Q: Who is the AKBBA/CSHK?

A: Incorporated in the state of Texas as an Amateur Athletic Association our purposes are 

1) to assist our members in advanced knowledge of the martial arts, and

2) to offer black belt certification to our members and to provide legitimate, credible high-dan black belt promotions.

Q: What is your history?

A: See “Our History” for more, but briefly, we were founded in 1964, by Allen R. Steen (the “father of Texas Karate,” and International Champion). Our current High Dan Board all have legitimate lineage back to Grandmaster Steen and the other founders from the 1960s.

Q: What does the High Dan Board do?

A: Internationally known, they hold a legitimate 8th Dan or higher and act as the official Board of Directors for the Corporation. They direct standards for membership and for black belt certifications. The Board has an elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman and an appointed Executive Director.

In addition to the governing High-Dan Board (HDB), there is a Board of Advisors consisting of well-known Grandmasters whose purpose is to advise the HDB and make suggestions on how the overall reach and impact of the Association may be enhanced.

Q: How do I become a member?

A: Membership is open to those who meet our requirements and who agree to abide by our standards. Black Belt membership is $30 annually and Student membership is $20 annually. Students may ONLY join under the auspices of a Black Belt Member. Black Belt applicants should fill out two forms:

1) the Black Belt Application form

2) and the Resumé form.

There is an additional membership level known as an Affiliate Instructor. Affiliates are entitled to award Association Black Belt Certificates. Affiliate Instructors must hold at least a third Dan, and be a school instructor. Contact the Executive Director for more information and fees.

Q: What are the procedures for rank certification?

A: The Association can provide “certification” of black belt ranking (we do not certify under-belts). We issue Black Belt Certificates for promotions granted by our Affiliates up to 5th Dan. Requests must be made in advance and certificate fees apply. If the candidate is between 12 and 17 years of age the certificate will state “Junior Black Belt Rank.”

We do NOT require that all your Black Belt promotions be certified by the Association, although it is advantageous to have your Black Belts certified by an internationally recognized association.

Q: What about higher Black Belt promotions?

A: In Black Belt ranks there are generally 10 degrees. Under our standards, ranks up to 8th Dan are “earned” rank levels and are awarded after an extensive resume review and, typically, a physical examination/performance.

AKBBA/CSHK promotions of 6th Dan to 8th Dan are determined solely by the High Dan Board and are only available to Black Belts who have been members for at least two years and who have made outstanding contributions to the martial arts and to this Association. Merely having possessed a given rank for a certain number of years is not sufficient reason for a promotion.

We consider the 9th and 10th Dan “honorary” or “positional” ranks. These are awarded exclusively by vote of the High Dan Board based on a long tenure and exceptional accomplishments in the martial arts and to this Association.

See more details at “Black Belt Promotions.”

Q: Do you give “equivalent” certificates to Black Belts who earned their rank elsewhere?

A: Yes, you may request an “equivalent” Black Belt certificate for a rank earned outside of the AKBBA/CSHK. We will only furnish this certificate through the request of a current Affiliate Instructor Member or High-Dan Board Member. The requestor must have evaluated the person and found them equivalent in all qualifications to what the Association requires. The certificate will be sent to the requestor.

Q: What about patches, cards, certificates and awards?

A: An Association patch and card is furnished to each accepted member (both Black Belt and Student). 1st–5th Dan certificates are 11” x 17” parchment. 6th Dan and higher certificates are on 16” x 20” parchment and contain HDB signatures and chops. Other awards may be given such as Instructor of the Year, School of the Year, or Outstanding Achievement in the Martial Arts.

Q: Are there any other benefits to becoming a member?

A: Besides the opportunity for your black belt rank to be certified by an internationally recognized sanctioning body, you’ll have access to the pioneers of the martial arts. You will be able to participate in Association sanctioned competitions and seminars. Affiliates will have access to blogs and videos from masters and grand-masters.

As a member in good standing of the AKBBA/CSHK you will be able to proudly wear the gold, red, white and blue shield on your uniform giving you added credibility in the community of martial artists.