Jeff Burgess's Martial Art Biography
The genesis of this group we call the Tae Kwon Do club, was Mr. Kim. He
graciously shared this art form and instilled a desire in his students to
continue to give back. He had great compassion, determination, ferocity and
kindness. I miss him. In addition, I must mention Bob Rainie, for without
him and his recognition of Mr. Kim’s ability the club would have
materialized. Great thanks to both!
Why I started in Tae Kwon Do…
I started my martial arts journey because of fear. While jogging with my
friend Jon, we ran near an open garage with a number of un-friendly faces
inside. They gave us a less then friendly look. We both realized apart from
just running away, we had “victim” written all over us. It turned out that
Jon’s Dad worked at Lockheed and he knew of a Tae Kwon Do class being
offered there for a low price ($3 a month). So in April of 1980 we joined
the Tae Kwon Do Club. We had joined out of fear but we stayed because of the
fun. In October of 1982, we both were awarded our interim black belts (back
then you were given a black belt). I was changed forever.
Other Martial arts training acquired…
The other eastern art forms I’ve had exposure to include: Shotokan, Aikido,
Ninjutsu, and Okinawan weapons. Western art forms include wrestling and
A bit more of my martial arts bio…
In 1987 I left civilian life and joined the U.S. Air Force. I survived boot
camp (Lackland AFB, Texas) and went on to complete my specialization
training as a firefighter (Chanute AFB, Ill.). I then served two overseas
tours of duty (Bitburg AFB, Germany and RAF Alconbury, UK). I mention this
because it had a great influence on my martial arts training and personal
development. Although I continued to practice when I could, most of my time
was spent studying books on the martial arts and military tactics and
strategy. In addition, I further broadened my experience and knowledge by
traveling extensively throughout Europe. Amazingly great times!
Returning to the Bay Area in 1991, I was unable to return to “regular” club
practice until 1994. Once I had returned, my focus was sharp and determined.
Training hard, I reached second degree black belt in 1996 and third degree
black in 1999. In 2000 I became the Chief Instructor and held that title
until 2007. Since then I have occupied myself with other challenges within
the art form.
The time I spent being the Chief Instructor was enlightening. Giving back to
the club and assisting others in their martial arts journey continues to be
VERY, VERY, rewarding. A favorite part of that was having the honor of
awarding those members reaching new belt ranks. Then watching them continue
to grow over time.
My training philosophy…
An important part of my approach to the martial arts can be summed up from
the pursuit of a philosophy I adopted from the art of Ninjustu. Their
response to a given situation is based on five elements: Fire, water, wind,
earth, and the void. I see Han Moo Kwan as the fire and the earth. Fire for
its ferocity and explosive nature. Earth for its being solid…like a
mountain….deeply grounded. Water and wind elements would seemingly have
little to do within Han Moo Kwan but I find room for them (not until well
into second degree black belt). And the void… well…I keep that to myself.
Other training philosophies/maxims …
Adopt and embrace a love for learning. Learn it all!
Be patient…with first yourself…your instructors…your fellow classmates…those
you call students…those up and coming instructors…and yourself again.
Careful to, neither embrace or dismiss too quickly…secrets reveal themselves
in a timetable unknown to you.
Know the sound and nature of your “ego-voice”. Learn to ignore your ego and
keep learning. The ego will hold you back.
Go for perfection!
Read and meditate on the works of the masters (martial arts, philiosophy,
etc)…do not reinvent the “knowledge” wheel!
Last but hardly least…seek out and act out of wisdom.
You have to really want it…
Be a Force of Nature!
Many members have given back to the club over the years and to those
individuals I also thank. Your efforts continue to reap great rewards for
others. Just remember what Mr. Kim would say, Yes…more work”.