View Full Version : hey has any one heard of soke burdine

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11-18-2003, 05:58 PM
my sect of aikido is kokon-ryu and the head of my thing if soke burdine he is a really high level aikido guy, its says hes a gand master but ive never heard of any one who has heard of him, im not saying hes bad or anything i know hes like a god to me but why im just asking if any one has heard of him

Greg Jennings
11-18-2003, 09:01 PM
Go to the aikido forum of http://www.e-budo.com/ and do a search for "Burdine".


11-19-2003, 07:57 AM
Wow. Just read the website. This reeks of red flags. Lot of doctorates (awarded by martial arts groups) and multiple high ranks (a couple appeared to be legitimate, i.e. awarded by someone other than Burdine or his group).

I loved the one statement by the "Dr. Grady" that he studied with the "Mountain Yard" people in Vietnam (Montegnard is probably closer in the spelling).

A lot of this stuff looks like it was self awarded or awarded as part of an organization which Burdine set up.

I could find no specific documentation of any rank he held from legitimate organizations that would qualify him to hold such a rank and be the director of sokes. My BS detector is going off on this group. If you hold multiple high ranks (legitimately awarded-not organizationally awarded) like 7th or 8th dan then I might buy it if you set up your own style.

I'd run and hold on to my wallet. But that's just me.

11-19-2003, 08:25 AM
Just looked at the International Society of Headfounders/ Headfamilies website. Lot of nepotism here. The founders and early participants are many of the people associated with Burdine from what I can tell.

04-20-2004, 01:28 PM
Did a search using the keywords "burdine aikido" and came up with the following links:

Acknowledgements listing; single reference to Burdine.

World Headfounders/Headfamilies Council. Page hasn't been updated since 1996, but does explain the requisites for membership in WHC. Lists Burdine as the 3rd WHC president, elected in 1995.

Biography, single reference to Burdine; single reference to Kokon Ryu

Listing of several biographies, including one for Burdine. With more time I would like to research the bio for Chotoku Kyan, 1870-1945; might be able to find a lineage there.

E-Budo thread about Burdine; most of the posts are cautious or negative. The only positive on the thread is also apparently the only post by an actual former student. Maybe the student is biased; maybe the non-students are only speculating about Burdine's reputation without actually knowing him.

Aikido Today Magazine: Dojo Directory 2004. The street address listed is probably for Burdine's home, since the dojo itself is located on 4th Street. The phone number and email are accurate, and are definitely for his home; I have used both in the past month, have received replies via both -- and the dojo doesn't have a telephone. I would encourage anyone with questions about Burdine's lineage, ranks, or affiliations to contact him directly.

Listed as 5th dan and "Dairi Kyojo", possibly this art's equivalent of "shihan"

"Official list of Shoden, Chuden, and Okuden menjo holders in Saigo-Ha Daito-Ryu Aiki Jujutsu (under authority of Dr. John J. Williams) -- We are listing these students in yudansha ranking, but they are also listed in the traditional Mokoroku Menjo licenses."

Short thread, positive comments about Burdine from a former student

Identical book reviews written by Prof. Burdine; these are the only references online that I have been able to find that were written *by* Burdine, as opposed to *about* him.

Listing of martial arts and founders

Every time Soke Burdine is shown, the dojo is listed as "Indy" meaning Indianapolis; however, I recognize the interior of this dojo, and it's in Lafayette, about an hour north of Indy. This is Burdine's dojo. (For some reason in Indiana, it's common to generalize the radius of a city like this.) In all photos, he's the oldest man present, white hair, glasses, big smile in many of them. For those rolling their eyes at the bright red gi, I will point out that in all but one photo his gi is good old-fashioned white. In person, I have never actually seen the red gi, and I suspect that it was used for posed publicity photos and nothing else. The gi and belt that I have seen him wear looks about as old as he does...

Multiple references to Burdine as one of this man's instructors.

Single guestbook entry referring to Burdine.

Nearly identical biographies, single reference to Burdine.

Hope that helps -- or at least provides a jumping-off point for people to pursue their own digging... :cool:


04-20-2004, 01:58 PM
Ooh! Just found something a bit more concret -- I had been curious about Burdine's lineage myself...


Looks good to me... but then, we've established that I'm a newbie. :cool:

Ron Tisdale
04-20-2004, 02:19 PM
Hideo Ohba was top notch, as was Tohei. Note though that this chart does not mention what ranking he recieved in what I assume would be ki society and shodokan aikido. It could be that he received shodan from these gents, or that he received godan...we don't know. So take that chart with a grain of salt...

As to the Daito ryu stuff from Williams...well, lets just say there are some interesting threads on Williams on e-budo as well. Buyer beware...but if you like what you're doing, why should what anyone else thinks matter?


04-20-2004, 02:29 PM
:D That's kind of my thinking as well, Ron. I was able to establish that he's neither A: a bully, or B: out to get my money, and on top of that his students seem to be learning, enjoying themselves, and not crawling off the mat in agony.

As for the rest, I've decided that as a screaming white belt newbie I don't need to get involved with political/legal/interpersonal stuff. I'm still wondering whether I'll be able to do a roll on the mat without landing on my head.

Heh. :cool:

Heather, self-designated as this forum's token screaming white-belt newbie (SWBN for short)

07-18-2004, 11:17 PM
Quote from his website:

.....Soke Burdine, in addition to his recognition as an Aikido Grand Master, is also the head of his own Aikido System (Kokon Ryu Aikido/Aiki Jutsu), and he is the head of the family Kokon Ryu BuJutsu Renmei International.....

What rank does one need to be to be recognized as an Aikido Grandmaster in addition to his own system? Where would one get this title? Would it be in the Aikikai, Shodokan, Ki Society, Yoshinkan, Tomiki.....? :crazy:

Does anyone know? Anyone, anyone, anyone? Beuller, Beuller, Beuller? :hypno:

Joshua Sloan
08-08-2009, 09:19 PM
Hello, everyone! Although I realize this is something of a dormant thread at this point, I thought I would offer myself up to answer to the best of my ability any questions that anyone might still have about Thomas Burdine Soke.

I currently serve as an uchi deshi in the Aikido Club of Lafayette where Burdine Soke teaches, and I have studied with him for the past seven years. In addition to studying Aikido with Burdine Soke, I received four years of training in the Yoseikan style of Aikido prior to my relocation to Lafayette, as well as training in the Aikikai style during my travels. Consequently, although I am by no means an expert, I feel sufficiently competent to objectively address any questions or concerns anyone might have. Additionally, if there are any questions I cannot readily answer, I could just ask the man himself and get back to you.

Though I don't have time at the moment to detail his lineage in Aikido or any of the other arts in which he holds high rank, I have access to many of his certificates and documents and may find time in the near future to discuss this.

What I'll say for now: 1) His Aikido is very real, very honest, and he is still a tremendously dedicated and active Aikidoka, even in his mid-seventies. 2) He doesn't care about rank or title, contrary to what many might believe when they only read about him online and have never trained with him regularly. 3) He doesn't care about money and in no way uses his ranks or titles to attract students or make money. To the best of my knowledge, our school has never been profitable and has been sustained over the years through the personal financing and love of Soke and his Shihans. Additionally, not only does Burdine Soke not use his ranks or titles for business purposes, he refuses to advertise the school inasmuch as he believes an Aikido school should be a place of learning and in no way a place of business.

While I fully recognize that the manner in which he "founded" his style and organization may be viewed as unorthodox and that some of the organizations in which he played a role and from which he received titles over the years may be viewed as nepotistic and of questionable value to the martial arts community, I can say that he had largely legitimate reasons for proceeding as he did rather than continuing within an existing Aikido organization, with these reasons dealing mainly with his negative opinion of the politics at work within existing Aikido organizations at the time.

In the end, I feel affiliations, style, rank, title, etc. are largely irrelevant, and that what ultimately matters is one's degree of skill, dedication, and level of personal development, which, of course, cannot be accurately assessed through what one reads online, without having trained with the individual personally or without, at least, having conversed with people personally familiar with the individual in question.

Thank you for your time, and feel free pick my brain about Thomas Burdine, inasmuch as it's been a recent project of mine to begin piecing together his lineages for our records.

Have a good day!


Gernot Hassenpflug
08-09-2009, 06:06 AM
Thanks for the post Joshua, and hat's off to Mr. Burkine for continuing into his 70's doing something he loves.