The Four Founders’ Awards Nominating Essays for the 2011 Award Recipients

Prof. Cahill Prof. Estes Prof. Law Prof. Rickerts
Tim Nibert Cynthia Frueh Ashley Rebmann Robbin Miller


Tim Nibert, recipient of the Professor John Cahill Award
Outstanding Tournament Competitor of the year

Please consider Tim for the Professor Cahill award. He not only participates in our own AJJF contests but also gets out of the house and participates in submission wrestling contests and other events hosted by outside organizations. He appears to be motivated by the opportunity to enjoy the experience and improve his art rather than a need demonstrate any particular superiority. He has inspired some of my dojo to follow him in this out-of-the-house adventure.

Cynthia Frueh, recipient of the Professor Bud Estes Award
Outstanding Contribution to the AJJF

Sensei Cynthia Frueh has been instrumental in the development and administration of so many programs and ideas within the AJJF. She first began her service to the AJJF as Secretary to the then Board of Managers. She also served as the School Handbook Editor at that time, and faithfully collected and distributed changes to the Handbook at each Convention with reams of paper and time. This was before the Handbook was online!

Her next endeavor was to research and initiate the AJJF’s insurance program, which is now one of the most well-known benefits of being an AJJF member school. She then worked diligently at opening one of the few schools that offer classes in Danzan Ryu Restorative Therapy and the only one which is also accredited by the State of California. During all this time, she founded and was school head of the Makoto Kai Dojo, which is still operating, under two of her original students, in Woodland today.

Sensei Cynthia was also involved in developing and hosting the initial classes of the DZR Instructor Development Program. She also refined and coordinated the AJJF’s Taping Program, working on refining the taping manual and coordinating taping examiners and taping instructors. For many years she has also run the First Aid program at the National Convention, making sure there are adequate personnel to handle any first aid issues. She has also for many years now run the massage room at Convention, helping to bring supplies and offering her expertise in massage and seifukujitsu to anyone who walks in the door.

Sensei Cynthia has taken the teachings of Master Okazaki and the AJJF and integrated them into her life. She has a thriving massage practice based on Master Okazaki’s methods, and continues to contribute as much as she can to the success of the AJJF. She is truly a role model for anyone who wishes to be of service to the AJJF.

Ashley Rebmann, recipient of the Professor Ray Law Award
Outstanding Contribution to the Youth of the AJJF

I nominate Ashley Rebmann. We put Ashley onto our mat just shy of her 5th birthday. She soon mastered the tangle and then knee climb on elbows and it was before we knew it she had 45 marks on her card and she was ready for her first belt, Pink. Kathi Congistre reviewed her and it was a proud night she received her Pink Belt. She was just 6 when she decided she could teach too, for our program is set up similar to Prof. Law’s program was. Even though she could barely read, she knew that number 4 was knee climb on elbows and she knew how to count the boxes on the card. So at the age of 6 Ashley was teaching her first students.

She has never not been on the mat since the day we put her out there. At age 15 Ashley came to us and asked if she could teach her own class. She wanted to teach 3-4 year olds. Not wanting to discourage her, we said sure. She passed out flyers to the parents in our classes and within a few months Ashley had 25 students aged 3-4 years. Her students were taught Prof. Law’s coordination program, falling, sumo, and very beginning self defense skills. Ashley has continued to instruct our young students and when her daughter Alexa was born in 2005. Was 2 years too young to begin training? Not by Ashley’s thinking, in 2007 at the age of 2 years Alexa was on the mat with Ashley instructing her. And to our amazement Alexa was soon joined by other 2 year olds with Ashley teaching them.

Students who received their beginning training under Ashley have gone on to become Honor Roll College Students, Black Belts, National Judo Champions, and National Jujitsu Champions.

Ashley still actively trains students in Danzan Ryu jujitsu, she prepares students for Kata Competitions and has produced multiple National Champions. She has taught special seminars and clinics and she heads up community demonstrations. All the while making sure she is on the mat at least one night per week to train herself. And given a chance you will still see her competing herself in Kata.

Since I originally trained with Prof. Law I believe that if he was alive today he would be proud of Ashley for she has carried on his program. She is able to still perform flawlessly his original coordination program, but above all that she offers to her students that piece of what made Law’s American Judo & Jujitsu Gymnasium so successful — confidence. Ashley instills confidence in those that train under her. Ashley has a natural gift she is adored by her students and admired by their parents.

Robbin Miller, recipient of the Professor Dick Rickerts Award
Outstanding AJJF Sensei of the year

Sensei Robbin Miller has been a promoter of DZR and a supporter of the AJJF for well over 25 years. She has been the sensei of a dojo located in an “out post” area of the Federation (Crescent City, CA) for more than 15 years. She has always been more than willing to travel long distances to support AJJF activities and she takes here studetns with her when she travels. Traveling anywhere from Crescent City is an effort with the bad roads and unpredictable weather that affects travel. She consistently brings her students with her to the annual conventions, black and brown belt weekends and camp north.

Sensei Miller supports the annual black belt exams at the Medford Judo Academy and Camp North by helping out with reviewing notebooks, bringing her black belts to be ukes or callers for the exams – even if she does not have any of her students testing.

Sensei Miller invites out of area AJJF Professors and instructors to teach clinics for her students at her dojo. She brings in as much information and activities as possible for her “isolated” students by hosting and sponsoring kata competitions, taping classes, massage classes and various clinics.

Robbin has adapted to several physical “challenges” that would cause most black belts to just give up teaching and training in DZR. Arts that she can not physically teach well herself she brings in outside black belt instructors to assist her and she is also very capable and affective in talking her students through some of the arts. This must be working well for her as she has had 8 of her studetns elevated to AJJF shodan and 4 to AJJF nidan.

Sensei Miller runs a very succesful childrens class as well and an a well attended adult class. She is closly involved with her students and she is a role model for her students. She acts like a sensei. Her honestly, integrity and dedication to DZR and the AJJF are valuable assets to the Federation.

Sometimes the “little people” in the background get overlooked. Sensei Miller does not have a large dojo with lots of students. For her, quality is more important than quantity. She does not live in a large populated area and she lives and operates her dojo in a far out post of the Federation. Senseis like Robbin Miller help make the Federation a strong and respected DZR organization.