AJJF Board of Professors

Tom Ball

Tom Ball

Senior Professor - Judan

Senior Professor Tom Ball, Judan, began jujitsu in 1957 with Bud Odom and received his shodan in 1958 from Prof Bud Estes. In 1964 as a yodan, he taught at U.C. Davis where He and his wife, Jan, founded the Davis Ju-Do Kai, the first martial art dojo at the university since WWII. Hundreds of students from around the world studied with them during the years 1964 to 1973. 

Prof Ball is currently sensei of the Shingi Kan and has retired from teaching high school. He and his wife, Jan, have operated Camp Kodenkan North at their Sis-Q Ranch Camp in Northern California since 1974. Prof Ball helped establish the AJJF’s Restorative Massage Program, now known as the Danzan Ryu Seifukujitsu Institute (DZRSI).  He recently retired from the DZRSI Standards Committee after serving for 26 years.  

He is a past  president and CEO of the AJJF, and on September 17, 2009, Professor Tom Ball was named Senior Professor by the AJJF Board of Professors. As the Sr. Professor, he was responsible for the concept of, and guiding the progress of the Okuden Project.  He also suggested the institution of the Senior Instructor program which gives opportunities for advanced ranks to train and teach.

John Congistre

John Congistre

Professor - Judan

Professor John Congistre, began his martial arts training in 1952 with Professor Ray Law in Oakland, California and practiced there until the dojo closed in 1969. Professor Congistre has studied and competed in sport judo, earning a sandan rank. His martial arts training includes: sport judo, karate, kendo, and massage. His education includes a BS from the University of California Berkeley, and an MS from the University of Santa Clara. Professor Congistre is employed as a Senior Design Engineer and is a retired Lt. Col. in the Air Force Reserves. John is married, is the father of two, and a grandfather of three wonderful girls. Professor Congistre spends his spare time teaching martial arts, traveling, judging kata tournaments, skiing, hiking, biking and enjoying his family. He is currently the Treasurer of the AJJF. The Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai recognized Professor Congistre’s kudan degree and have made him a life member.

Jane Carr

Jane Carr

Professor - Judan

Professor Jane Carr, is the AJJF’s leading lady Professor, an active BOP member, and serves on the Senior Professor’s Council. She has served from dojo Sensei to President of the AJJF with many official duties in between, and is an advocate for our female membership. She is also ranked Lakan Isa (1 level expert) in Modern Arnis, and is a DZR Restoration Therapy Instructor who continues to serve as one of the original members of the Standards Committee of the AJJF massage program. Prof. Carr was an original member of the Redding Jujitsu Academy Inc. in 1960 when she began her martial arts career under Sensei Mike Byrne, and is a proud member of the AJJF 50 year club. You will find her on the DZR mat or in the healing arts section in dojos, tournaments, seminars and conventions. Her immediate family of two daughters, five grandchildren, two great grand children and the AJJF members are of prime importance in her life. Prof. Carr’s goal is to stay young at heart, spiritually healthy through DZR, and lead our youth to be of strong moral fiber.

Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

Professor - Kudan

Professor Robert C. Hudson is currently a Kudan (9th degree black belt) in Danzan Ryu JuJitsu with the American Judo and JuJitsu Federation (AJJF). He also holds the distinct title of Shihan from Professor Sig Kufferath’s Okugi class – a seminar taught by Professor Henry Okazaki to Professor Kufferath and others in the Islands. In 2003 Professor Tony Janovich, in keeping with the tradition of the Okugi class, ran the next Okugi class and asked Professor Hudson to co-teach certain aspects of the seminar with him. In March of 2002, Prof Hudson was given an Award of Excellence and the rank of Shichidan (7th degree black belt) by Professor Ramon Lono Ancho, headmaster of Kodenkan Hombu, Costa Rica. Prof Ancho was a direct student of Professor Okazaki. Prof Hudson is a sifu, or instructor, of Wing Chun Kung Fu and has done extensive study in the Chinese internal Martial Arts such as Chi Gong and I Chuan. Prof Hudson is a founding member of the AJJF Restorative Massage Program (now known as the Danzan Ryu Seifukujitsu Institute) and is the Director of Technical Standards.

more...

He currently runs a multilevel Seifukujitsu Course year round with many of his graduates going on to become professional massage therapists. In addition, Prof Hudson is a licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist with practices in California. He is the founder and Sensei of the Halau O Ho’omana Dojo, located on the foothills of the gold fields mountains in Apache Juncton, Arizona. Prof Hudson has been teaching JuJitsu since 1975, has personally opened five schools, and has promoted a total of over 50 people to the rank of black belt and beyond. Several of his students have gone on to open their own schools and have become leaders in the AJJF as well. Prof Hudson serves as Administrator of Curriculum for the AJJF and is a member of the Board of Professors. Prof Hudson travels extensively within Danzan Ryu. Having trained with many of its finest practitioners enables him to offer unique insight into the methods and principles of Danzan Ryu JuJitsu. Professor Hudson believes Danzan Ryu is a complete system and teaches it as such. To that end he, with the invaluable help of Sensei Hillary Kaplowitz, has produced seven DVD’s covering the SHODEN of DZR as well as other obvious and subtle principles.

Geoffrey Lane

Geoffrey Lane

Professor - Hachidan

Professor Geoff Lane, Hachidan, has been studying jujitsu at the Nibukikan under Senior Professor Lamar Fisher since 1977. He received his shodan in 1979. He currently teaches jujitsu at the Nibukikan in Chico, CA. Geoff’s athletic training includes five years of wrestling as well as ten years of competitive swimming and water polo. Geoff has served on the Board of Directors and Board of Professors since 2001.

Don Cross

Don Cross

Professor - Hachidan

Professor Don Cross, began his Jujitsu career in 1957 when he became a student with Professor Ray L. Law in Oakland, California. Prof. Law was a direct disciple of Prof. Henry S. Okazaki, the Founder of Danzan Ryu, and one of the four founders of The American Judo & Jujitsu Federation. Over the next few years he raised through the ranks to become an assistant instructor in Prof. Law’s unique children’s classes, and adult classes. At least once a month throughout his training he entered both judo randori and jujitsu kata tournaments throughout California and Nevada. He frequently competed against students of Prof. John Cahill, another disciple of Prof. Okazaki. At Law’s dojo he also studied Kenpo with Jim Shear, Shotokan with David Love, and T’ai Chi Chuan with Albert Soo. An important aspect of Don’s training with Prof. Law was in Seifukujitsu and the healing arts of DZR. In 1964, at the age of 16, Prof. Law promoted him to Black Belt, and later to Nidan, the Instructor’s Degree Black Belt. He continued his training with Prof. Law until his teacher died in 1969.

more...

About a week before Prof. Law passed away he assisted Don in establishing his first dojo in Sacramento at an adult education facility. As Sensei Cross was becoming a seasoned teacher of Danzan Ryu, he continued his advanced training under Prof. Bud Estes, another close disciple of Prof. Okazaki, as well as Professors Lamar Fisher and Tom Ball. He also trained in Sil Lum Kung Fu, the famous Shaolin Temple fighting style, for many years with Sifu Lee Birchfield, a disciple of Grand Master T.Y. Wong. In order to enhance and expand his knowledge and skill in the healing arts, Prof. Cross studied Swedish massage at the California School of Massage, where he was certified as a Massage Therapist in 1978. In 1980, with the blessings of Prof. Bud Estes, he worked with a small group of Jujitsu teachers, including Bob Hudson and Jane Carr, to establish the first Japanese Restorative Massage Certification Program for the AJJF. The first three years of this program were held at his dojo in Sacramento. He continued his involvement in the AJJF program as a Staff Instructor and member of its Steering Committee until 1994. In 1974 Prof. Cross was asked to become a member of the Board of Managers of the AJJF as Manager of Regions. He served in this capacity until the death of Prof. Estes in 1982, and then took over his position as Manager of Internal Relations. He served the AJJF in this role until 1994. In 1992 he was awarded the rank and title of Professor, and has served on the Board of Directors of the AJJF ever since then. In 2003 Professor Cross was promoted to the Jujitsu rank of Shichidan, 7th Degree Black Belt by the AJJF. In addition, he was elected to serve as Vice President of the Federation. The U.S. Judo Association has also awarded him the rank of Yondan. Spiritually, Don was baptized as a Presbyterian as a child. In college he studied comparative religions intensely, and was drawn to Hinduism and Buddhism. He studied Integral Yoga and Hatha with Swami Satchitananda, Tantrik Yoga with Ananda Marga, and Raja Yoga with Master Subramuniya. He was initiated into Vedanta by Swami Shradhananda, of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Order, and sang Sanskrit hymns in the church choir for many years. He also completed a yearlong course in mysticism and spiritual healing, and was certified as a Spiritual Healer and Counselor by the Universal Star Link Temple of Light. He has also been initiated into Kriya Yoga by the Self Realization Fellowship. Prof. Cross studied Tian Gong (Qi Gong) with Grand Master Le Tian for several years, and was certified by him to teach this unique system of Chi Gong and spiritual development. Academically, Prof. Cross earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Sociology from California State University, and later a Master’s Degree in Education. He holds a life Standard Teacher’s Credential in California. Professor Cross created a set of training videos on Danzan Ryu, Seifukujitsu, and Chi Gong, which are available on his website:www.jujitsu-do.com. He is Sensei of Jujitsu-Do Marital Art Center in Eugene, Oregon.
 

Dennis Estes

Dennis Estes

Professor - Hachidan

Professor Dennis Estes, holds a black belt in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu that is recognized by both the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation and the Kodenkan Yudanshakai, as well as a black belt in Daito Ryu AikiJutsu. Prof. Estes began training in 1959, at the age of six years old. He and his father Art Estes began training with Jay Monahan in Pullman, Washington. Monahan Sensei trained in both Kodokan Judo and Shudokan Karate while in Japan and later in the San Francisco Bay area in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu under Prof. Ray Law. While a teenager, Dennis assisted his father (who was his sensei) in teaching classes at Southwestern Oregon Community College as well as in the dojo. When Art Estes, his father, was injured in an industrial accident Dennis covered both the PE and Law Enforcement Classes at SWOCC as well as classes at the Dojo. After graduating from High School, he went into the United States Air Force. While in the states, he trained in Judo and he trained in Thai boxing while in Thailand.  Dennis is certified in both Utah and Idaho as a Police Instructor, and while in Idaho he taught at the Police Academy. Dennis has taught both basic recruit and in service classes.

more...

Dennis is a certified instructor in PR-24 Baton, Kubotan, Arrest and Control Techniques, Self Defense, and the Lindell Method of Handgun Retention. Dennis received National Certification as a Police Self Defense Instructor. He was a training officer in the above topics for Lehi City Police Dept., Lehi Utah as well as teaching In-service classes in other Utah jurisdictions. Over the years Dennis has been in demand for his Police Defensive Tactics Seminars as well as civilian self defense classes. After moving to Utah in the early 1980’s, Prof. Estes and his father opened the Estes Bushido Jutsu Kan in Lehi, Utah. This was in 1982. A year later Art left this dojo and started Yamanaka Kodenkan in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Dennis continued as Sensei of the Bushido Jutsu Kan. While instructing here he had 5 students reach the rank of black belt. This school has been turned over to Robert Hodgkin and Tom Greenwood. In 1986 Dennis moved to Eureka, Ca. and within six months had started a new dojo. This one he named JOBU SHIN KAN, which translates as School of the Strong Martial Spirit. This school has produced more than 21 black belts, 5 of which were charter members. In the past several years, Dennis has had several students win AAU National Jujitsu Championships in the kata, free style and randori divisions. Dennis rejoined the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation in 1983 and after waiting the mandatory one year, took and passed their shodan certification exam. This was in 1984. In 1986 Dennis was promoted to nidan, in 1990 to sandan, on to yondan in 1995 and to the rank of godan in 1998. In March of 2001, at the National Convention of the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation he was promoted to the rank of rokudan and awarded the title of Professor. In 2003 Professor Estes left Eureka, California and moved north to Gresham, Oregon where he opened JoBu Shin Kan Hoku. The original dojo was left in the care of Sensei Jon Sylvia and Prof. Estes carried the name with him adding Hoku (north) to differentiate between the two schools. Prof Estes trained with his father as his Sensei until he reached the level of Nidan. At that point his training switched to Prof. Robert Hudson with additional training from Prof. Tom Ball. In addition he trained with several gifted martial artist in and out of jujitsu. Professor Estes has said, “Without the training and development of Sensei’s Estes, Hudson and Ball I would not be the martial artist I am today.” Revised by Professor Dennis Estes, July 5, 2008

Tom Ryan

Tom Ryan

Professor - Hachidan - Administrator of Curriculum

Professor Tom Ryan,  began his martial arts career in the early 1970s while in the U.S. Army. He has studied Tae Kwon Do, boxing, wrestling, Kodokan Judo, Wing-Chun, Kyusho Jitsu, Improvised Combat Systems, Kuntao, Shitoyoshin Ryu Jujitsu and Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. He has been training with Professor Robert Hudson since 1985. He received the title of Renshi from Professor Kufferath in 1993. He is a godan with Kodenkan Hombu and received his Certified Menkyo Senior Master Instructor Diploma from Professor Ramon Lono Ancho, Jr. One of his many awards was the 1999 JiuJitsu Instructor of the Year by the American Budokai Society. Prof Ryan is the chief instructor at Palmetto Jujitsu Academy & Healing Arts Center, Inc., in Lexington, SC. He is Division 3 Manager for the AJJF, a full instructor of Danzan Ryu Theraputic Massage, and teaches in two area massage schools. Prof Ryan is the state representative for the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia and is actively involved with the South Carolina State Massage Board.

Larry Nolte

Larry Nolte

Professor - Shichidan

Professor Larry Nolte, began training in 1958 with Prof Tom Ball. In Sept. of 1960, he was awarded his shodan by Prof Bud Estes and Prof Tom Ball during the opening of the Medford Judo Academy. He became sensei of the Medford Judo Academy in 1962. Prof Nolte coached wrestling at the high school and junior high levels for more than 30 years. His martial arts training includes sport judo, jujitsu, karate and Okazaki massage. Prof Nolte continues to substitute in the public schools having retired with 35 years of service. The Medford Judo Academy is the oldest AJJF club in continuous operation, and has been in the same location since its inception. More than 40 of his students have been promoted to shodan or higher degrees. Professor Nolte graduated from the 2003 Okugi course taught by Professor Janovich, where he received a Kaidensho and teaching title of Shihan.

Sheryl Hager

Sheryl Hager

Professor - Shichidan - Co-Administrator of Internal Relations

Professor Sheryl Hager, has been a student of Danzan Ryu for over 30 years, beginning her training with her mother and father, Jim and Jane Dean, in May 1966 at the Redding Jujitsu Academy. Prof Hager has studied a wide range of other martial arts including: Parker’s Kenpo, Tai Chi, and Shotokan Karate. She formed the Hale O Lima Kokua Martial Arts Center in Sacramento in 1980 and continues to instruct special classes there. Prof Hager is a Certified Massage Technician in the art of Seifukujitsu, has served as an assistant instructor for the AJJF Massage Program and maintains her own massage clinic at the RJA.

Tom Hill

Tom Hill

Professor - Shichidan

Professor Tom Hill, has studied Danzan Ryu Jujitsu since 1971. In 1982 he opened his dojo, Shumpukan, in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and continues to practice martial arts four days a week. He also holds the rank of sandan in kendo with the All American Kendo Association and the rank of sandan in Iaido in the Meshin Muso Ryu style. He was Region IV Treasurer for several years and Public Relations Manager with the Board of Managers.

Robert Hodgkin

Robert Hodgkin

Professor - Shichidan - Co-Administrator of Internal Relations

Professor Robert Hodgkin, began studying Jujitsu in 1982 under the instruction of Professor Gene Edwards at his dojo in Calistoga, California. Robert then moved to Provo, Utah, in 1984 and joined the Lehi Dojo under the instruction of then Sensei Dennis Estes. Robert today runs Bushido Jutsu Kan in American Fork, Utah.

Kevin Colton

Kevin Colton

Professor - Rokudan

Professor Kevin Colton has been studying Danzan Ryu Jujitsu for over 50 years. He began his training, at the age of ten, with the American Judo & Jujitsu Federation, under Sensei Joe Burlin at the Pacific Palisades YMCA in l966. He has also studied with Professor Bill Randle at the Westside YMCA, received his AJJF shodan from Professor James Marcinkus in l976, trained under Sensei John Quijano with the Southern California Jujitsu Association and Professor Mike Chubb with Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai. Kevin started teaching for the Santa Monica Parks and Recreation Center at the age of 15. He assisted in instruction at Penmar Judokai and the Westside YMCA until taking over Granada Hills Jujitsu Kai 1983. Kevin opened his current dojo, Santa Clarita Valley School of Jujitsu, in l993 where he has promoted 47 students to the rank of shodan. Coming full circle in 1993, Kevin returned to the American Judo & Jujitsu Federation with Professor Tom Ball as his sensei. Kevin currently holds the rank of Rokudan.

more...

He was awarded the title of DZR Professor by the Pacific Jujitsu Alliance in 2012 and by the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation in 2013. Kevin maintains close ties with the Kilohana Martial Arts Association and the Pacific Jujitsu Alliance. The American Jujitsu Federation presented Kevin with the Professor Bert Aspinall Award (Service to the AJJF) in 2012 and the Professor Dick Rickerts Award (Outstanding AJJF Sensei of the Year) in 2013. Kevin is a 1997 graduate of the American Judo & Jujitsu Federation DSRSI massage program. He likes to travel and teach at seminars in California as well as Utah, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Hawaii, Colorado and Costa Rica. Kevin teaches special classes for disabled students, law enforcement, and women’s self defense. In his down time, he loves to play with his four grandchildren, who already had gis by the time they were born.
 

Martin Brzykcy

Martin Brzykcy

Professor - Rokudan

Professor Martin Brzykcy, has been involved with martial arts for the past 27 years. He currently holds the rank of rokudan in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. Additionally, Marty holds Dan ranks in Aikido and Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu. He has operated Mushinkan Jujutsu in South Buffalo for the past 10 years.

Troy Shehorn

Troy Shehorn

Professor - Rokudan

Professor Troy Shehorn, has been studying Jujitsu for more than 35 years, beginning in about 1976 with Professor Nolte at the Medford Judo Academy. He is also a licensed Massage Therapist in the state of Oregon and a graduate of the AJJF Massage Course.

Hillary Kaplowitz

Hillary Kaplowitz

Professor - Rokudan

Professor Hillary Kaplowitz is Sensei of Pacific JuJitsu Kai and has been teaching for the City of Santa Monica since 2000. Hillary began her training in 1977 in the youth program at the Santa Monica YMCA under Sensei Jim Nieto, where she also competed on the Judo team. After a hiatus, she went on to train under a number of Sensei including Mike Lynch and Ed Cook, receiving her black belt in 1998 from Professors William Randle and Leif Bennett. Hillary then began studying under Professor Robert Hudson in 2000. She received the title of Kyoshi from her Sensei in 2008 and attended the 2013 Okugi with him, receiving a Shihan Kaidensho from Professor Tony Janovich. She is an instructor in the Danzan Ryu Seifukujitsu Institute and has served various volunteer leadership positions in the American Judo & Jujitsu Federation. In addition, Hillary is a professional educator and has a graduate degree in instructional design and technology.

The AJJF Associate Professors

William G. Randle

William G. Randle

Associate Professor

Judan – 10th degree blackbelt

Tony Janovich

Tony Janovich

Associate Professor

Judan – 10th degree blackbelt

The AJJF Emeritus Professors

Tom Jenkins

Tom Jenkins

Emeritus Professor

Shichidan – 7th degree blackbelt