Welcome to this edition of Kumite. In this match up I want to take on Sensei Jeff Burlingame. If you are from the Medina, Ohio (USA) area or you are a part of the Seibukan organization then you may have heard of Sensei Burlingame. Then again, you may have been arrested by Burlingame. It is through the Seibukan organization is how I have heard of Burlingame. My first karate instructor would often refer to him or his teachings in class. Then years later I was apart of another Seibukan affiliated class and they too would refer to Burlingame.
I haven’t officially met Sensei Burlingame. Late last year I made it a goal to carve out some time to go workout with him. However if you have read my article Fighting Sleep and my article about the importance of family I think readers will understand why I haven’t made it. So I decided I would get to know him and see what he was about. I knew his influences had impacted the State of Ohio sense he was honored by several of the state’s top leaders. I also know he has impacted people within the Seibukan organization.
When I was preparing my questions and doing some research I realized that Burlingame has been affected by ADHD (Spell it out). I read where he has worked with a variety of people who faced mental challenges and physical disabilities throughout his martial arts career. I knew then I had to write to him and see if he would be kind enough to partake in an interview session with me.
Then upon receiving the answers from Burlingame I realized that this man has faced many challenges in his life such as back operations and cancer. He contributes his martial arts training to providing him with the strength and wisdom to persevere through the challenging times.
This week’s round of Kumite we are going to look to see what inspired Sensei Burlingame to become interested in martial arts. Burlingame will provide us with a brief history of the style he practices and its lineage. Then we will look at the challenges he faced while growing up and practicing martial arts.
JB: I started training in Martial Arts (Shorin-Ryu “Seibukan” Karate-Do) in 1967 at the age of 13. Back then Karate was just starting to become known in the States, and thinking that I was going to be a secret agent with the CIA when I grew up and I would need to know that for the job. (little did I know that I really would end up getting into Law Enforcement)
KKD: I figured with my education in technology, history, and management along with Shorin Ryu karate background I would be an ideal candidate for the CIA. So far that hasn’t been the case.
KKD: What style(s) do you practice? And why?
KKD: I am very familiar with this Seibukan organization. I was apart of them when I first began karate.
KKD: What challenges did you face while growing up? Do you contribute your martial arts training to your success of overcoming obstacles either in life or career?
JB: Growing up I had a few problems that I faced; our father left us when I was 10 and moved to Medina Ohio from Zanesville and was raised by my grandparents in a fairly strict environment. In elementary school my grades were very poor and it wasn’t till many years later that I found that I suffer from ADHD and Asperger’s and lacked self-confidence. Looking back things started to turn around for me by age 15, my concentration and grades greatly improved, most likely due to the Martial Arts training.
I have been married 4 time (twice to the same person), have a 35 year old son in the Army and currently he is stateside, and two daughters (age 20 and 16) the 20 year old is in collage in England and the 16 year old is still in high school.
KKD: According to WebMD ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Conditions include difficulty in paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Asperger’s inhibits the person from communicating and socializing with other people.
I have met other people with ADHD start practicing martial arts and it has helped them control their symptoms. They use the structure of their class and apply it to other areas of life.
KKD: Read any good books lately? What book would you recommend for a fellow martial artist to read? Why?
JB: I can’t say that I am not much of a reader due to my Asperger’s and attention issues and it takes me much longer to read through a book and therefore do not read very often, nor could I realistically suggest any.
KKD: Audiobooks are fun. I am not much for sitting down to read a book. However there have been a handful of books that has really pulled me into the story.
KKD: Do you have a favorite TV show or movie?
JB: Not really into TV much, until recently I was teaching most nights and had little time. If I do watch, I like the history channel, and science channel.
KKD: Be sure to check out Round 2 next week as we look at Sensei Burlingame’s views on Kata vs Kumite and methods for practicing. We are also going to see if he ever had to use his martial arts training on the job.
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