Our Instructors


Sensei Burke began his martial arts training in Silkisondan Karate with Master Nguyen in 1981. He received his Black Belt in 1987. He is originally from Richmond, Virginia, graduated from St. Benedictine High School in 1986, studied at Virginia Commonwealth University for two years before joining the United States Marine Corps.

He was a combat veteran of the first Persian Gulf War, attained the rank of Sergeant and was honorably discharged in 1995. Sensei Burke moved to Florida in 1998 and received his Bachelors degree from Florida State University in 2000.

Sensei Burke is one of only three students to have attained the high rank of 4th degree Black Belt under Master Nguyen. Sensei Burke also has a 4th degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon-Do and a 3rd degree black Belt in Chon-Tu Kwan (Combat) Hapkido, and a Black Belt in Bill Wallace’s Superfoot System Kickboxing.

Sensei Burke is also a Certified Military Combatives Instructor, is a Certified Pressure Point Instructor and is a Certified Ground Survival Instructor.

Sensei Burke is a Black Belt Hall of Fame member and was personally nominated for the Hall of Fame by martial arts and fighting legend Bill “Superfoot” Wallace.

Sensei Burke also has trained in other martial arts including Shito-Ryu, Aikido and Jiu-jutsu.


JackJack Adkins, 2nd dan Black Belt Silkisondan Karate, 2nd Degree Black Belt Tae Kwon Do: “I had very little formalized training but a lot of freelance workouts with persons who had trained within formal disciplines.  Throughout my professional career there were a variety of Defensive Tactics and Tactical training venues which had many components that originated from Martial Arts concepts.  As my children came along i returned to the Martial Arts in order to provide them with the tools and mind set to be confident, positive thinking individuals.  During this time I was able to focus and allocate the time needed to realize my goal in becoming a functional Martial Artist.  After many years training I was fortunate to meet Sensei Rusty Burke and gladly became one of his students when he opened his dojo.  Even as many Martial Arts disciplines share common roots, the major differences come from philosophies and instruction (i.e. Instructors).  The formal yet practical applications of Martial Arts and Self-Defense provided by Silkisandon Karate and Sensei Burke have allowed continued achievable growth along this physically and mentally demanding path.  I also hold a 2nd degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon do.”


ChrisChris Yearwood, 1st Dan Black Belt:  Chris is from Washington, NJ. He graduated from Warren Hills Regional Senior High School in 1987. Chris trained in Isshinryu Karate from 1982-1987. He graduated from Florida State in 1992 with a degree in Management Information Systems. Chris began training in Silkisondan Karate in 2011 and earned his Black Belt in 2015. Chris has two sons that train at Burke’s Karate Academy, and one daughter who watches avidly from the sidelines. All will no doubt be black belts themselves one day.




jason-pettus-giJason Pettus:  A native Floridian, Jason Pettus was born to a military family. From an early age, Jason was interested in all things karate and martial arts. His journey through the world of martial arts brought him exposure to many forms of martial arts including judo, boxing, karate, a bit of ground fighting and aikido along with his current practice in GM Pellegrini’s Combat Hapkido and Silkisondan Karate. However, Jason’s passion comes from the Philippines. For the last fifteen years Jason has been training in the Filipino Martial Arts and is a proud practitioner of Kali.

Kali is a complete martial art that has its roots in the cutting edge. Through the use of sticks, swords, knives, empty hands, kicking, throws, and improvised weapons, Kali brings the practitioner deeper into a holistic art that emphasizes the mind, body, and sprit. Kali has changed Jason’s worldview, through a long relationship with the art, he has found an irreplaceable love for finding, developing, and being in the flow. It is Jason’s hope to keep his interpretation of Kali alive and well for future generations