J. Pat Burleson, one of the founding members of the AKBBA, passed on October 31, 2021. GM Burleson was a mainstay of American Karate not only in Ft. Worth, Texas where he developed a chain of schools, but across the country and around the world. He won the first National Karate Championships put on by Jhoon Rhee in Washington D.C. in 1964. Beginning his martial training in Japan while in the Navy in 1959 he returned to Texas and, along with Allen Steen, established the Lone Star State as the home of “Blood and Guts” Karate. His students became champions and renowned teachers and hundreds of them gathered at his memorial services on November 3rd to pay their respects to one of the pioneers of American martial arts.

Grandmaster Jack Erickson

Grandmaster Jack Erickson was laid to rest on October 1st, 2020. He was one of Allen Steen’s original black belts as well as being an original board member of the AKBBA. Mr. E, as he was known, was a Bronze Star recipient earned by his bravery in World War II. He and his wife Marian founded the Dragon School of Taekwondo. AKBBA Chairman Keith D. Yates performed the memorial service. Mr. E was 94.

AKBBA Vice Chairman Roy Kurban, Chairman Keith Yates, Original Board Member Jack Erickson (RIP), and Chairman Emeritus James Toney.

New Advisory Board


Bill Wallace, Jeff Smith and Dan Anderson have agreed to join our Advisory Board. They, along with our founders Allen Steen and Skipper Mullins will help our governing High-Dan Board take the AKBBA/CSHK to greater levels of influence in the martial arts community.

Jhoon Rhee, Rest in Peace, 4.30.18

Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, the acknowledged “father of taekwondo in America”, passed away on April 30, 2018. He was 86.

Mr. Rhee was, of course, the instructor of Allen Steen (at right in the photo above, along with Keith D. Yates, AKBBA High-Dan Chairman). He introduced taekwondo to the US when he arrived in Texas in 1956. His first black belt on American soil was grandmaster Steen who signed up for lessons after an impressive demonstration by Rhee at the University of Texas.

An Rhee was impressive indeed. He could jump in the air and throw three powerful side kicks before hitting the ground. Even in his later years he continued to demonstrate his famous 100 pushups in one minute. Perhaps even more impressive were his contributions to the martial arts community in America and around the world.

He invented the foam sparring gear used in all competitions today. He originated what he called “classical ballet,” performing martial arts forms to music. His many seminars and books on his philosophy affected tens of thousands of students and instructors. When he left Texas for Washington DC, he set up a chain of schools and began to teach celebrities and politicians including Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Muhammad Ali, Tony Robbins, Newt Gingrich, and Joe Biden. His hundreds of black belts included champions like Mr. Steen, Pat Burleson, and Jeff Smith.

Of course, without Jhoon Rhee, the American Karate Black Belt Association would not exist. The legacy of this great man and martial artist will be carried on by not just taekwondo stylists but by all martial artists worldwide.

High Dan Presentations

Above: Keith D. Yates, High Dan Board Chairman, Rudy Smedley (promoted to 10th dan), Dan Anderson (to 10th dan), board member Roy D. Kurban, Steve Selby (to 9th dan), and Raymond McCallum (to 10th dan) at the AKBBA High Dan promotions held on May 13, 2017. AKBBA founder Allen Steen presided over the ceremony held at Lone Star Taekwondo Academy in Pantego, Texas. Congratulations to these well-deserving martial arts icons and pioneers.

High Dan Promotions in May

May 13, 2017: Raymond McCallum, Dan Anderson and Rudy Smedley are to be promoted to 10th dan, along with Steve Selby to 9th degree black belt at this rare ceremony. Allen Steen will head up the promotions board. Open to the public but space is limited. Come join in this celebration of four of the most accomplished martial artists in the nation.

Grandmaster Tim Vought

Tim Vought, High-Dan Board member emeritus, passed away on March 18, 2017. Mr. Vought was a Dallas Police Officer for 20 years as well as a respected martial arts practitioner and instructor. He was an original black belt of Ed Daniel and fought successfully on the Texas Blood and Guts tournament circuit for years. He was also an accomplished Aikido instructor and self-defense tactics teacher in recent years a special interest in instructing senior citizens. His service to the AKBBACSHK and to the entire martial arts world will be missed.