Professor Thomas Westfall, Hanshi
Westfall Sensei has been involved in the martial arts for over 40 years and is currently ranked Rokudan, 6th degree black belt.
In the spring of 1985 while at a martial arts demonstration, Sensei Westfall saw someone who he describes as the "first true martial arts master" he had ever seen. This master was Prof. Sig Kufferath of Santa Clara, CA.
After the demonstration, Westfall Sensei asked Prof. Kufferath about becoming a student. The Professor directed him to the Kodenkan Jujitsu School of Santa Clara, which was Prof. Kufferath's main dojo, run by his senior instructor Tony Janovich.
Westfall Sensei became a Danzan Ryu Jujutsu student under the professors attending any and every workout he possibly could, regularly working out 7 days a week attending classes at the Kodenkan, assisting in instructing classes at the Santa Clara Community Center, and also assisting Prof. Kufferath in classes at other dojo's where he taught. Westfall Sensei spent many hours not only learning the techniques of Danzan Ryu, but also the "little things" that make this style so effective. Westfall Sensei also studied the healing arts under the professors and is certified in Seifukujutsu and Kodenkan Restoration Therapy.
For many years, Westfall Sensei was one of Prof. Kufferath's main demonstration partners, a privilege reserved for few. Westfall Sensei spent many countless hours going over the Okugi (inner mysteries) of Danzan Ryu with Profs. Kufferath and Janovich; and by Prof. Kufferath's own account, Westfall Sensei is one of only a few students that he ever conferred copies of his personal notes.
A graduate from the 1993, 2003, and was an assistant instructor for the 2013 Kodenkan Jujitsu Okugi courses held by Profs. Kufferath and Janovich. Westfall Sensei was awarded his Kaidensho (full transmission and mastery certificate) and the title of Hanshi (Teacher of Teachers) in 2013. In addition to jujutsu, Westfall Sensei has studied Aikido and Judo and holds black belts in multiple martial art systems.
Gary Yonkers, Sandan
Yonkers Sensei joined Nikko Dojo in 2002. In 2005, Gary traveled to California and was certified in Seifukujutsu and Restoration Therapy by Prof. Janovich at the Kodenkan Jujitsu School in Santa Clara. Gary is a Washington State Licensed Massage Practioner and operates his practice as his primary vocation. A graduatte of the 2013 Kodenkan Jujitsu Okugi course held by professor Janovich, Yonkers Sensei was awarded his Kaidensho and the title of Renshi.
Ben LaBelle, Nidan
LaBelle Sensei joined Nikko Dojo in 2004. In 2005, Ben traveled to California and was certified in Seifukujutsu and Restoration Therapy by Prof. Janovich at the Kodenkan Jujitsu School in Santa Clara. A graduatte of the 2013 Kodenkan Jujitsu Okugi course held by professor Janovich, LaBelle Sensei was awarded his Kaidensho and the title of Renshi.
When asked about his experiences since joining the dojo, Ben states: "I have enjoyed my time in class and grown to think of it as a family. I have gained some insight into the world of martial arts and I believe I am a better person for it. It has not been easy, but it has changed my life for the better. I have learned much but I have much more to learn and understand. I love always having more to learn and improve."
Dane Nielsen, Shodan
Nielsen Sempai joined Nikko Dojo in 2007 and was awarded his Shodan, First Degree Black Belt, in July of 2012. Dane completed and graduated from the Nikko Dojo Basic Restoration Course in 2012, In addition to Danzan Ryu, Dane has studied a variety of martial arts which include Gung-Fu, Goju Ryu and Aikido.
Rick Benson, Shodan
Benson Sempai has been with Nikko Dojo since 1993 and was awarded his Shodan, First Degree Black Belt, in June of 2014. Rick completed and graduated from the Nikko Dojo Basic Restoration Course in 2012, In addition to Danzan Ryu, Rick has studied a variety of martial arts and holds black belt rank in several different systems.