Karate Black Belt (A.K.B.B.A.) began as the Southwest Karate Black Belt
Association (S.W.K.B.B.A.). Under the guidance of Mr. Allen Steen,
American and Texas Karate Pioneer, the association became one of the largest and
most dynamic martial arts associations in the world.
composed of Black Belts from Allen Steen's Texas Karate Institute empire along
with other top Black Belt competitors and promoters from the Southwest United
States. Some of the notable Black Belts include David "Dai Won" Moon
(winner of 3 consecutive U.S. Championships in the 1960's) and Sam Allred (a New
Mexico Karate Pioneer who promoted the famous Central North American Karate
Association was a virtual Who’s Who of the top
karate competitors in the United States. Association Black Belts
literally dominated the top 10 rankings throughout the 1960’s and
1970’s. The association was founded by Allen Steen, Grand Champion
winner of the 1964 Long Beach Internationals and promoter of the United
States Karate Championships. Among its membership were such karate
pioneers and martial arts greats as Mr. J. Pat Burleson (winner of many
National titles in the 1960’s and promoter of the famous “rough and
tough” Texas State Karate Championships), Mike Anderson, Skipper
Mullins, Demetrius "The Greek" Havanas, Walt Bone, Al Dacascos, Ed
Daniels, and Fred Wren, just to name a few.
Karate in Texas was hard and tough, throughout the
entire country, the Allen Steen brand of Tae Kwon Do - Chung Do Kwan was
known as “Texas Blood and Guts Karate". So tough were A.K.B.B.A. Black
Belts, that one national tournament competitor in the 1970’s commented
on why he came to a national tournament but didn’t compete, “I didn’t
travel over a thousand miles to have my teeth knocked out by some
Texan.” Such was the reputation of the Black Belts of the association
that an article in the Black Belt Magazine once commented “anyone in the
tournament facing someone wearing the red and black Southwest Karate
Black Belt Association emblem knows he's in for a tough fight."
The Association grew so large throughout the nation
that it no longer was really a “Southwest” association, but an American
association. So in 1972, the name was changed to the American Karate
Black Belt Association, and the former red and black shield of the
S.W.K.B.B.A. was changed to the now familiar red, white and blue
In the late 1970’s, after years of owning and
operating many successful karate school chains and successfully
producing international tournament competitions, Allen Steen entered
into other business avenues. He settled into the king of all Texas
enterprises, the oil business. He began to divest his vast holdings in
the karate schools and tournaments to various students and friends. Mr.
Walt Mason and Mr. Barry Guimbellot purchased the Richardson School of
Allen Steen’s Texas Karate Institutes. Walt Mason and Barry Guimbellot
opened and successfully opened and managed several other Texas Karate
Institutes in the surrounding Dallas, Texas area.
With Allen Steen’s departure from the helm, many of
his highly capable associates and students, who had long been
established in their own schools while obtaining national reputations in
their own rights, began to form or focus on their own organizations.
Under Allen Steen’s direction the A.K.B.B.A. had
gained the reputation of one of the highest standards in the world in
requirements for school quality and belt ranking. Whether it was true
or not, the comment was often made that “a Brown Belt from the A.K.B.B.A.
was good for a 3rd Degree Black Belt most anywhere else.”
The face of tournament karate changed, and so did the
karate school business during the 1980’s. The innovation of safety gear,
the increasing numbers of schools and tournaments, led to a more unified
set of rules and practices throughout the country in the open system
tournament competition. The old “Blood and Guts Texas Karate” was no
longer the standard in the Southwest.
In the late 1970’s
Mr. J. Pat Burleson, an original
member of the S.W.K.B.B.A., and charter Board member of the A.K.B.B.A.
Southwest Region, moved out of Texas to pursue other business
opportunities. He turned over the reigns of the AKBBA to Mr. Bob
Nuttall, of Weatherford, TX. A close friendship had developed over the
years, between Bob Nuttall and Walt Mason, who was creating a lot of
positive activity with the A.K.B.B.A. Mr. Nuttall decided to turn over
all of reins to Walt Mason and form one large organization. With a new
interest by many schools in Texas, under the leadership of Walt Mason
and Bob Nuttall, the A.K.B.B.A. took on a new direction, that of a
“fraternal business martial arts organization".
Maintaining all of the guidelines and requirements, set forth by Allen
Steen, the A.K.B.B.A. added a new zeal towards: business ethics,
cooperation, educational excellence, and a success goal for each
number of the original A.K.B.B.A. black belt
groups were around. Still teaching and practicing Texas Karate the
rough and tough 1960’s & 1970’s A.K.B.B.A. way. Several attempts to
re-establish the standard and tough style were made, but met with varied
levels of success. Many instructors had given up their A.K.B.B.A.
affiliation rights and tried forming new organizations. One member of
the original A.K.B.B.A., Charles Bouton, from Lubbock, Texas, still
continued to use the independent region that Allen Steen had granted to
him in the early 1980’s. Bouton is sill active with many fine black
belts doing a system called Chin Sook Hage Kwan. Another Texas Karate
Institute in Lubbock, Texas, previously owned by Mr. Andy White, is now
owned and operated by Mr. Tom Downs. Mr. Downs chose to continue with
the original A.K.B.B.A. and Tae Kwon Do - Chung Do Kwan system. A
student of Tom Downs, Klay Pittman opened another successful school in
Lubbock, TX. American Karate Academy, follows in his instructors
footsteps and Chung Do Kwan.
return of Mr. J. Pat Burleson to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area in 1990, Mr. Walt
Mason and Mr. Bob Nuttall, along with their friend and instructor proceeded to
create a membership of the Board of Governors to govern the A.K.B.B.A.
passing on Mr. Walt Mason in 2001, his son Mr. David Mason took over the reigns
of the organization. Under the leadership of Mr. Bob Nuttall and Mr. David
Mason, the organization proudly sports a huge membership base with approximately
32 schools in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Keller, Plano, Richardson, Mesquite,
Weatherford, Midland, Lubbock, Roundrock, and Houston, Texas. In addition
to Texas, the A.K.B.B.A has affiliates in Oklahoma, Washington, California, and
generation of Allen Steen's students are, on the whole, past the half century
mark in age now, but the Texas "Blood and Guts" style and standards they
practiced still lives on under the American Karate Black Belt Association and
Texas Karate Institute.
We want to
hear from you! If you are interested in membership information, please
contact Mr. David Mason, Member - Board of Governors for the American Karate
Black Belt Association at the contact information below.