A Plug For A Pal

My only experience with martial arts is six months of karate when I was about 6, and basic hand-to-hand in the Marine Corps.  One of my goals after losing some weight and getting back into a little better shape is to get into some form of it.

If I lived in Florida, I'd try to go to a new dojo owned and run by one of my old Marine Corps comrades.  If you are in the Tallahassee area, check out Burke's Karate.  Rather than try to tell you about it, here's his information and the type of karate that he teaches from his website:


Burke’s Karate Academy teaches a style of karate founded by renowned karate Master, Master Thinh Nguyen, called Silkisondan Karate.

Silki, or “sieu khi,” means “advanced breathing strength” Not to state the obvious, but in order to live you have to breathe, so it makes sense that the better and stronger you breathe, the better and stronger your life. There are many benefits to proper karate training. Three of these benefits include increased focus, power and stamina.

Just these three benefits alone are an excellent reason to join a martial arts program. But these benefits are not only limited to the inside the karate school, or dojo. These benefits can also manifest themselves in the classroom, at work, around the house, in dealing with other people (perhaps to diffuse an argument), even while driving a car to become more aware of your surrounding and perhaps reduce the chance of being in an accident. Indeed, martial arts training is much more that just learning self defense!

Sondan, or “song-dan,“ means “two ways.” Most karate and martial arts instructors hope that their students are never faced with a situation where they are in physical danger and have to rely on the skills they have learned in the dojo. But if that situation ever does arise, that student will have options. The “two ways” refers to the “hard and soft” elements of our training the student has learned. A student’s ability to think through a situation is paramount, versus simply “reacting” (perhaps incorrectly) to a situation.

The student may need to land a blow to incapacitate an attacker (the hard). The student may need to simply control an incoming attacker or get away from an imminent threat without risk of serious injury to themselves or the attacker (the soft).

Silkisondan Karate integrates elements of the following martial arts in order to form a practical, efficient and complete martial arts system:
•Tae kwon-do

The Silkisondan Karate system has four specific purposes:
1.Emphasis on self-control, self-discipline, self-confidence, self-defense and knowing yourself, as opposed to simply meeting a standard for advancement.
2.Emphasis on safe and long-term physical training with lifetime health benefits, as opposed to a narrow arena such as short-term fighting skills.
3.Emphasis on value and power derived from meditation, relaxation, philosophy, mental toughness, proper attitude, and the true nature of things, as opposed to pure physical strength or immediate reward.
4.Emphasis on being harmonious with people and nature, as opposed to being a champion or superstar.


Sensei Burke began his martial arts training with Master Thinh in 1981. He received his Black Belt from Master Thinh in 1987 and is currently a third degree black belt in Silkisondan Karate. He is originally from Richmond, Virginia, graduated from St. Benedictive High School in 1986, then studied at Virginia Commonwealth University for two years before joining the United States Marine Corps in 1988.

He was a combat veteran of the first Persian Gulf War, attained the rank of Sergeant and was honorably discharged in 1995. Sensei Burke has studied other martial arts including Shito-Ryu, Aikido, and Jiu-jitsu. Sensei Burke also has a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon-Do. Sensei Burke moved to Florida in 1998 and received his Bachelors degree from Florida State University in 2000.

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