Master Reginald Burford is the Oakland Eskrima Club's lead instructor. He has over 50 years of experience in the martial arts and has taught Eskrima since 1987.
Master Burford's interest in martial arts began at the age of 5, when he attended boxing training sessions with his father.
As a soldier with the US Army in Korea, he earned black belts in Tae Kwon Do and Hap Ki Do under the instruction of Master Cho. As a military policeman at the San Francisco Presidio, he developed combat techniques for real-life situations. This began his focus on simple, realistic fighting techniques in combat and self-defense.
When his Army service ended, Master Burford joined the US Navy. While at sea, Master Burford boxed for the Navy and taught Tae Kwon Do to his shipmates.
Upon discharge from the navy, Master Burford studied Tai Chi under Master Huey in Oakland's Chinatown, and upon Master Huey's retirement, took over the class, teaching it for six years.
In 1985, Master Burford began his study of Modern Arnis with Clem Wings, and Remy and Ernesto Presas.
In 1986, Master Burford joined the Berkeley Eskrima Club with Master Ed Abinsay and Guro Leo Fernandez. Master Burford adapted his knowledge of edged weapons from Hap Ki Do, and his understanding of balance, movement, and energy from Tai Chi, blending these techniques to form a unique interpretation of Eskrima.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Master Burford competed in Eskrima both nationally and internationally and won the titles below:
During this time, Master Burford was introduced to Great Grandmaster Cacoy Canete and Doce Pares Eskrima. Over the years, Master Burford trained with and assisted Great Grandmaster Cacoy at numerous tournaments and seminars. During his time in the Philippines, Master Burford trained with Filipino Grandmasters Dionisio Canete and Filemon "Momoy" Canete, and Master Abner Pasa.
In 1990, Master Burford took over instruction at the Berkeley Eskrima Club, renaming it the Oakland Eskrima Club in 2000. In the summer of 2003, Master Burford was recognized for his unique adaptation of Doce Pares Eskrima when he received the high honor of Master of Doce Pares Eskrima from Grandmaster Dionisio Canete.
Master Burford continues to train students in his unique style of Doce Pares Eskrima, telling his students, "Learn the techniques and make your mistakes in class, not in the street. Keep it simple: 'simple' works. Keep your training in the realm of reality."