Since 1976

KEITH D. YATES started his martial arts training in 1965 and became one of the youngest black belts in the country when he earned his rank at 17 from former International Champion Allen R. Steen. Mr. Yates established a reputation as one of the top kata champions in the Southwest, including winning the famous Texas State Championships in 1971.

He has trained with a number of other famous martial arts masters, most notably Skipper Mullins and Jhoon Rhee. He has also has earned black belts in Japanese Ju-Jitsu and Okinawan Kobudo. A prolific writer and well-respected teacher, he currently holds the tenth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Painting of Mr. Yates by Ed Parker, Jr., 2010

• Mr. Yates is founder and president of the American Karate And Tae Kwon Do Organization

• Began the very first college "karate for credit" program in the Southwest in 1972 at Southern Methodist University. Mr. Yates served as an adjunct professor at SMU for seven years in both the Physical Education and Communications Departments.

• Inducted into numerous Halls of Fame all over the world, including the Martial Arts History Museum in Burbank, CA, and the Texas Martial Arts HOF in Waco.

• He was in the first class of Nationally Certified Instructors of the American Council on Martial Arts (ACMA) in association with the Cooper Institute.

• Mr. Yates is one of the world's most prolific writers on the martial arts. He has written almost 500 magazine articles and authored or co-authored nineteen books (some are available on this website or at For many years he wrote columns in "inside Karate" and "Martial Arts Professional" magazines.

• He is a former managing editor of “Official Karate Magazine.”

• In 1991 he produced the documentary, "A History of Korean Karate in America," (you can see it on his YouTube channel). He also filmed video series on Tournaments and on One-Step Sparring.

• A popular speaker and seminar leader, he has been featured in articles in major martial arts publications and in Dallas newspaper articles. He's been profiled on the Dallas ABC and FOX News affiliates, featuring his work with children and in the area of Christian martial arts. He has been a guest on both cable TV and national radio talk shows.

• Mr. Yates did his Master's thesis at Dallas Theological Seminary on "The Demystification of Ki: The Spiritual Aspects of the Martial Arts." And Dr. Yates received his Humanities PhD in 2019.

• He serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Gospel Martial Arts Union (headquartered in Indianapolis).

• He is the Kwan Jang Nim (founder and headmaster) of the Nam Seo Kwan style of American Tae Kwon Do.
Learn about Nam Seo Kwan here.

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