Borkland is a native Washingtonian
whose first exposure to martial arts
came while hosting his own Emmy-winning TV talk show for young people
on the local CBS affiliate station. He became one of the first Americans
ever to practice a then-obscure Korean karate called Taekwondo,
studying personally with Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, the Father of American
TKD. In that same Emmy/TKD year, Herb also received a National Press
Association award for his high school journalism.
After taking his Bachelors degree from The University of Virginia,
Herb returned home to the District of Columbia where he worked as
a TV director at his old station. He continued to broaden his martial
arts background by training, first, with the late, revered Tang
Soo Do grandmaster Ki Wang Kim; and then as a student of sifu Willy
Lin, whose tien shan pei kung-fu school was only the second open-door
kwoon (Chinese training hall) in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Herb moved from media work to Marketing VP of a Maryland software
firm. At the same time, he became a closed-door student of the legendary
Robert W. Smith, the first American ever to write books about t'ai
chi and other styles of "internal" boxing , and the dean
of U.S. martial arts writers.
Herb's software firm was bought out by Martin Marietta. He became
the third-degree black belt senior instructor under Maryland-based
Jung Il Kim, a Kukkiwon (World TKD HQ) 9th dan grandmaster, in whose
school Herb has also trained in Korean hapkido.
In 1988, Herb was internationally honored by grandmaster Un Young
Kim, President of the World Taekwondo Federation in Seoul, Korea,
who cited Herb "for his contributions to the art and sport
In recent years, Herb has written scores of articles for most of
the major martial arts magazines. He is a Contributing Editor for
Black Belt magazine and was Inside Kung-Fu's 1997 Hall of Fame "Writer
of The Year". In the late 90s, Herb penned a monthly column
for Martial Arts Illustrated magazine where he was Associate Editor.
Herb is producer/writer and on-air host of the first show in television
history to cover national martial arts tournaments on a weekly basis.
Called "Black Belts", his pioneering half-hour cable-TV
program, now in its third season, is seen nationwide.
Herb is an advisor to the National Governing Body of domestic kung-fu,
The United States of America Wushu-Kung-fu Federation. For the million-dollar
1995 World Wushu Championships, held outside Asia for the first
time and attracting athletes from 54 countries, Herb was Director
of Public Relations and Advertising Director.
Herb was the first journalist ever invited to train in SCARS, the
official Navy SEALS hand-to-weapons combat system. Afterwards he
was also given the first interview ever granted by SCARS creator
Herb wrote the screenplay for Cynthia Rothrock's "Honor & Glory",
a 1993 Imperial Entertainment release which Entertainment Weekly
(4/30/93) called "fun". "God of War", his screen
adaptation of the memoirs of Medal of Honor soldier Sgt. Franklin
Miller, won the Gold Award at the 1998 WorldFest-Houston International
Film Festival, the largest and oldest independent film festival
in the country.
Herb is married to national t'ai chi champion and noted painter
Elena Maza Borkland. They live with their black-belt college student
son David in a small country town halfway between Washington, D.C.
and Baltimore, Maryland.