Professor Richard P. Rickerts

Professor Richard P. Rickerts was born on July 18, 1906, in Petaluma, California. In 1927 at the age of Twenty-one, he was struck with wanderlust and traveled up and down California. He also took up boxing and in October of 1929, he won the Pacific Coast Jr. Amateur Lightweight Boxing Championship.

Rickerts took a freighter to Hawaii in September 1931 and joined the Coast Guard in 1932. He boxed for the Coast Guard then retired from that activity in 1932. A few months later he ended up taking a jujitsu class taught by Professor Okazaki. He enjoyed the class, but after three months of practice, he suffered a badly dislocated ankle that kept him limping for more than a year.

On November 1, 1935, Rickerts enrolled in the Army & Navy YMCA Jujitsu class with instructor Harold E. McLean – a student of Professor Okazaki’s. On May 25, 1936, Rickerts was awarded the brown obi, by Instructor McLean. Rickerts noted that he had never been so enthused over anything in his life as Jujitsu. He was fully determined to earn the first rank and be awarded the black obi.

Sensei McLean passed away in 1938, and at that point, Richard Rickerts came under the tutelage of Professor Okazaki. On January 7, 1939, he received his Shodan from Professor Okazaki. Rickerts left Oahu on December 6, 1941, and settled in the Oakland area where he continued to teach jujitsu and massage in Oakland and later in San Mateo.

Along with Bud Estes, Ray Law, and John Cahill, Rickerts founded the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation in 1958. Professor Rickerts suffered from Parkinson’s disease beginning in the late 1960’s and retired from teaching. He passed away in 1989.

Rickerts was known as the “Dean of Professors” and was well known for his compilation of the massage arts.

Professor Rickerts produced such jujitsu legends as Theodoer “Tony” Muran, Steve Byzek, and Al Holtmann