The Father of Blood-N-Guts Karate
Allen R. Steen was an early student of grand master Jhoon Rhee's at Southwest
Texas State College in San Marcos, Texas. Allen is credited with being Mr.
Rhee's first American black belt and he went on to win 30 major titles as well
as defeating both Chuck Norris and Joe Louis to win the prestigious Long
Beach International Tournament in 1966. Allen also developed a karate
business empire including many schools and tournaments.
Allen Steen attended a demonstration put on by master Rhee in late
1959. He was impressed when the master kicked a support beam in the
college gym and cracked the plaster from floor to ceiling. Steen signed up
for Jhoon Rhee's first Karate class along with 184 other students and soon
proved himself to be a dedicated and talented martial artist.
After earning both his black belt, and his college degree, Steen moved to
Dallas, Texas and started the first of many Karate schools, "The Jhoon
Rhee Institute of Karate," in 1962. This was the beginning of
Steen's long and high profile career in the American martial arts. The
rigor of his training methods, and the strong emphasis on discipline, combined
with the toughness of his texan students resulted in what has come to be known
as the "Blood-N-Guts Karate" style that flourished in Texas during
Allen Steen went on to become one of the most famous American martial
artists in history, winning many national competitions. He was rated by Black
Belt Magazine as one of the top fighters in the U.S. in 1966. His trademark
sparring attack was the jump sidekick, delivered so quickly and
powerfully, that his opponents were often knocked completely out of the ring.
Steen's many "Texas Karate Institute" schools
produced some of the finest black belts in the U.S. At times, his graduates
dominated the American Karate scene. In 1963, Steen organized his first
"Texas Karate Championships". Characteristically, he
entered his own competition and won first place. This tournament was the first to welcome all
styles of karate pioneering the now popular, "Open Format."
Some of the many exceptional martial artists who emerged from Steen's schools
include: Pat Burleson, Skipper Mullins, Mike Anderson, Fred Wren, and Roy
Together they established a Texas Karate dynasty that expanded as their own
students began to compete. This second generation group includes Walt Bone, James
Butin, George Buckner, Phyllis Evetts, Jim Harkins, Demetrius Havanas,
Harold Gross, Larry Ritchie, Chuck Loven, Ray McCallum, Jim & Jenice
Miller, George Minshew, Rick Vaughn, Jeff Smith, and Pat & John
Steen created the Southwest Karate Black Belt Association in 1967, but it
quickly outgrew it's regional focus and became a national organization. In
1972 the name was changed to the American Karate Black Belt Association which
ultimately boasted over 10,000 members. Steen had a vision of uniting all
the American Karate organizations under a single banner, the U.S. Karate
Association, but he was unsuccessful in this due to the many competing egos
involved as well as the variety of differing needs represented.
In 1967 Steen retired from competition, but remained active for many years as
a karate businessman as well as a promoter of the sport. Steen was named,
"The Father of Texas Karate," by the Texas Martial Arts Hall of Fame
and was elected to the Who's Who in the Martial Arts. In April of 2000
Steen hosted the "Allen Steen Event Millennium Karate 20001"
one of the largest and most successful Karate events in history.
1 The Steen Millennium Tournament: http://home.swbell.net/amblbelt/Steen2000/Steen2000.html
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