Company: American Karate and Taekwondo Organization (AKATO)
Tape Name: The Complete Video of Tae Kwon Do Forms: Tape 2
Tape Cost: $20.00 on DVD (or $35 for both Part 1 & Part 2)
Length of Tape/Time: 60+ minutes
Number of Moves/Techniques: Too many to count
Return Policy: N/A
Experiences in dealing with this company: N/A
The Instructor: Keith D. Yates
Company's Address: 1218 Cardigan Street, Garland, TX., 75040
Company's Phone Number: N/A
Web Page:

Primary Grading Criteria:

1. Production/Tape Quality: 10
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 10
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 10
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 10
5. Score on delivery vs. hype: 10
6. Degree to which we'd recommend this product: 10
7. Wasted Time (The higher the number the less "fluff"/repetition): 10
8. Playback Score/Watching it over-and-over again: 10
9. Would I purchase more of this company's products: 10
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 10

Grand Total: 100% (Excellent = )

Secondary Grading Criteria:

1. Beginners benefit: Excellent
2. Intermediate benefit: Excellent
3. Advanced benefit: Excellent
4. Time to benefit: Immediate for most
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None

Written Summary:

In this second tape, from Keith Yates' AKATO, we get a look at the various Dan level rank requirements for his association. This video, like its predecessor, begins with several minutes of interviews from Jhoon Rhee, Allen Steen and Pat Burleson, giving the viewer further insight into the history of American TKD and its strong Texas influence. Like the previous video in this series, this tape shows each form, first from a normal speed "front view", and then from a slow speed "reverse top view". Mr. Yates' AKATO deviates from the ITF forms at the Dan ranks. He leaves out various ITF forms, and in their place, has added Chul-Gi, Basai, and Sip Soo, which he refers to as "original Tang Soo Do Forms, of Japanese origin, that Jhoon Rhee brought to the U.S. in the 1950's", and that his instructor, Allen Steen, used. Mr. Yates has added to his requirements an AKATO form he calls Nam-Seo-Hyung. Here are the 8 forms that are shown: Chul-Gi, Basai, Sip-Soo, Kwan-Gye, Po-Un, Kae-Beck, Choi-Young and Nam-Seo-Hyung. These are the required forms for 1st to 4th Dan in Mr. Yates' association. Dan ranks of 5th degree and above, require no formal testing, are considered honorary, and are awarded based on time and contribution to the arts. Mr. Yates states in this video, "At 5th and 6th degree, I would like our black belts to earn a black belt in another style". Later he states, "At 6th degree, an AKATO black belt can develop their own system".

After the forms section, the viewer is treated to a "Weapons" and "Aiki-Ju-Jitsu" section. These too are requirements for Dan ranks in Mr. Yates' AKATO. In the weapons section, the viewer is shown one weapons form, for each of the following weapons: the Nunchuka, Sai, Bo, Bokken and Jo. In the aiki-ju-jitsu portion the viewer gets to see takedowns and wrist locks, using Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo, Kotegaeshi and Shionage. The weapons katas, and the aiki-ju-jitsu techniques, were shown at both normal speed, and in slow motion.

It's evident that this tape isn't meant to be an exact, or thorough, ITF requirement/forms tape. These are Mr. Yates' rank requirements for his AKATO. After reviewing these requirements, we feel Mr. Yates' stringent standards have allowed his 24 year old association to flourish, and forge a strong, yet unique, Americanized version of TKD, which has within it a Japanese Karate influence. One is left to assume that the basis for these various influences began when Jhoon Rhee brought to the U.S., in the 1950's, the Tang Soo Do/Japanese katas he used. Then as time went on, Allen Steen subsequently added to this, as needed, to forge his own system. Due to Mr. Steen's tournament success (in a 1966 tournament he beat both Joe Lewis and Chuck Norris, on the same day), and that of the many black belts he created, his bloody and battle proven version of TKD became widely respected. From this came the term "Texas Blood and Guts Karate". Later, after Mr. Steen retired, Mr. Yates' (one of Allen Steen's highest ranking instructors) continued the Texas Karate tradition by refining things, adding to them as needed, and once again creating some of the highest, and toughest, standards today. Through this tape, and its predecessor, one gets a glimpse at how these tough standards came about, and how comprehensive and challenging they are. But even more important, the viewer gains a clear understanding as to why, in the Dallas area, the highly respected tradition of "Texas Karate", as started by Allen Steen 36 years ago, continues.

EDITORS NOTE: As of 2005 Mr. Yates has transferred this content to DVD. In doing so, the visual quality seems to have improved, and he created a menu that allows you to jump right to a specific belts requirements. Furthermore, there was a point in the early 90's when this series had an on-the-box price of $49.95 per tape. Mr Yates has now reduced the price to $20 per volume, available directly from him, and you can get the entire set (Vol 1&2) for only $35. Due to all this I'm now revising the grade of this series to being "Excellent".

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