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 (one of the few non-asians to hold such a high ranking).

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 (see photo gallery). Mr. Yates served as an adjunct professor at SMU for seven years in both the Physical Education and Communications Departments.

• Voted into the 1992 edition of "Who's Who in the South and Southwest," a honor that goes with his place in the Third Edition of "Who's Who in American Martial Arts."

• In 1997 he was a part of the inaugural class of inductees into the Texas Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Waco (see photo gallery) along with other notables such as Chuck Norris, Jhoon Rhee, Pat Burleson, Allen Steen, Ray McCallum, Demetrius Havanas and Troy Dorsey.

• Along with Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace and Jhoon Rhee, Mr. 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 (see photo gallery).

• Mr. Yates is one of the world's most prolific writers on the martial arts. He has written well over four hundred magazine articles and authored or co-authored fifteen books including: The Complete Book of Tae Kwon Do Forms (1984 edition and 2018 edition), 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 and Christianity and the Martial Arts (some are available on this website.) For 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 is a contributing editor and regular writer for "Martial Arts Professional" and "Martial Arts Success" magazines, the only person to be on the staff of both of the major martial arts industry professional journals.

• For years he was managing editor of “Official Karate Magazine” a modern digital version of the original OK magazine published in the 1960s and ’70s.

• In 1991 he produced the video documentary, "A History of Korean Karate in America," which has received positive reviews in martial arts publications (see books and videos). He is also the featured instructor for Sports Video’s series on American Martial Arts with videos on Winning Tournaments and on One-Step Sparring Drills.

• His smartphone App, the Complete Tae Kwon Do Forms, is fast becoming one of the most popular apps on Korean martial arts patterns.

• A popular speaker and seminar leader, he has been featured in articles in most of the major martial arts publications and in several Dallas newspaper articles. He has been profiled on the Dallas ABC and FOX News affiliates, featuring his work with children and in the area of Christian martial arts. Mr. Yates has also served as 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."

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

• He serves as High-Dan Board Chairman of the American Karate Black Belt Association Chin Sook Hage Kwan (one of the oldest martial arts organizations in the nation).

• Mr. Yates is the Kwan Jang (founder and headmaster) of the Nam Seo Kwan (School of the Southwest) style of American Tae Kwon Do.
Learn about Nam Seo Kwan here.