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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 fencing.

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”.

Jeff Burgess



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