Rudy Smedley promoted a get together of several martial arts pioneers in Ft. Worth, Texas in December. “Texas black belt” awards were presented to several folks who weren’t born here but can be considered honorary Lone Star Karateka. They included Bruce Brutschy, Michael Goldman, Sonny Onoo, and Keith Vitali. Thanks to master Smedley for putting this great event. Below: Richard Jenkins, Rudy Smedley, Bill Watson, J. Pat Burleson, and Richard Morris. Left: Keith Vitali receives his “native Texan” black belt award.
AKBBA Chairman of the High Dan Board, Keith D. Yates, was recently inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum’s Hall of Fame. Unlike so many other “Halls” that induct 200 people at once, the Museum only honors ten individuals each year. The Museum has a physical location in Burbank, CA, that houses many displays and historical artifacts that showcase the rich diversity of the martial arts from around the world. As you can see from this year’s inductees listed below, this is a prestigious honor reserved for those who have truly impacted the martial arts worldwide. Past honorees include other AKBBA and Texas Karate icons Allen Steen, Jhoon Rhee, Linda Denley, and J. Pat Burleson (inducted this year with GM Yates). For more information on the Museum itself go to http://martialartsmuseum.com/
We are pleased to announce that Master William Shelton has been elected by the High-Dan Board to serve as Vice-Chairman of the AKBBA-Chin Sook Hage Kwan. Mr. Shelton is well known to the martial arts community as an international kata champion and a master instructor. His forms performances have earned him a reputation as an outstanding traditional karate and kobudo (weapons) practitioner. Those who have had the fortune to have trained with him can attest to his motivational style and attention to detail. His experience and wisdom will be an asset as he serves in this expanded role.
James B. Toney, 1933–2015
We are saddened to report the passing of Mr. James Toney who served with distinction as our Chairman from 1997 to 2011. He was an original board members of the old Southwest Karate Black Belt Association (the precursor to the AKBBA). He began his karate training in the early 1960s at the Texas Instruments Karate Club (TEXINS), which was one of the flagships for the development of the Allen Steen Texas Karate Institute Empire. He earned his 1st Degree Black Belt in 1968.
He was one of the most respected and admired teachers in Texas karate. Many champion fighters of the “blood and guts” era called Mr. Toney their sensei. Many of his students went on to become instructors or school owners, carrying with them Grandmaster Toney’s lessons and insights passing them down to new generations.
Mr. Toney was forever willing to learn from anyone, at any time. He achieved black belt rankings in Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan, Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan, Okinawan Dai Ni Gojuryu, and Jujitsu. He was named Shihan for North America by the Kokusai Dai Ni Gojuryu Karate Kyokai. Additionally was inducted into the Texas Martial Arts Hall of Fame and was in the Karate Masters Hall of Fame.
His skills, wisdom, and friendship will be missed by not only AKBBA members but by all who knew and loved him.
220 martial artists and supporters turned out at the AKBBA 50th-year celebration banquet at the Hotel Intercontinental in Dallas on September 19. They witnessed karate demonstrations, high-dan rank promotions (Angela Bastiste to 5th, Rodney Greene and Rick Faulkner to 7th), and the Texas Blood and Guts Hall of Fame awards. Our founder, Allen Steen, seemed moved by the heart-felt accolades from some of his original black belts. Earlier in the day, almost a hundred students benefited from seminars by world-renown masters and grandmasters including Dan Anderson, Rick Moneymaker, Roy Kurban, Keith Yates, Roger Greene, John Liles, Steve Doss, Steve Selby and George Clarke. Go to www.roark-photography.com to see and order photos from this special event.
There are a very limited number of “Photo History Books” covering the first fifty years of not just the AKBBA but of Texas Karate. You may find yourself in these pages. Just ten dollars plus shipping and handling. Go to the catalog page to order yours before we run out.
Chairman Keith D. Yates and several other board members promoted five high black belt ranks to candidates testing on December 13, 2014. Aaron Barnett, Ceaser Johnson and Tim Looney received their fifth dan rankings. Caroline Goodspeed was promoted to seventh dan and Kelly Cox received his eighth dan black belt. A very special promotion was made as Mr. Duane Ethington received his tenth degree black belt certificate. Grandmaster Ethington has been in the martial arts for almost five decades and he still teaches weekly at the age of 77. He has demonstrated true warrior spirit over his career and his many students will carry on his legacy. Congratulations to all these outstanding martial artists.
The Masters Hall of Fame was held in Ft. Worth, Texas on June 6th and many AKBBA/CSHK board members and instructor members were inducted. No other martial arts organization had so many members represented. Jamie Cashion (an AKBBA/CSHK member himself) organized and hosted the record setting event. See if you can pick out the AKBBA/CSHK folks above (photo caption in the New Photos Gallery).
On February 8, AKBBA/CSHK Chairman Emeritus was honored with an induction into the Masters Hall of Fame. Over a hundred and fifty people came to acknowledge this martial arts legend and to thank him for the decades of service he has given to not just the AKBBA/CSHK but to the martial arts community across the nation.
Thank you Grandmaster Toney. We appreciate you.
We are saddened to note that Grandmaster Philip Ola, High-Dan Board Member Elect, passed away on December 11, 2013. Mr. Ola was one of the original black belts in Allen Steen’s Texas Karate Institute in the 1960s and went on to teach not only for Mr. Steen but also for Jhoon Rhee in Washington D.C. He trained in other styles and earned dan rank in several other martial arts. The AKBBA and Mr. Steen awarded him a 10th Dan in the summer of 2013. He served in D.C. as a legislative aid to the House of Representatives and as a lobbyist for the steel industry. He earned an MBA from Loyola University and later returned to his native Texas and opened a real estate business in Arlington, TX. The martial arts community is richer because of the influence of Phil Ola.
We are pleased to announce the addition of four pioneers of the martial arts in Texas (and beyond) to the AKBBACSHK High Dan Board. Philip Ola was one of Allen Steen’s original black belts of the early 1960s. He has gone on to train in and earn dan ranking in several other arts. He holds an AKBBA 10th Dan. Jose Santamaria was one of the earliest black belts in MuDukKwan and Taekwondo in Texas. He has operated schools across the state and was promoted to 10th Dan last summer in recognition of his achievements. Phil Wilemon was a champion fighter in the 1960s and is also considered a pioneer of Texas Karate. Dennis Cox was another of the earliest black belts produced by Allen Steen’s TKI schools and is a popular seminar instructor. These outstanding individuals, along with the rest of the HighDan Board, are committed to buldling on the dynamic legacy of the AKBBACSHK.