CELEBRATION OF KEITH D. YATES'S 50 YEARS AS A BLACK BELT—March 17, 2018, will be the date for our annual AKATO seminars and awards banquet. This year we are celebrating Mr. Yates's five decades as a black belt. Great seminars, special guests, and the 2018 student of the year awards will highlight the day. We'll start with seminars at the Richardson YMCA as usual and this year we'll be back at the Empire Room just outside of downtown Dallas for the special banquet. More details to follow but be sure and mark your calendars now so you don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime celebration.
New Nam Seo Kwan black belts—The September 9th black belt promotion saw three candidates promoted to black belt. Mark Harris, Kevin and Liane Buckley all survived the forms, ones-steps, self-defense, board breaking and multiple sparring to earn their first dan black belts. Congratulations to these three outstanding martial artists. See the picture on the current photo page.
And don't forget the 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.
Promotions, Demos and Awards—March 25 marked the 2017 annual AKATO day of awards and festivities. The day started with examinations for second degree black belt. Impressive specialty demonstrations were shown by Ricardo Ponte, Fadi Khoury, Terry Heronime, and Ken Terrill. In a rare promotional event, Larry Wheeler was presented with a tenth degree black belt and Sam Perez with his eighth degree. Both men have had long and successful martial arts careers. Then Mark Lynn taught an Arnis stick fighting class that was enjoyed by all. Six AKATO teams demonstrated their routines with lots of action and up-tempo music. An awards luncheon was held where the AKATO schools got to give their Student of the Year Awards. Ginny Tyler of Disciples Making Disciples Tae Kwon Do of McKinney was presented the Instructor of the Year by Mr. Yates. See photos at the gallery page.
2017 STUDENTS OF THE YEAR
Katherine Weber–Cooper Karate
Mason Williams–North Texas Karate
Mark Harris–Axe Methodist Church Karate
Ryan Miller–Disciples Making Disciples
Justina Perez–Irma Rangel Karate Club
Eric Watson–Mike Bonstaff’s TKD, Louisiana
Becky White–Marudo Karate
Matthew Block–Cypress Martial Arts, Minnesota
Jerry D. Smith–Iss Hogai
Lauren Cisnero–Hands On Karate
Nick Edwards–Denison Family Karate
Vidyuth Srinivasan–Plano YMCA
Jihane Tahiri–Richardson YMCA
Kylie Downing–Alpha Self Defense
Pinak Parate–Alpha Self Defense
Brandon Lin–American Karate, Los Angeles
"Totally Taekwondo" magazine publisher Stuart Anslow's Tul Tour in Korea 2018
Colin Wee reports that he is planning to go on the Tul Tour to Korea in April 2018. He says if anyone from AKATO is interested in going see more info at:
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.