AJJF Four Founders Awards – Selection Process

What are the Four Founders’ Awards?
The Four Founders’ Awards are issued on an annual basis to four individuals that that have stood out from the crowd and made a difference. Each of these awards has a special meaning.

  • Professor John Cahill Award – Outstanding Tournament Competitor of the Year
  • Professor Bud Estes Award – Outstanding Contribution to the AJJF
  • Professor Ray Law Award – Outstanding Contribution to the Youth of the AJJF
  • Professor Dick Rickerts Award – Outstanding AJJF Sensei of the Year

Who determines the winner and how is that done?
The ballots will be collected throughout the year. When the deadline for the ballots is reached, the Chair of the Awards Committee will collate the ballots into the appropriate group for each of the four awards. The ballots are reviewed only for the names of the nominee and nominator at that time.

After the nomination deadline, the Chair of the Awards Committee will ask AJJF Yudansha (unrelated to any of the parties involved) to help with the judging. The Chair will ask four different yudansha to be the lead person for the committee to review the ballots for each award.  Each lead person will then find two other AJJF members, also not related to the nominee or nominator, and form a committee of three for review.  Kyus are encouraged to participate in the committee process.

The committee members are instructed to: 

  • read the essay individually and alone without distraction 
  • judge the essay portion only, not the names or rank involved in the nomination 
  • look for the spirit of the essay* 
  • do not disclose the results or discuss with others 
  • report their choice to the committee lead person 
  • above all, to be fair and impartial

* The Four Founder’s Awards are judged on the content of the essay, not the quantity of ballots.

For instance:
If there are 10 ballots for Joe and 1 for Sue, Sue can still win. This is because the essay may convey more convincing information about the nomination; although, Joe has 10 times chances to win because there are 10 essays to support him.

Keep in mind the essays are not cumulative.

Selection Process FlowchartThe committee will be given about two weeks reach a decision. The lead person will send the results along with the names of who was on the committee to the Chair of the Awards Committee. If the award has no nominations, it will be elevated to the Board of Professors for a decision. They may select a recipient or choose not to make the award that year.

Who sees the Ballots?
The Chair of the Awards Committee, Awards Committee members, and the National Manager of Events are the only ones that will see all of the completed ballots.

Each single award committee of 3 sees only the ballots for the award for which they are making a recommendation.

The Chair of the Operations Committee may also see them if it requested. Also if there is a submission via the AJJF website, the AJJF communications team may see them as well.

The engraver will see the names when the award plates are ordered. 

A few days before the banquet, the Chair of the Awards Committee will give the winning ballot to the presenter, usually a Professor, so they can see what brought the winner to the podium that night.

All of the people listed have been instructed to treat all ballots as confidential.  

What happens if my nomination is selected?
If your nomination is selected as the winner, your candidate’s name will be added to the prestigious list of recipients for that award. They will receive the perpetual trophy to display for 1 year. The next year, it will be replaced by a framed certificate to keep. The trophy will have a new name added to it for the next year.

The winner’s names will be published in the Kiai Echo and/or on the website as a winner for that year.

With the author’s permission, the Essay may be published in the Kiai Echo and/or the AJJF website. The author’s name will be acknowledged, but other personal information about the author will be removed before publishing.

Be part of the process!
If you would like to be part of the process, we are looking for volunteers to judge the ballots. Internet access and email are required because of the two week window. The ballots are typically received via the web. Please keep in mind we won’t be able to select committees until the ballot deadline. If you are interested, please contact the Chair of the Awards Committee.

Hopefully this helps clarify the process. Please feel free to call or email me the Awards Committee if there are questions.

More information on the Four Founders Awards.