– About Us –
Sensei Weinberg was awarded his 6th Degree Black Belt in 2016 by Grand Master Robert Likes. He has been training for 28 years and teaching Karate for 20 years. He also holds a Black Belt in Kobudo under Master Deb Harris and earned his certification as a sports weaponry instructor from the International Sports Chanbara Association following his training with Shihan Dana Abbott. He has additional seminar training with Grand Master Ron Van Browning, Mike Swain, Tom Callos, Tom Hall, and Dave Kovar among others.
Sensei Weinberg’s unique combination of skills include a Ph.D. in Theatre and 40+ years of teaching Theatre and Communications. With his wife Jenny Wanasek he founded the Center for Applied Theatre which uses theatre techniques to do problem solving and violence prevention work with youth and adults in schools, businesses, and service organizations. His daughter Rachel and son Noah are 3rd Degree Black Belts and have been successful as national competitors and karate instructors in the Madison area, and daughter Arielle is a full-time Instructor at the Academy.
Sensei Weinberg’s accomplishments as an individual competitor include two Diamond National Tournament divisional championships in Sparring, first place in Forms at the Capitol City Classic (Washington, DC), and several Grand Championships in tournaments around the Midwest. Last season he earned trophies in weapons competition at the AA level at Diamond Nationals and the Warrior Classic (Chicago). However, his most important accomplishments can be found in the positive actions, attitudes, and accomplishments of his students.
Mr. Holzman is a 5th Degree Black Belt in Karate with additional ranks in Kobudo (3rd), Escrima (1st), and Tae Kwon Do (1st). He has been training in the martial arts since he was nine years old and earned his first black belt at age 11 in Green Bay. Since that time, Mr. Holzman earned several additional black belts and ranks from Sensei Paul Harris, as well as competed regionally, nationally, and internationally. In October of 2013, and again in 2014, he won first place in Traditional Korean Form at the WKC World Championships. Last year he medaled in weapons as well.
Mr. Holzman graduated from Northland College in 2012 with a degree in science and a teaching certificate. He worked for Northwest Passage, an at-risk youth facility in Frederic, WI. During his time there, he implemented a martial arts program for long-term residents who were exhibiting positive behaviors. Additionally, he created and taught a summer program for a local school, and a fitness class for senior citizens at the local gym. Following his work in treatment and rehab, he worked as a special education teacher in Bayfield High school, and then as a middle school science teacher here in Milwaukee. Throughout all of these transitions, he has been training, teaching, and expanding his knowledge of the martial arts. He has been fortunate enough to train with Sensei Tadashi Yamashita, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, and many other talented and passionate martial artists.
Mr. Holzman now teaches full time at Black Belt Leadership Academy and hopes to share with his students some of the passion and excitement, as well as discipline and work ethic, that has allowed him to pursue his dreams in martial arts.
Mr. Nelson began his karate training at the age of 16 while a sophomore at Milwaukee Lutheran High School, from which he graduated in 2006. He earned his First Degree Black Belt and completed his Assistant Instructor Training Program in 2007. Following that he trained with Shihan Dana Abbott and was certified as a sports weaponry instructor by the International Sports Chanbara Association. Mr. Nelson is now a Third Degree Black Belt and a full instructor at the academy. He earned his Black Belt in the ancient art of Kobudo under Master Deb Harris.
Mr. Nelson focuses on students at the Academy and in local schools, where he teaches in the I Can’t Wait for Wednesday program. He remains an avid competitor who has won divisional sparring championships at the Norse Warrior Open, the Greater Milwaukee Open, and Badger State Games. He has taken first place in forms in several recent tournaments and went to the WKC World Championships in 2015. Mr. Nelson’s disciplined approach and love of martial arts make him an exciting martial arts instructor.
Ari Weber – Instructor / Office Manager
Mrs. Weber earned her Black Belt in Karate in 2008. She certified at level 2 in Krav Maga, the official self defense method of the Israeli army, and holds a Brown Belt in the art of Kobudo. She started her work for the Academy as program director in 2006 and completed her Instructor Training Program in 2008. She is currently the director of the academy’s Little Ninja Program where her understanding of both the martial arts and the needs of young children lead to fun, exciting, and educational classes.
Mr. Beal earned his Third Degree Black Belt in 2017. He is a graduate of Nathan Hale High School, and part of the Masters Team and Instructor Training program. Mr. Beal has been an assistant instructor at the academy since 2012 and is currently training for his 4th Degree Black Belt. Mr. Beal particularly enjoys point sparring and focusing on traditional forms.
Derek Adams – Assistant Instructor
Mr. Adams started his martial arts training at the age of 18 while attending Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. He earned his 1st degree Black Belt in Song Moo Kwan Taekwondo from Nass’s Martial Arts America in 2002. After graduating from college Mr. Adams took a break from martial arts to attend graduate school and start a family. In 2010 he returned to martial arts to study Shotokan karate at Fournier’s Leadership Karate. After two years of training, Mr. Adams and his family moved back to Milwaukee, and he began classes at Black Belt Leadership Academy where he earned his 1st degree Black Belt in June of 2016. He also holds a brown belt in Kobudo at BBLA, and has served as an Assistant Instructor at the school since the fall of 2015. Mr. Adams love of martial arts has spread to the other members of his family as well – his wife, Tammy, and his son, TJ, are both red belts at BBLA and are well on their way to earning Black Belts.
Ada Gerth – Assistant Instructor
Ada Gerth started attending karate classes at the Black Belt Leadership Academy in August, 2009 and earned her 2nd degree Black Belt in 2017. She also holds a Brown Belt in Kobudo, and serves as Assistant Instructor at the Academy. Ms. Gerth is currently part of the Competition Team; she particularly enjoys point sparring and has won divisional championships at the HKA, Southern Wisconsin, and Milwaukee Open tournaments.