Martial Arts and MMA Training

Hawkstorm Academy Mission Statement


"To develop students morally, mentally, and physically, and to provide an elite training environment which will imbue them with the highest ideals of honor and discipline, in order to train men and women dedicated to the service of others, and to use their skills and knowledge in that capacity."

About Us / Mr. Burton’s Bio

Hawkstorm Martial Arts Academy in St. Louis, MO
Chief Instructor / Founder
Lance W. Burton

After graduating from Taylorville High School Lance joined the Navy and was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated from in 1996. He spent a total of 13 years in naval service, after which he chose to pursue an opportunity as an Operator with Blackwater USA, completing multiple tours in the Middle East in support of various Anti-Terrorism operations over the course of approximately three years. He was then accepted into the FBI and became a Special Agent, serving as a Counter-Terrorism specialist in southern Texas and then later serving in the Violent Crime/Major Offender (VCMO) squad which focused on combating gang activity and a variety of other high profile crimes. During that time Mr. Burton led the successful hostage rescue of a young 4-year old girl kidnapped by a sexual predator, which he considers the most important single operation of his career. After a total of approximately 18 years of government service, he decided to move back to the Midwest and pursue his longtime hope of starting his own martial arts academy.

Mr. Burton’s martial arts training began in 1986 at the age of 12 under the guidance of now Grandmaster Thomas Perry. He spent his early years in traditional arts and competed in hundreds of full contact Olympic-style Taekwondo fights, winning 3 Illinois State Titles, and becoming the Junior Olympic National Champion in 1989, which earned him a spot on the first ever Junior National Taekwondo Team. While on that team, Mr. Burton competed in the World Championships and was invited to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Once at the Naval Academy, Mr. Burton joined the Karate Team and trained all four years under Master John Critzos, a legendary Shorei-Ryu Okinawan Karate fighter. After four years training with Mr. Critzos, Lance took every opportunity during his travels to seek out other top masters and professional fighters of various styles in order to broaden his skills. He lived in Japan for two years, training in a renowned school in Kyushu, near the Sasebo Naval Station.

Mr. Burton in Middle East - Hawkstorm Martial Arts Academy Owner
Mr. Burton on a training exercise in the Middle East
After leaving Japan and eventually heading back to the States, Mr. Burton began training in Muay Thai Kickboxing, which he quickly incorporated into his personal fighting style. Over the years, Lance has trained his fellow soldiers and teammates, including various members of the Special Operations community (SEAL’s, SWAT, Rangers, etc.). He also sought out opportunities to fight in various amateur MMA events and to train with top Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) pro’s in an effort to continue developing his skills. Lance turned down numerous offers to turn pro in MMA due to his commitments with government service and most recently his decision to start his own school – Hawkstorm Academy. AMr. Burton believes that no one style is the best and that nearly all martial arts include elements that can work if trained properly – the individual dedication of each student to embrace the discipline and training required to be successful will ultimately prove the deciding factor when faced with a dangerous situation.
Lance is married to Dr. Stephanie Brown Burton, M.D., of St. Louis, Missouri, and has family living all over the Southern Illinois area.