Philip Ola Passes Away

ola.mugWe 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.

New Board Members Announced

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.

Historic Promotions to 10th Dan


Fred Simon receives his specially designed 10th dan belt from AKBBA Chairman Keith D. Yates


Phil Ola is congratulated by Allen Steen.


Joe Alvarado puts on his 10th dan ceremonial belt after a presentation from Roy Kuban.

Thehighest rank in karate, the tenth degree black belt, is understandably rare. So it is a historic event indeed when four individuals are promoted to his level. Jose Santamaria, Philip Ola, Fred Simon and Joe Alvarado received this honor on June 14th at the AKBBA ceremony in Mesquite, Texas. All are Texas legends having trained and received their black belts during the “blood and guts” 1960s. GM Santamaria has taught in Killen, Austin and Dallas and was one of the early promoters of karate competitions. Phil Ola, earned his black belt from Allen Steen at the Texas Karate Institute and went on to teach for many years with Jhoon Rhee in Washington D.C. Mr. Simon was GM Rhee’s first African American black belt. Joe Alvarado was a pioneer of karate in the Austin area and has trained law enforcement personnel for years. Congratulations to these highly skilled martial artists. IF YOU WANT TO BE CONSIDERED FOR NEXT YEARS PROMOTIONS you must be a member of the AKBBA for at least a year before you can be considered. Go to the APPLY tab above to apply for membership.

AKBBA Chairman Cover Story

OK.annual13.coverAKBBA/CSHK High-Dan Board Chairman graces the cover of the new Official Karate Magazine 2013 Annual. You’ll want to read this article about one of the pioneers of the martial arts not only in Texas, but in the nation. We are proud that GM Yates has received this recognition. You can view the issue at or you can purchase a copy at the upcoming AKBBA/CSHK promotional ceremonies on June 14. Maybe you can get him to even sign it for you!

Membership Requirements Simplified

The High Dan Board recently voted to simplify the membership requirements. There will be two main levels of AKBBA/CSHK memberships: Student and Black Belt. Students will only be able to join under the auspices of a Black Belt. In addition we have an Affiliate Instructor Membership which is open to candidates who hold a third dan or higher and who own or are head instructor at a martial arts school. Click on over to the “Apply” tab at the top of this page for more information. We are making membership in this historic association even easier.

Dan Anderson to 9th Dan

Below: Steve Selby, Richard Jenkins, Dan Anderson, Keith Yates. Mr Anderson with Ishmael Robles, and with Linda Denley.

Dan Anderson was promoted to 9th Degree Black Belt before of panel of several AKBBA High-Dan Board Members in Houston in October of 2012. Grandmaster Anderson is on everyone’s list of the most successful karate fighters ever. He won over 70 championships in his competitive career. He was one of the very first to call his system “American Freestyle Karate,” authoring a book by that name in the early 1970s. He is also a master of modern Arnis. He teaches at his own school in Oregon.

2012 Promotions

June 22, 2012
Congratulations to some of our Texas Karate legends on their promotions: Phil Wilemon to 8th Dan, Joe Gillum to 7th Dan, and Dwayne (Rooster) Machen to 7th Dan, Eric Loveless to 6th Dan, David Vines to 6th Dan, Carl Whitaker to 6th Dan. See more photos at the gallery pages. Two very special promotions were also presented by AKBBA founder Allen R. Steen; Grandmaster Richard Jenkins to 10th Dan and Grandmaster Charles Bouton to 10th Dan. In addition, Grandmaster Linda Denley was inducted into the Karate Masters Martial Art Hall of Fame by Grandmaster Keith D. Yates who serves not only as our AKBBA High Dan Board Chairman but is also the Vice Chairman of the KMHOF. It was an exciting evening for everyone.

Gearing up for Summer Promotions

As we have done for the last two years, the AKBBA/CSHK will be conducting a higher-degree black belt promotion ceremony on Friday, June 22, the evening before the big United States Karate Championships at the Mesquite, Texas convention center and Hampton Inn. By now all applicants for promotion have gotten in their paperwork to Association headquarters and are hard at work on their presentations. Most of the High-Dan Board of the AKBBA/CSHK will be present as will several special guests including Texas karate legends Allen R. Steen and J. Pat Burleson. Mark your calendar now so you can attend this once-a-year event and don’t forget to be ready to compete at the U.S. Championships on June 23.

Honoring Our Retirees

After our High-Dan Board Meeting on January 21, hundreds gathered at Steve Selby’s Dallas Martial Arts Academy to honor our retiring HDB members, James Toney (Chairman), Royce Young (Vice Chairman), Richard Jenkins and Tim Vought. Three of the original founders of the association were present to add their thanks. Allen Steen, Pat Burleson and Ed Daniel joined the current High-Dan Board in the activities. Chairman Keith Yates and Executive Director Charles Bouton presented plaques to the honorees and several members of the crowd shared their memories of the four gentlemen. In additional GM Yates made “Karate Master Hall of Fame” induction presentations to Mr.s Young, Vought and Jenkins (Mr. Toney was previously inducted). Of course plaques and paper certificates cannot adequately express our appreciation to these outstanding martial artists who have served so diligently for so many years on the board of the AKBBA. Go to the gallery page to see photos of this historic event in the life of the American Karate Black Belt Association/Chin Sook Hage Kwan.