2019 AKATO STUDENT OF THE YEAR AWARDS
The 2019 AKATO seminars and luncheon on March 30, was a great success. Over 65 participants in the seminars started the day off with Mr. Chris Folmar teaching cane self-defense and kata bunker. Ginny Tyler taught a special anti-bullying class and a popular rotating class was conducted by Ysabel Merhout, Kathy Rhine and Jon Alster. The proud recipients of the Tenent awards and Student of the Year awards were also honored. (see the photo page).
Renbudo Karate: Michael Buret
Disciples Making Disciples: Kimberly Shewmake
Axe Methodist Church: Jan De La Cruz
Hands On Karate: Sammy Avilla
Plano YMCA: Ella McFerrlin
Richardson YMCA (Tues): Devin Reddick
Richardson YMCA (Sat): Felix Lindsy
Richardson YMCA (Little Dragons): Joseph Lawler
North Texas Karate: Jeshua Munoz
Alpha Self Defense Richardson: Ezekiel Palmer
Alpha Self Defense McKinney: Cliff Ritchey
Dension Family Karate: Jack Wells
Bonstaff TKD: Koby Orlando
Cypress MA: Faith Sweeney
Hidden Sword MA: Gabriel Nava
Broadway Karate: Eric Blair
Marudo Karate: Lyman Roark
Courtesy Award: Vidyuth Srinivasan
Integrity Award: Tim Meeks
Indomitable Spirit Award: Kristin York
Instructors of the Year: Kevin and Lianne Buckley
Don't forget our regular BLACK BELT WORKOUTS on the third Saturday of the month at the Richardson YMCA from 12:30 to 2 pm (after the regular Saturday morning class for lower belts). You'll pay a five dollar fee to the YMCA as a donation to their scholarship fund. Each month features a different emphasis and instructor. NORMALLY WE DON'T ANNOUNCE THE GUEST INSTRUCTOR OF THE MONTH BUT IN APRIL IT WILL BE MR. YATES SHOWING THE EXACT KATA CURRICULUM FOR NAM SEO KWAN TAE KWON DO. DON'T MISS IT!
Black Belt Promotions—May 30, 2019. Besides being an exciting day for seminars and awards, the afternoon also saw some rare high dan (black belt) promotions. Mr. Dick Strom presented his long-time student Alan Schrieber with a 6th degree black belt. Mr. Schrieber has maintained his regular training schedule for decades despite being afflicted with macular degeneration. He is an inspiration to all the students at Strom's Black Belt Academy in Seguin, Texas. Mr. Yates presented 5th degree "Master" level promotions to Kathy Rhine and Ysabel Merhout. As outstanding instructors and practitioners both women have mentored student for decades: Mrs. Merhout at the Plano YMCA and at her home dojo, Hands on Karate. and Mrs. Rhine at the Axe Methodist Church Karate Club in Garland, Texas. Congratulations to all these dedicated martial artists. See some photos.
Jhoon Rhee Passes Away—On April 30, grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, 86, the "Father of American Tae Kwon Do" passed away after a long illness. Mr. Rhee introduced the Korean martial arts to the US in 1956. His contributions were almost too many to list. He invented the foam-rubber sparring gear that made tournament competition into a national and international sport. He put martial arts forms to music and changed the face of Kata competition world-wide. He also was called the "Father of TKD in Russia," and traveled to that country numerous times spreading his philosophy and teaching. He introduced Tae Kwon Do to the nation's capital with a chain of schools and taught many politicians and celebrities.
Of course he was the "grandfather" of the AKATO since his first black belt was none other than Allen Steen. Mr. Steen was one of just many who spoke at the memorial services at the McLean (VA) Bible Church on May 8th. Chuck Norris, Linda Lee Cadwell (widow of Bruce Lee), champion Jeff Smith, governor and senator George Allen, grandmaster Rhee's children, Jimmy, Chun and Meeme all delivered stirring testimonials of his life and legacy. Mr. Rhee's influence will be felt in the martial arts world for years to come. See the photo page for images of Mr. Yates's trip to DC for the services.
NEW FORMS BOOK—Mr. Yates's 2018 version of The Complete Book of Tae Kwon Do Forms is here! Containing all the patterns the AKATO uses in its American Tae Kwon Do curriculum (including the three Tang Soo Do forms) as well as history of the art in the United States, this is another must-have textbook for the serious student. On the inside back cover you will find a code to download and unlock the "Basic" version of the smartphone APP which includes the first five forms and applications of some of the movements. You can purchase and download the entire forms curriculum at the Apply or Android stores.
Keith Yates Inducted into Hall of Fame
Although Mr. Yates is in several Halls of Fame, this one is special. The Martial Arts History Museum in Los Angeles only inducts ten individuals every year (not 200 like some of those halls). This year was Pat Burleson: the first national karate champion (and an AKATO advisor), Gina Carano: MMA superstar turned Hollywood actor, George Chung: internationally known kata champion, Donn Draeger: author and historian, Pat Johnson: champion and one of Chuck Norris's first black belts, Pat Morita: Mister Miyagi from the Karate Kid movies, Steven Lopez: the first man to win an Olympic gold medal in taekwondo, Frank Shamrock: MMA legend, Gogen Yamaguchi (the "cat"): famous founder of the goji-kai in Japan, and our own Keith D. Yates, founder of the AKATO.
Mr. Yates traveled to Los Angeles in July to not only visit the MA History Museum but to attend the Dragonfest 2016. Here is who else was in this class of inductees. See more photos from Mr. Yates's California trip on the gallery page.
Check out the new AKATO BLACK BELT FAMILY TREE
Click here for a viewable PDF.