South Carolina leader receives high honor from elite Texas martial arts association

Global expedition leader named Native Texan Black Belt

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Dr. Tom Mullikin, global expedition leader, chairman of the S.C. Floodwater Commission and a member of the S.C. Black Belt Hall of Fame (SCBBHOF), has received yet another martial arts honor, this time from the elite Texas martial arts community.

Mullikin, a 6th-degree black belt in traditional karate was named “Native Texan Black Belt” by the American Karate Black Belt Association (AKBBA), Saturday, Oct. 7. The award followed Mullikin’s address in Houston to the gathered members of the AKBBA and others regarding female karate legends and the importance of women in martial arts.

“These national and world black-belt champions in Texas are considered some of the toughest in the world,” said Mullikin. “The honor of this recognition by these incredible champions cannot be overstated.”

Bruce Brutschy, a 10th-degree black belt and fellow SCBBHOF inductee, attended the presentation with and in support of Mullikin.

“This much-deserved honor was facilitated by world champion tournament fighter Rudy Smedley and myself, and it was approved by the AKBBA High Dan Board,” said Brutschy, himself a member of the AKBBA High Dan Board, though from S.C. “The AKBBA is the most prestigious martial arts association in Texas and probably in the United States.”

Brutschy adds: “The AKBBA was founded by the great Grandmaster Allen Steen, who was a student of the late Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, “Father of American Taekwondo.”

The rich lineage of the American Karate Black Belt Association has numerous S.C. connections including Brutschy, now Mullikin, also Karate movie superstar and world champion Keith Vitali, and the legendary Mike Genova.

– Pictured (L-R) Mullikin, Mike Stone, Brutschy, and Sam Chapman. Stone, a legend in his own right, won 93 straight tournament matches as a martial artist, and he was Elvis Presley’s karate instructor. Chapman, a decorated U.S. Marine veteran is a member of the S.C. Black Belt Hall of Fame.

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