Thank you for taking the time to get to know us. We appreciate your interest in our oganization. The A.K.S. is an organization that is recognized in numerous American states, as well as in various parts of Europe. The A.K.S. is the only American style of karate to be recognized by the German Karate Union (Deutsche Karate Verband), and the World Karate Federation. The latter organization is recognized and part of the Amateur Athletic Union. No other system or style of karate that considers itself American is so recognized.
The A.K.S. Advisory Board:
- Mike Sullenger 9th Dan - Chief Instructor
- Fred Reinecke 8th Dan - Assistant Chief Instructor
- Dave Thomas 8th Dan - Assistant Chief Instructor
- John Folsom, 7th Dan
- Robert Debelak 6th Dan
- Dr. Guessler Normand 6th Dan
- Steve Thurkettle 6th Dan
- E. Jude Gore 5th Dan
- Rand "Skip" Palmer 5th Dan
The A.K.S. World Council Members:
- Mike Sullenger 9th Dan - Chief Instructor
- Dr. Robert Debelak 6th Dan
The A.K.S. is a conservative, tradition-oriented style of karate. This is embodied in our use of only a white uniform for all levels of rank for all formal occasions (e.g. testings, tournaments, visits to and by other schools, etc). Brown and black belts may also use an all black uniform for normal in-school training.
Our ranking system uses only the "WHITE" "YELLOW" "GREEN" and "BROWN" belts for under black belt students. The black belt ranking currently goes up to 10th Dan, which is held by the late Mr. Ernest H. Lieb, founder of the A.K.S. Most systems have physical testing in black belt ranks through 4th or 5th Dan. The A.K.S. physically tests through 5th Dan, with individual black belts being able to request physical testing for 6th and 7th Dan.
Mr. Fred Reinecke, 8th Dan, had requested physical testing through 7th Dan level, and Mr. Mike Sullenger through 6th Dan. In 1979, Mr. Ernest H. Lieb tested for 3 1/2 hours with two 15-minute breaks for his 7th Dan level. He was reviewed by Master level instructors from five different styles. One of those was Grand Master Yuen from Taiwan, teacher of Master John Tsai.
Unlike many other styles, being able to say one is a high ranking black belt has never been the ultimate focus within the A.K.S. The quality of our students in both their physical and mental training has been a much higher priority than rank promotions. We have always told our students we'd rather they were good green, or brown belts, than a mediocre one at the next higher belt level.
Testing to the Black Belt rank within A.K.S. does not occur unless the student is at least 18 years of age. A.K.S. is unlike many other schools that have a lot of children running around sporting black belts. The A.K.S. philosophy is that earning and wearing of a black belt requires more than just ability; it also requires maturity. The wearing of an A.K.S. Black Belt carries with it a great deal of responsibility. Therefore, the importance for a black belt to be a mature individual is self evident.
The A.K.S. has an "ON-LINE" quarterly newsletter called the "Punchline." This newsletter helps to keep our members informed and in touch.
Currently the A.K.S. has black belt instructors in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia and Germany. We are a small organization, because we feel that quality more than quantity is what is most important.
An annual summer camp is conducted in Muskegon, Michigan, that affords members (and guests from other styles) the opportunity to learn new techniques and skills, as well as develop new friendships and renew old ones.
Regional seminars are scheduled at various places and times throughout the year to promote unified training and testing for A.K.S. Black Belts as well as students. Seminars are announced in our Punchline and on the Calendar of Events page on our website.
We in the A.K.S. don't believe one style is better or worse than another. We recognize that all styles and systems have virtue and benefits. The style one chooses to train in, most of the time, is the result of the school of closest location. Some people train in different styles , thereby broadening their understanding and abilities. To that end, our brown and black belts are encouraged to learn forms and techniques from other styles and systems that they can pass along to other A.K.S. members. As an eclectic system, the A.K.S. strives to continue its growth and understanding through this type of open minded method of training and study.
If you have any questions, or would like to discuss our system of karate in more depth, please feel free to contact us. Information and email addresses for making contact with us may be found by clicking the "Membership Directory" link above. We look forward to hearing from you.
MAS (Michael A. Sullenger)