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 John Angelo Digati

John Angelo Digati

Bristol, Bristol County, Rhode Island, USA
Death 7 Mar 1992 (aged 79)
Bristol, Bristol County, Rhode Island, USA
Burial Bristol, Bristol County, Rhode Island, USA
Memorial ID 8951179 · View Source
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Martial arts master and pioneer. Attaining his first distinction in 1934, John went on to be the very first American born instructor to receive the high ranks/distinctions in various martial arts including Kenpo Ju-Jitsu, Aikido and Kung Fu. Born of Sicilian immigrant parents, he first became interested in the Eastern martial arts from watching Chinese merchants who lived next door practice the ancient skills in their backyard. He voraciously learned and excelled at these skills to ultimately become an instructor who was reknowned and respeceted throughout the Martial Arts community. He taught Kenpo Ju-Juitsu to the police forces of Chicago, New York and Boston as well as Mexico's guerrilla fighters and the US Border patrol. At the height of his career in the 1960's he once again achieved the highest rank ever awarded to any American by the world famous Professor K. Nakae of Japan and had appeared in national magazines. He was an advocate of women's self defense, bolstering the equal rights movement in his own field by teaching classes exclusively to women for more than 20 years before his retirement in 1986. He was quoted as saying that in the realm of martial arts and self defense women "have better balance, are quicker and more focused [than men] and they are excellent pupils." In his latter years he enjoyed the town of Bristol that he loved so well by being a visible fixture in the coffee shops and news stands. His trademark was soundlessly gliding through the small tree-lined streets on his trusty 1928 black bicycle. In his private life he was a gentle good-hearted man who loved his family, especially his nieces and nephew and died a bachelor, still living in his childhood home. In his career he was respected, fierce and fair and he always believed in helping the "underdog" learn to fight back and survive.

Family Members


  • Created by: R. Digati
  • Added: 18 Jun 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8951179
  • R. Digati
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Angelo Digati (4 Mar 1913–7 Mar 1992), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8951179, citing Saint Marys Cemetery, Bristol, Bristol County, Rhode Island, USA ; Maintained by R. Digati (contributor 46577396) .