The Four Founders’ Awards Nominating Essays for the 2015 Award Recipients

Prof. Cahill Prof. Estes Prof. Law Prof. Rickerts
Jordan Uggla Gregory Poretz Prof Troy Shehorn Kimo Williams

 

Jordan Uggla, recipient of the Professor John Cahill Award
Outstanding Tournament Competitor of the Year

Jordan is a fantastic competitor. He entered multiple contests in 2014, and had high placements in all of them. There is one kata contest that stood out though, and is the real reason that Jordan deserves to be recognized. In short, he exemplified kokua by taking the unexpected in stride. Jordan had already prepared for the contest with his partner to enter in his own division, as well as being uke for one of his dojomates in their division. When he arrived at the contest, he was asked to uke for someone from another dojo as well. He helped the other student with grace, good humor, and excellent effort, and did a great job as uke for them. He then went on to place first in his division with his partner. He not only managed to remember and perform his own kata and combative sequence, the kata and combative sequence of the first singleton he was uke for, but also a new kata and combative sequence that he just learned that day. And he had only been practicing about a year and a half a t that point! Master Okazaki’s Esoteric Principles say that “Amiability is the essence of success.” Jordan is on the right path toward the perfection of character that is the goal of Danzan Ryu Jujutsu. I hope he receives recognition for his hard work, excellent attitude, and giving spirit that are a part of his character.

Gregory Poretz, recipient of the Professor Bud Estes Award
Outstanding Contribution to the AJJF

One of the things about Gregory is that he always goes out of his way to promote DZR to the outside public world. He holds multiple demonstrations during the year showing his audience what we do. I think his connection with the public is a real help to get DZR in the mainstream of martial arts.

Prof Troy Shehorn, recipient of the Professor Ray Law Award
Outstanding Contribution to the Youth of the AJJF

Sensei Troy began his studies with Dan Zan Ryu under Prof. Nolte in 1976 at the Medford Judo Academy. Creating a “kids class” in 1997. Approximately 700 plus kids, ages 8 to 13,with some younger with sensei OK have studied under sensei Troy. Many have gone on to the “adult classes” Sensei rank system allows for students to test at 3 month intervals if they have demonstrated skills to test. Ranking consists of 3 yellow, 3 orange, 3 purple and a youth blue. Students who receive a youth blue, and only 3 or four have been promoted to this rank, would, with exception of a few arts, have necessary skills for a green belt in adult class once they have put their time in. With a mix of training and games, kids stay interested. Classes are well attended by parents and many new students are by “word of mouth”. Prof Nolte has received many good comments on Troy’s classes.

Kimo Williams, recipient of the Professor Dick Rickerts Award
Outstanding AJJF Sensei of the Year

It’s tough to find a place to begin why Kimo deserves this award. I met Kimo almost 6 years ago when I began my training at his dojo. The first day when I showed up, basically to see if this was the style of martial art I wanted to pursue, Kimo was very welcoming and charismatic. Although he was great at explaining the fundamental ideas of the art, he sold me on the culture and the intention behind it. Over the years, I’ve had my ups and downs in life, from relationships to building my career. Much of this had an impact on my availability to train and there were many months where I was absent from the mat. Through all of that, Kimo always kept in touch. His contact and communication was less about having me resume my training, but more so about me in general. The culture he has created in the dojo has been more about being a family, being of service, and finding the lighter side of the art as opposed to the darker side of combat. Though I’ve only had limited amount of time with othe r senseis and professors in comparison to my time with Kimo, I’ve never met anyone as passionate about teaching, who has the depth of knowledge and understanding of his practice, and someone who cares as much as he does about the progression of his students’ character as human beings. I’m sure there are many deserving of this award, but it’s hard for me to imagine anyone deserves it more than him.