World Black Belt Founding Members

Pat Burleson

Pat Burleson

"I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of America’s classic pioneer martial arts movement of the 60’s. Now with WorldBlackBelt the possibilities for Martial Arts are endless."

Pat is acknowledged at the “grandfather” of open tournament fighting in America, having won numerous national titles before retiring from competition in 1966. Mr. Burleson holds the highest American Tae Kwon-do black belt ranking from Jhoon Rhee. As a fighter he was the 1962 East Coast Championships runner-up, the 1963 Southwest Championships runner-up, and a participant in the first World Karate Championships in Chicago in 1963. In 1964 Mr. Burleson won the inaugural United States National Karate Championships in Washington, D.C. and in 1965 became the Texas State Grand Champion and Southwest Karate Grand Champion.

Following several other victories in 1965 & 1966, at the All American Open Championships in Oklahoma City and the United States Championships, on Dallas, he retired.

In addition to his success on the tournament circuit, Mr. Burleson also taught special classes for airline flight attendants; federal riot control squads, and women’s task forces in rape prevention.

Also a highly regarded referee Burleson received 12 Outstanding Officiating awards from tournament promoters and was a member of the original rules committee for the state of Texas.

In 1965 Mr. Burleson launched the Texas State Karate Championships and Tournament of Champions, the first in karate to invite only champions of other tournaments to compete. Named to Who’s who in the Martial Arts in 1975, Burleson also appeared in the film Black Belt Jones.

Currently Mr. Burleson is adding jujitsu to his martial arts resume and is a motivational speaker and president of YES, (Youth Enrichment Skills) Program of America, a behavioral program for the students in the Texas public school system. Visit his official website KarateUSA.

If you would like to contact Pat Burleson you can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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