black belt men’s competitor six times. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington and has lived in Arlington since 1980. He owns and runs the Texas Black Belt Academy with the help of his wife, Becky, and son, Josh. He is a member of Wyatt Drive Baptist Church in White Settlement.

Master Wade Nelson began training in 1971 at the Texas Karate Institute at the age of 5. In 1973, Master Nelson began training at American Black Belt Academy in Arlington, Texas. He has competed at numerous tournaments as a youth, successfully competing at point fighting and forms competition. As an adult, Master Nelson competed nationally, being ranked as a top ten Texas competitor. Wade competed at the Fort Worth International Taekwondo Championships in 2016 winning Gold in forms competition and took Silver at the Texas State Championships 2016. Master Nelson currently holds rank with the Kukkiwon, United States Taekwondo Grandmasters Society, and the International Martial Arts Federation and recently achieved his 6th Dan in 2016 from Grandmaster Jack Hwang and Grandmaster Dennis Gotcher. Since assuming ownership of the American Black Belt Academy, Master Nelson has continued to promote Taekwondo in the community. He works to showcase the Special Needs students by performing demos at the Special Olympics year after year. Under Master Nelson, the American Black Belt Academy has sponsored several fund raisers and continues to help many families and businesses in the community.

Master David Kestenbaum began training in Taekwondo at age 5 and is now a 5th degree Black Belt certified by the Kukkiwon world headquarters in Seoul, S. Korea, and the United States Taekwondo Grand Masters Society. At 24 he was recognized as one of the youngest Taekwondo Masters in the world. In his more than 20 years of studying Taekwondo, Master Kestenbaum has trained on two continents, and mentored under Grand Master Won Chik Park, Grand Master Roy Kurban, and Grand Master Martin Hall, 5 Masters, and numerous Olympic & National Team athletes. He has competed successfully in National & International competitions in both Karate & Olympic Style Taekwondo, winning multiple Texas State titles as well as U.S. and Canadian championships. In 2002 he was invited to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. With over 500 trophies & medals Master Kestenbaum continues to compete in the Texas Karate League where he has won over 25 Grand Championships in forms and sparring. A graduate of the University of Texas Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, Master Kestenbaum has trained athletes from youth to professional. He has a passion for Taekwondo, fitness, and for helping people reach their greatest potential.

Master William Shelton is a Korean/American born in 1962 in Seoul, South Korea. His passion for the martial arts began at an early age after witnessing his first Bruce Lee movie. He was hooked. While his father was stationed in Germany, began his studies in the art of kung fu but after his instructor transferred he had to search out a new school. He began taking Oh Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do. In 1982 he earned his black belt and currently holds an eighth Dan in Taekwonko and a second Dan in Genjikai Japanese Karate Do. In 1986 he began competing in the Amateur Organization of Karate and has been a regular top ten competitor ever since, capturing numerous national and state titles as the Texas State Champion as a Black Belt, Executive Black Belt and now as a Senior Executive Black Belt. According to him though, his greatest achievements have come from his students that have gone on to capture state and national titles. But his true talent lies in his passion for teaching students to be the very best they can be both in the Dojo and outside the Dojo. He is highly sought after for private lessons and seminars for both technical expertise and for his weapons skills. Grand Master Shelton holds an 8th dan with the American Karate Black Belt Association.

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