Everything you wanted to know about NWIMAA Karate

(but were afraid to ask)


Hello and Welcome to Northwest Indiana Martial Arts Academy!

Program Basics

My name is Master Adam Theros.  I am the owner and chief instructor here at NWIMAA.  I want to personally thank you for taking this opportunity to explore the wonders of Martial Arts training!  Here are Northwest Indiana Martial Arts Academy, our goal is to build Black Belt Champions.

When I’m talking about building a Black Belt Champion, I’m not talking about the fabric around someone’s waist.  I’m talking about building Champions for LifeWe do this in three key areas:

  • Focus – We build a student’s laser like focus that they need to accomplish tasks throughout life
  • Discipline – We build the self discipline a student will need to accomplish those tasks
  • Confidence – We build confidence not only in one’s self but confidence to lead others

We have a Three Pillar approach to building our Black Belt Champions:

  • Tang Soo Do – This is our core pillar.  We are part of the World Tang Soo Do Association, one of the premier martial arts programs in the world.  We have over 180,000 members in over 36 different countries with over 800 studios and over 300 master instructors. I bring this up not to brag, but so you understand that the material we use in class is material that has been developed with the backing of a premier organization, not something we made up in our back yard
  • Powerful Words– We partnered with Dr. Robyn Silverman, who has one of the leading character development programs in the world.  Every month we have a word of the month that we discuss with all of our students.  There are bonus homework assignments students can do as well!
  • Bully Expert – We are the only school in Northwest Indiana licensed to teach this Bully Expert program.  We teach students how to use their words and body langue to deflect a bully’s attack and how to prevent an attack from occurring.  We teach students a pre-set series of verbal defenses they can use defeat a bully without escalating the situation. 




  • For most beginning students, we recommend attending classes 2-3 times per week.  2-3 times per week is really the minimum that is needed to make progress in the curriculum and to achieve the desired personal growth.
  • More does not always mean better.  More than 2-3 times for new students can become overwhelming.  Many new students need time to process what they are learning
  • Beware of burnout.  Sometimes a new student is super gung ho and will attend classes 6 days a week.  That seems fun and exciting until the student becomes burnt out after a few weeks and doesn’t want to attend anymore.  Martial Arts is a long journey.  It is not a sprint.


  • Our current class schedule can be found here
  • We are super flexible.  You are allowed to attend whatever classes during the week fit your schedule and your rank.  You can vary your schedule on a weekly basis.  During our limited re-opening time you have to register ahead of time (you can do that on our members page).  Once these restrictions are lifted, then scheduling your class will no longer be required.
  • Regular routine leads to success.  Most students do better if they have a routine training schedule.  We will be as flexible as we need to be for you, but your success will be much higher if you know that Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are your training days.  We definitely recommend trying to find a regular training pattern.
  • At home training review can definitely help.  Don’t do full 45 minute training sessions at home.  Even just 5-15 minutes on non class days are enough to reinforce ideas and concepts.
  • Be a good finder! It’s easy to find faults in our student’s progress.  Remember that Martial Arts training is a journey.  Find the good in your student’s training and remind them of it on a regular basis.



We have three groups of students – Champion Squires, Junior Knights and Gup Students

The ages for each rank group are intended as guides.  Students will move from rank group to rank group based on skills and performance

Champion Squires – 4-6 Years Old

Champion Squires Rank Requirements:

  • Increase time spent focused in class
  • Know your left from your right
  • Understanding of reciprocating limbs
  • Demonstrate 3 basic stances
  • Demonstrate 3 basic kicks
  • Perform the first 8 moves of the form

Key Champion Squires Milestones

White Belt Expectations

Do your best


White/Brown Belt Expectations

Be able to perform 3 of the 6 champion squire rank requirements


Yellow/White Belt Expectations

Be able to perform all 6 of the champion squire rank requirements


Junior Knights – 7-10 Years Old

Junior Knight Rank Requirements:

  • Stay continuously focused in class
  • Consistently demonstrate reciprocating limbs
  • Work well with a partner
  • Properly demonstrate turns in marching and forms
  • Show 3 different stances in forms and marching
  • Perform learned techniques with limited coaching
  • Perform all 20 moves of the form correctly

White Belt Expectations

Do your best


Yellow/Green Belt Expectations

Be able to perform 3 of the 7 junior knights rank requirements


Yellow Belt Expectations

Be able to perform all 7 of the junior knights rank requirements


Gup Students – 11+ Years Old

Gup is a Korean term that means “colored belt ranks”

Gup students are broken down into three groups – Beginner, Intermediate and Black Belt

Beginner Students
Students progress through these ranks via Graduation (see below)
Half orange/half green requirements: demonstrate all Beginner Material

Intermediate Students
Students progress through these ranks via Testing (see below)
Students learn 10 forms and 60 one steps during these ranks

Black Belt Students
Half Black/Half Blue is our internal Black Belt Test
Black Belt testing happens twice per year at a Region 5 level.  These tests are not conducted at the studio


Rank Progression

Students earn ranks two different ways – Graduation and Testing


  • All Champion Squires and Junior Knight ranks are earned at Graduation
  • Gup ranks through half orange/half green are earned at Graduation
  • Graduations happen every 2 months on Saturday
  • Graduation Saturday consists of students going through a 30 minute demonstration of skills, receiving their new belt and rank certificate, and a board break. This is a great picture opportunity!
  • If a student misses Graduation Saturday, we can always do an in-class graduation
  • The rank a student will earn at Graduation is determined before hand by the instructors by observing student performance in class
  • Champion Squires and Junior Knights are expected to complete 10 Acts of Kindness and 10 Acts of Discipline before Graduation
  • Champion Squires and Junior Knights require a minimum of 8 classes between graduations
  • Students move through the ranks at a pace that makes sense for their long term success


  • Testing begins when moving from half orange/half green to full green
  • The student must complete a minimum of 24 classes between each testing cycle
  • The student must complete an Intent to Test form
    • This form will indicate the material the student will demonstrate during testing
  • Each student who wishes to test will be evaluated before the test
    • Students must pass the evaluation before being allowed to test
  • Testing opportunities happen every 2 months on the same Saturday as Graduation


  • NWIMAA runs a rotating curriculum.  This means that we change our material every 2 months.
  • There are 6 rotations that happen each year for beginner curriculum
  • Drills are changed routinely to keep classes fresh and entertaining for all students
  • This rotation structure allows beginning and experienced students to train together