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Keith D. Yates (born November 28, 1950) is a tenth degree black belt and founder of the Nam Seo Kwan system of American Tae Kwon Do. He is also the president of the American Karate and Tae Kwon Do Organization (AKATO). He is the author of 11 books on the martial arts and has written over 400 magazine articles. Inside Tae Kwon Do magazine named him one of the pioneers of American Karate and American Tae Kwon Do.

Contents

Early Training

Yates started his martial arts training in 1965, in Richardson, Texas at a community recreation center 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 (also known as the “father of Texas karate”). Mr. Yates established a reputation as one of the top kata practitioners in the Southwest winning numerous titles including the Texas State Championship in 1971.

He trained with a number of other famous martial arts masters, most notably Skipper Mullins, J. Pat Burleson and Jhoon Goo Rhee. Yates also has earned black belts in Japanese Ju-Jitsu and Okinawan Kobudo.

Firsts

Yates began the first "karate for college credit" program in the Southwest in 1972 at Southern Methodist University (where he earned his BFA in 1971). Mr. Yates served as an adjunct professor at SMU for seven years in the Physical Education Department and later, in the Communications Department. He was the first Chairman of the Texas Black Belt Commission (founded in 1986). In 1997 he was a part of the inaugural class of inductees into the Texas Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Waco, Texas, along with other notables such as Steen, Burleson, Rhee, Chuck Norris, Ray McCallum, Demetrius Havanas and Troy Dorsey. In 1999, along with Rhee, Joe Lewis, and Bill Wallace, Keith Yates was invited to be in the first class of Nationally Certified Instructors of the American Council on Martial Arts (ACMA) in association with the Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research in Dallas.

Writing career

Yates’s articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Tae Kwon Do Times, Inside Kung Fu and most of the other periodicals dedicated to the martial arts. For several years he wrote the "Inside Tae Kwon Do" column for Inside Karate magazine until that publication was folded into Martial Arts Combat Sports. Mr. Yates was one of the original contributing editors and a regular columnist for Martial Arts Professional and currently is a contributing editor to Martial Arts Success magazine.

His books include: The Complete Book of Tae Kwon Do Forms Warrior Secrets: A Handbook of the Martial Arts Just For Kicks: The Art of Fighting With Your Feet Your Body: The Ultimate Lethal Weapon Tae Kwon Do Basics Tae Kwon Do for Kids The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tae Kwon Do Young Samurai The Complete Book of American Karate and Tae Kwon Do

Teaching career

In 1991 Yates produced the video documentary, "A History of Korean Karate in America," which has received positive reviews in martial arts publications. In 2006, he was invited to be the instructor in the martial arts series of DVDs by SportVideos.com and was featured in “How to Win at Karate Tournaments” and “One Hundred and One 1-Steps.”

A popular speaker and national seminar leader, he has been featured in articles in most of the major martial arts publications and in several Dallas Morning News newspaper articles. He was profiled on the Dallas ABC affiliate, featuring his work with children and has also appeared on the local Fox affiliate. Yates has also served as a guest on both cable TV and national radio talk shows.

He has been teaching in Dallas county since 1967 making him perhaps the longest continually teaching martial arts instructor in the state of Texas. He currently teaches classes at the YMCA branches in Richardson and Garland, Texas. He has personally trained and promoted over 100 individuals to the rank of black belt.

Other Accomplishments

Yates served on the Board of Directors of the Fellowship of Christian Martial Artists for a number of years and currently serves as the third Chairman of the Gospel Martial Arts Union, an international group headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. He did his Master's thesis at Dallas Theological Seminary (graduating with honors with a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies in 1983) on "The Demystification of Ki: The Spiritual Aspects of the Martial Arts."

He also serves on the Board of Advisors for Chuck Norris’s Kick Start Foundation which brings the benefits of the martial arts to “at risk” youth in public school settings. Yates is on the High Dan Board of the American Karate Black Belt Association Chin Sook Hage Kwan.

References

1. Keith Yates: The Inner Strength of an American Tae Kwon Do Pioneer, Inside Karate, March, 1998, Arnold Howard
2. An Illustrated History of the Martial Arts in America, Emil Farkas (2007), Rising Sun Productions, ISBN 1-897307-90-X
3. Interview with Keith D. Yates, Blue Snake Books http://bluesnakeblog.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/interview-with-keith-yates-author-of-the-complete-guide-to-karate-and-tae-kwon-do/
4. Random House author bio page http://www.randomhouse.com/author/results.pperl?authorid=79135
5. Amazon.com author bio http://www.amazon.com/Keith-D.-Yates/e/B001JS0RGY
6. The Ultimate Martial Arts Q&A Book: 750 Expert Answers to Your Essential Questions, John Corcoran and John Graden, ISBN 978-0809294442

External links

American Karate and Tae Kwon Do Organization [1]
Gospel Martial Arts Union [2]
Kick Start Foundation [3]
American Karate Black Belt Association [4]
Texas Martial Arts Hall of Fame [5]

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