Tribute & Obituary

by Prof. Tony Janovich

Original long version written in May of 1999. Taken from published
writings of mine since 1974 with additional material added.

In Loving Memory of
Prof. Siegfried (Pippit) Kufferath, 88
Revered Jujitsu Master
Born in Hawaii

Prof. Sig Kufferath was born February 16, 1911 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was the second youngest of 11 children born to C.Th. Kufferath and Shin Hori Kufferath.  Prof. Kufferath’s father was attached to the German Consulate in Tokyo, Japan for 26 years, seven of his brothers and sisters were born in Japan.

Prof. Kufferath was a former quarter-miler track star at McKinley High School, Honolulu and the University of Hawaii, he was three time Hawaiian A.A.U 440-yard track champion in the late 1920’s and early 30’s.  He also worked many years as an auditor for the City and County of Honolulu.

Jujitsu Master

 Prof. Sig Kufferath was a Master of the art of Jujitsu. He began his study of Jujitsu under Prof. H.S. Okazaki in 1937. He earned his black belt in 1941 and become an instructor in 1942, whereupon he organized his own Jujitsu club Nikko at the Kaheka Lane Judo school in Honolulu.

 Under Okazaki he studied Chinese stick arts, Kiai, (Internal strength) Karate Jitsu, Nerve arts, Shingen No Maki, and Shinyo No Maki (special lists of self-defense arts) and further studied Naihan No Shodan and Kumite (Kenpo Jujitsu arts). This was in addition to all the kata (standard) arts of Danzan-Ryu (Hawaiian School). He graduated Okazaki's Nikko Restoration Sanatorium Seifuku Jitsu (Japanese Physical Therapy) course in 1943.  It was customary for a Jujitsu instructor to be well trained in the healing arts too.  Prof. Kufferath used to accompany Prof. Okazaki on his house calls to help him treat patients

In April of 1944, Kufferath was inducted into the U.S. Army.  After completing basic training he was assigned to Special Services and taught hand to hand combat in Hawaii.  This came about after he had defeated the current hand to hand combat instructor when confronted by him during training.  Kufferath was honorably discharged in 1946; he resumed his Jujitsu classes at Kaheka Lane School.

Prof. Okazaki appointed Kufferath chief instructor of his main dojo (school) the Kodenkan in 1949.  In February of 1948 Okazaki had given the title of Shihan (Master) to him, via a certificate called “Kaidensho”, or “Full Transmission and Mastery”, others also received this certificate.  After Okazaki's death in 1951 Kufferath was formally elected by the board of directors of the AJI, American Jujitsu Institute, founded by Okazaki in 1939, to succeed Okazaki as head and Professor of Danzan-Ryu Jujitsu.  This became official October 6, 1953.  In addition to Jujitsu he began practicing Judo and Aikido in the early 1950’s.  He earned his black belt in Kodokan Judo (1956) and Aikido (1965).

Moved to California

In 1957 Prof. Kufferath left Hawaii and the American Jujitsu Institute for California.  He settled in the Willow Glen area of San Jose.  Prof. Kufferath took a position in the accounting department of Dole Company, working there until retirement in 1976.  He continued his teaching of Jujitsu at Bill Montero's Jujitsu school in San Jose.

 Later in 1960 he began teaching classes at the Los Altos Parks and Recreation Department and founded the Los Altos Aikijitsu Dojo (School).  He moved his residence to Santa Clara a year later.  In 1964 Prof. Kufferath promoted his first black belt on the mainland, Fermin Urmeneta, at the Los Altos Aikijitsu School.  Prof. Kufferath stopped teaching the Los Altos classes in 1976 turning them over to his associate instructor Tony Janovich.

 Also in 1964 a student at Los Altos Recreation, Ed Dressen, opened Nikko Jujitsu School in Mountain View, California where Kufferath became Chief Instructor.  Many people young and old over the next 30 years studied under Prof. Kufferath or received restorative physical therapy treatments from him at Nikko in downtown Mtn. View.  Prof. Kufferath taught Jujitsu at Nikko until 1995.  During this period at Nikko, Prof. Kufferath also began teaching self-defense classes for the Santa Clara Parks & Recreation Department in 1970.  These classes are still taught today by Prof. Janovich.

 In 1973 Prof. Kufferath began teaching with his student, Tony Janovich, a black belt from Nikko Jujitsu School. Tony had recently organized his own class called Kodenkan Jujitsu School where Kufferath has taught to this day, presently located on El Camino in Santa Clara.  During those years at the Kodenkan, Prof. Kufferath and Janovich taught many courses, including 18 years of certification courses in Restoration Therapy, after they opened the courses to the general public.  They founded and taught the only "Kodenkan Jujitsu OkugiTM", special black belt instructor classes, presenting "Kaidensho" to graduates, just as Prof. Okazaki did in 1948 , although Okazaki called it a "special class, not okugi".  Now, Prof. Janovich is the only instructor authorized by Prof. Kufferath to be the "Kodenkan Jujitsu OkugiTM" course instructor.  Profs. Kufferath and Janovich taught many  seminars on Jujitsu and Restoration Therapy around the country.

The Kodenkan was Prof. Kufferath's main school where he saw that his rigorous, tough Jujitsu, for which he was famous all these years, was taught and maintained.  He once told one of his Kodenkan black belts " you make sure you test by Kodenkan standards, not what I do elsewhere". This black belt had asked why a shodan test had less criteria than Kodenkan,  after being uke for a student's shodan test at another school of Kufferath's.

Kufferath's standards and philosophy were taught to Prof. Janovich and are still adhered to at the Kodenkan, unlike any other dojo. Kufferath made sure his veritable Jujitsu legacy would be in mint condition at the Kodenkan. Sometimes you will hear people say "Oh, they just don't train like we used to with Sig in the old days".  It is very obvious they have never been to the Kodenkan.

In mid-1988 Prof. Kufferath began teaching at the Pacific Coast Association of Kenpo Jujitsu on Campbell Ave. in Campbell, opened that year by a Jujitsu brown belt (sankyu) Russ Rhodes, also a Kajukenbo black belt 2nd. Rhodes had been a student of Profs. Kufferath and Janovich at their Santa Clara Kodenkan Jujitsu School since September of 1984.  In 1996 Prof. Kufferath helped organize the Pacific Coast Kilohana, a Jujitsu organization. Prof. Kufferath has also taught there to this day, now located on Winchester Blvd. Campbell.   Prof. Kufferath  started entering some self-defense tournaments during this time , using Rhodes as his Uke.  Prof. Kufferath won over 10 first place trophies during those years.

 Some of the honors bestowed upon Prof. Kufferath over the years include:

 Living Arts Treasure for Total Life Commitment to Martial Arts January 15, 1995

World Head of Family - Sokeship - March 2, 1995

Hall of Fame Danzanryu Jujitsu by Ms. Imi Okazaki Mullins (Daughter of Prof. Okazaki)

Hall of Fame Jujitsu America 1986

Kodenkan Yudanshakai Tucson, Arizona - 10th Degree Black Belt awarded September 4, 1988
Grand Master Kodenkan Yudanshakai Tucson Arizona January 1996

Jujitsu America 10th Degree Black Belt September 12, 1987

American Jujitsu Institute 10th Degree Black Belt 1993

Goshin-Jitsu Chow Hoon 60 years of Excellence 1995

Over 10 first place trophy’s for martial arts competition Jujitsu Self Defense Division

International Chinese Kenpo 10th Degree Black Belt- awarded as a testimonial that Prof. Kufferath has set an excellent example to students during courses given.  October 8, 1994

 Prof. Sig Kufferath lived his first 46 years in Hawaii and his last 42 years, going home at least once a year every year, in California.  He was truly a remarkable man always able to see the good in things, patient and always training to better himself both physically and spiritually.  He once said "The best thing about my Jujitsu career is all of the friends I have made over the years" and these friends will surely miss him.

Click Here  to read "Successs is in the Beginning" Prof. Janovich's story of training with Sig Kufferath. The title was given to the story, plus proof read and signed by Prof. Kufferath

Prof. Sig Kufferath

Born: February 16, 1911, Honolulu, Hawaii

Died: May 7, 1999

Survived by:
Brother Arnold Kufferath, of Honolulu: son Bruce Kufferath, of Milpitas, daughter Leslee Kufferath of Santa Clara, grandsons Scott Kufferath, of Santa Maria and Clint Kufferath, of Vacaville and great-granddaughter Tatiana Kufferath

Services: Colonial Mortuary El Camino Real Mtn. View, Ca. Saturday May 15, 1999 Services were held at 7pm

Memorial: No flowers please, donations may be made to the Sig Kufferath Memorial Fund 2593 Pebble Beach Dr. Santa Clara, Ca. 95051

Copyright © 1974, 1983, 1998, 1999 by Anthony P. Janovich
All Rights Reserved


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