WELCOME TO THE AKATO
With members in five states the A-KaTo is not the biggest martial arts organization around but it is one of the most credible and well-organized.
The Southwest Tae Kwon Do Association was founded in 1976 by Keith D. Yates, one of the original black belts of Allen R. Steen, the "Father of Texas Karate." It was the early days of the martial arts in the United States, and there were few associations which maintained quality standards and credible programs for both instructors and students. The group was born out of that need, and that need has driven it for almost three decades.
At first just an association of Mr. Yates' own black belts, the membership soon swelled to include martial artists from several states. As the arts in America began to diversify, so did the association. In 1996 the name became the American Karate and Tae Kwon Do Organization, indicating the group's widened stature. Standards of membership for both individuals and schools were set up and two divisions were established—one for arts of Korean background and one for arts with a Japanese/Okinawan origin.
But one thing has not changed—the A-KaTo is still committed to the benefits of the traditions of the martial arts while acknowledging that the arts must keep up with the ever-changing socieity in which we live and practice our various styles and skills.
The American Karate and Tae Kwon Do Organization has three main purposes:
• To promote quality education of American martial artists
• To promote high professional standards for schools and instructors
• To cultivate friendship and mutual understanding between American martial artists
Instructors and schools within the A-KaTo (see listing of schools) maintain an eclectic but traditional approach to American Karate and American Tae Kwon Do. Keeping the emphasis on the "art" of the martial arts, this approach also incorporates techniques from several other styles such as aiki-ju-jutsu and kobudo. In fact A-KaTo instructors can earn their black belt ranking in these two systems as well.
We hold regular Continuing Education classes just for instructors (see A-KaTo news). These classes are all taught by master level teachers. And after you earn enough "credits" you are eligible for our Advanced Instructor's Certification.
We also sponsor seminars for students, hold an annual Fall tournament and have an awards banquet and clinic every Spring.
SCHOOL MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS
A majority of the instructor members of the A-KaTo are direct black belts of our founder, Mr. Keith D. Yates, or are from his family tree of black belts. We have occasionally allowed other schools to join providing they:
• 1) are recommended by a senior A-KaTo black belt,
• 2) personally train with A-KaTo instructors, and
• 3) are voted in by a majority of the A-KaTo Membership Committee.
We do NOT require our member schools to follow a set curriculum nor do we tell them how to teach—however we expect the very highest standards of martial arts. For a school to be considered considered an official A-KaTo "member school", a simple minimum of ten students must be A-KaTo members. The senior instructor of each member school receives a FREE Black Belt Membership to the A-KaTo. Examinations are under the complete authority of the individual school; however black belt promotions can be sanctioned by the A-KaTo. Contact Mr. Yates for guidelines.
The A-KaTo is not a "mail-order" association. Download an application form here for more guidelines. akato application