high dan board members

The High Dan Board is made up of distinguished leaders of the martial arts who hold an 8th Dan or higher. They set standards for membership and rank certifications. The HDB serves as the legal Board of Directors of the Corporation. They are listed alphabetically (with the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Executive Director listed first).

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

John Liles, 9th Dan, Executive Director

John Liles

As the Head Instructor and President Premier Martial Arts – Lubbock, Grand Master Liles inherently believes that each student who walks through his door is someone whom he is meant to impact in a positive way. He also has the unique ability to personally connect with each individual (parent and student alike) while maintaining the Instructor/Student relationship. His sense of humor and smile create a fun, family atmosphere for learning.




  • 43 years training in Martial Arts
  • 9th Dan Black Belt Okinawan Dai Ni Gojuryu Karate (Grand Master)
  • 9th Dan Black Belt Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan (Grand Master)
  • 5th Dan Black Belt Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan
  • 2nd Dan Black Belt Kobudo
  • 1st Dan Black Belt Batto Jutsu
  • Board of advisors for Premier Martial Arts International
  • Executive Director of the American Karate Black Belt Association
  • Association President of the American Dai Ni-Goju Ryu Association
  • Placed in more than 100 regional, state and national tournaments
  • 2016 and 2017 awarded Premier Martial Arts Entrepreneur Award
  • 2018 awarded Premier Martial Arts Dedication Award
  • 8 times Premier Martial Arts Diamond Club
  • 6 times Premier Martial Arts Excellence Award
  • 5 Times American Black Belt Association School of the year
  • 3 Times American Black Belt Association Instructor of the year
Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Linda Denley, 10th Dan, Chairwoman

One of 12 children, Linda Denley was born in Houston. A natural athlete, she participated and excelled in many sports as a teenager. She began martial arts in 1973 in Tang Soo Do with Robert Torres in order to enhance her performance in other sports. Within two years she had earned black belt and was winning tournaments. While still in high school, Denley qualified for the Olympics in five track and field events, but was declared ineligible due to her professional winnings on the karate circuit. In 1979 she gave up an offer to play semi-pro basketball for the Houston Angels because of her burgeoning karate career.

Known across the nation as the “Texas Terror,” Denley’s aggressive, hard-hitting style made her the most feared competitor in the woman’s divisions. She was rated number-one from 1973 to 1996. At one point she went nine years without losing a match. Denley won the Battle of Atlanta 11 times, The Diamond Nationals three times, The U.S. Open nine times, The Long Beach Internationals four times and the U.S. Capital Classic nine times. Denley was “Competitor of the year” by several Hall of Fame organizations including Mars Hall of Fame (1988), NASKA Hall of Fame (1994) and the Diamond National Hall of Fame (1989). She was the first female to be inducted into the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame (1980) and was the PKL and Kick Illustrated “Competitor of the Year” in 1982.

She runs her own school, the Texas Black Belt Academy in Houston. Ms. Denley gives seminars around the country and promotes her annual Space City Open Karate Championships in Houston. Each year her alma mater, Jefferson Davis High School, has a Linda Denley Day in honor of her achievements.  

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Philip WIlemon, 10th Dan, Vice-Chairman

Phil Wilemon started his training under Phil Ola at the Texas Karate Institute in Arlington, TX. He has a long history of tournament success starting with winning Allen Steen’s United States Karate Championships as a blue belt. As a brown belt he either won or was disqualified in every tournament. As his longtime instructor, Larry Caster, would say, “two out of three aren’t bad.”

In 1973 Mr. Wilemon was voted the Rookie Black Belt of the Year at the Heart of Texas Championships. He won 13 tournaments in a row as a middle weight black belt. He was on the winning team at the Battle of Atlanta, along with David Archer, James Stevens, Dennis Gocher, and Demetrius Havanas. He was also on the US Karate Team with D.P. Hill, Ishmael Robles, Demetrius Havanas, and Raymond McCallum that won three years in a row.

He was a founding officer for the Texas Amateur Contact-Karate Association with Larry Caster, Roy Kurban, Demetrius Havanas, and D.K. Price. Mr. Wilemon severed as a Southwest representative for the Professional Karate Association and referred or coordinated over a hundred full-contact karate matches. He is still in constant demand as an instructor and seminar leader.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Charles G. Bouton, 10th Dan

Charles Bouton began his training in a style that eventually became known as Dai Ni Gojuryu, but at the time called “Tode.” In addition to the Gojuryu system, which he heads as president of its international association, he trained in judo, aikido, jujitsu, batto-jutsu, iaido, aiki-jujitsu, and two styles of tae kwon do.

Bouton associated with Allen Steen’s group in the 1960s. Although he was younger than many of the students of the day, two of Steen’s instructors, Richard Jenkins and James Toney took him under their wing. He trained under other pioneers such as Pat Burleson, Skipper Mullins, Royce Young, and Art Heller.

He had wins in such tournaments as the US Karate Championships, the Central North American Karate Championships, Jack Hwang’s All American Tae Kwon Do Open, and held a World Lightheavy Weight Full Contact Karate/Kickboxing title, undefeated, for three years. For years he taught in Steen’s Lubbock school, while continuing to practice and teach the Dai Ni Gojuryu System. Bouton earned advanced ranking in both Kihara Aikido and Judo under Tim Joe.

After Steen sold the school, Bouton, along with Andy White opened their own school, known as the American Ni-Goju Karate Association. Mr. Bouton, also known as “Father Photius Bouton,” is an Ordained Greek Orthodox Priest. This vocation became more demandingly, and he sold the Lubbock Karate School to his senior student, John Liles, and relocated to his Parish responsibilities in Amarillo, and later, El Paso, Texas. He served as High Dan Board Chairman from 1981–1997 and as Executive Director from 1981–2018.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017


Noted champion and instructor Bruce Brutschy has amassed many honors over his decades long martial arts career including induction into the South Carolina Black Belt Hall of Fame and special commendations from the South Carolina Senate for his contributions to the state. He began his training with Art Waltman and with Allen Steen black belts Art Heller and Charles Armstrong. He is also a certified personal fitness trainer and incorporates a fitness regimen into all his instruction. Bruce received his AKBBA 10th Dan promotion in a ceremony along with other well-known grandmasters including Keith Vitali, Mike Genova, Troy Dorsey and Linda Denley in 2019.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Jose Santamaria, 10th Dan

One of the earliest black belts in MuDukKwan and Taekwondo in Texas Mr. Santamaria has operated schools across the state and one of the first promoters of sport karate and professional kickboxing in the country. Mr. Santamaria teaches at Santamaria’s Karate and Kickboxing in Wylie, Texas. He and was promoted to 10th Dan in 2013 in recognition of his achievements and contributions to the martial arts in Texas and beyond.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Steve Selby, 9th Dan

Steve Selby inherited his love for the martial arts from his father, Prentiss Selby, an ex-navy lieutenant commander and collegiate boxing champion. At age three Steve got his first boxing gloves. But it wasn’t until his teens that he discovered Allen Steen’s Texas Karate Institute. He began his training in 1974 as a 14-year-old under the late Ronnie Cox.

Mr. Selby earned his Black Belt from Allen Steen in 1978, and was a stable mate of U.S. Champion, Tim Kirby, and both were dynamic competitors in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Following Ronnie Cox’s unfortunate death, Selby continued his training with kickboxing pioneer, Demetrius “Greek” Havanas, and world champion, Raymond McCallum. However, his lifelong goal of becoming a world champion, in his own right, was shattered in 1981 when he sustained a near fatal basal skull fracture. Despite doctors’ poor prognosis for recovery, Selby rehabilitated himself to regain most all his previous abilities.

He founded the Dallas Karate Academy in North Dallas in 1986, which has grown into one of the nation’s finest martial arts academies. The school’s unique concept incorporates serious training in kickboxing and Jiu Jitsu in a professional environment. His system includes formal training in Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan, Modern Arnis, Small-circle Jiu Jitsu, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Selby, also, offers Kickbox Aerobics, a program that he developed along with long-time friend, Steven Doss. 

He has trained with jujitsu great Wally Jay, as well as other top jujitsu instructors. Always considering himself a student, Selby continues to learn by promoting training camps with the world’s greatest instructors, such as Remy Presas, and Rorian and Royce Gracie. The camps attract martial artists to Dallas from as far away as Australia, Germany and India. Mr. Selby focuses on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by training regularly with world champion, Carlos Machado, and Filipino Modern Arnis as a personal student under Remy Presas. His era marks the beginning of the “second generation” of the Texas “rough and tough” karate style and he maintains the same high standards in his own school. 

Selby joined the High Dan Board as its Tournament Director in 1996. He holds additional Dan rankings in Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan, Okinawan Dai Ni-Gojuryu, and Filipino Modern Arnis.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

William Shelton, 9th Dan

William Shelton was Born in Seoul, South Korea and also holds a 2nd Dan in Genjikai Japanese Karate-do. He began competing in the Amateur Organization of Karate in 1986 and has won many State Championships in kata and weapons as a Black Belt, Executive Black Belt and Senior Executive and continues to compete in the Texas Karate League and various other tournament circuits. He has won over 100 kata Grand Championships and hopes to continue competing as long as he can. He is a tournament producer in the Texas Karate League hosting the annual “Champions Cup.” Through his continued quest for knowledge in the arts, and his accomplishments he has appeared on television shows and TV commercials where he was able to display his martial arts talent, but his true talent lies in his passion for teaching students to be the very best they can be both in and outside the dojo.  

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Robert Smith, 9th Dan

Robert Smith was born September 28, 1958 in Heidelberg, Germany (an Army brat), and began his martial arts training in 1974 at age 16. He was promoted black belt in 1982 by the American Karate Association. His first style is Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan. Mr. Smith, also, holds a 6th dan in Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan. He taught at the local American Karate Association school from 1982–1988, when he opened his school, Tiger’s Den Martial Arts in Bryan/College Station, Texas.

Smith is a police officer in Bryan/College Station, Texas, and also serves as Minister of his church. He is active in his community with the training and assistance for at-risk juveniles. He has studied under numerous instructors, including: Terry Lee Bryan, of the American Karate Association and Phillip Plumber, of the American Modified Karate Association. 

He studied Pressure Point Defense Tactics at the Texas State Department of Public Safety Academy and is a State Certified Instructor in several areas of Police Officer Defensive Tactics, and Law Officer Street Survival. He is highly proficient in gun, knife, club, grappling, and tonfa self-defense tactics.

Retired from competition since 1992, his tournament carrier was distinguished with numerous wins and Grand Champion honors in the black belt heavyweight fighting division including: Houston’s Karate Olympics, Austin’s Capitol City Martial Arts Open Karate Championships, Houston’s Open Tae Kwon Do Championship, Houston’s Southwest Texas Karate Championships, and the Texas Karate Showdown.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Dennis Cox, 8th Dan

Dennis Cox was one of the first champions and teachers of Texas Karate in the 1970s. His list of tournament wins as well as champion students is long and impressive. He has served in law enforcement and as a special investigator. He is also the younger brother of Ronnie Cox, who was one of the founders of the AKBBA-CSHK.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Steve Doss , 8th Dan

Steve Doss has traveled and competed (and won) around the globe. He grew up as a neighbor and family friend of the legendary Jim Harrison, with whom he has trained for many years.

Mr. Doss also holds the distinction of being one of only a dozen black belts of Demetrius “Greek” Havanas. Besides winning many championships in the U.S. (including the U.S. Open, the All American and the Masters National) in 1990 he defeated the defending Korean National Champion with a head kick winning the Heavyweight Title of the Korean Nationals in Pusan, Korea. He holds black belts in five different arts and has trained with Dr. He Young Kimm, Remy Presas and Wally Jay.

Master Doss currently runs a successful school in Austin and is the founder of a new fitness program, Impact Strong, for martial artists and people just interested in staying healthy and fit. 

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Rodney Green , 8th Dan

My journey for my Black Belt began in 1984 at Kent Tae Kwon Do in Midland, Texas. While achieving my goal, I traveled to different cities and states and gained experience from many schools. In doing so, I acquired different techniques and styles. I studied Tang So Do, White Tiger Kung Fu and earned different levels of belts. But, in the meantime I have stayed true to my one main form; Tae Kwon Do. During this quest I entered every tournament I could. Due to hard work and excellent guidance, I won many trophies and titles. In 1995, I started Kick Boxing to further my knowledge in tactical fighting experience. I participated in several Kick Boxing competitions and gained valuable knowledge. In December of 1999, I was invited to participate in a World Tournament that consisted of free style fighting. This was the toughest tournament I ever fought in. I made it to the finals and placed 2nd in the world in my division. My quests lead me to many places not only on a map, but also in my heart. It has given me great friendships, respect and trust of those around me and a peace to carry me the rest of my life in whatever I do. I am a certified aerobic Kick Boxing instructor whose teaching technique is a little different than some, but is quite effective. I am now an 8th degree Black Belt associated with the AKBBA. I have enjoyed this journey and am humbled at the opportunity to teach people the knowledge I have gained over my lifetime.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017