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.