The History of Small Circle Jujitsu
The Japanese combat techniques of Jujutsu (also commonly known
as Jujitsu and other spellings) date back at least 2000 years.
The exact origins of jujutsu are unclear, as most of it's history
was only passed on in the oral tradition. The few early written
references show that it's origins date back to mythology. Jujutsu
was formalized and most popular during the Edo period of Japan.
This was the era of the Samurai. Jujutsu was the samurai's main
set of combat techniques, after the sword that is. There have
been many, many styles (or ryu) of Jujutsu throughout the history
of Japan and more recently the rest of the world.
The origins of Small Circle Jujitsu are based on the 2000 year
old classical jujitsu, but the revelation of the small circle
emphasis dates back to approximately 1944. The founder, Professor
Wally Jay studied a style known as Kodenkan
Jujitsu from Professor
Henry S. Okazaki in Hawaii. Professor Okazaki had studied
classical jujutsu styles of yoshin, kosagabe and iwaga, as well
as studying Okinawan karate, Filipino knife fighting, Hawaiian
lua, the art of throwing a Spanish dirk, boxing, wrestling and
kung fu. Professor Okazaki was somewhat of a rebel, as he broke
away from tradition on several occasions. He developed his own
style of jujitsu called Kodenkan Jujitsu, as well as teaching
non-Japanese, which was unheard of.
Professor Jay had studied boxing, weightlifting, judo and jujitsu
from various instructors before 1944, when he received his black
belt in Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Jitsu from Okazaki. Professor Jay
became aware of the fact that there was something missing with
Jujitsu, the way he learned it. The knowledge he gained from
the other disciplines and Okazaki's own multi-disciplinary background
gave him the perspective to see how classical jujitsu could
be improved. It was his two years of judo study under Ken Kawachi
that gave him the key to small circle. Sensei Kawachi stressed
the use of the wrist action to gain superior leverage. Wrist
action is the key to Small Circle Jujitsu. Over the years he
made radical changes in the jujitsu techniques he acquired,
believing that this was what his teacher, Professor Okazaki
would have wanted. A point in fact is that Professor Okazaki
himself was somewhat of a rebel, as he broke away from tradition
on several occasions. He taught non-Japanese as well as developing
his own style of jujitsu, called Kodenkan Jujitsu.
Professor Jay's years of experience in classical jujitsu, judo,
boxing, weightlifting, wrestling, aikido, kung fu, other martial
arts training, and many periods of trial and error, led him
to develop his theory known as Small Circle Theory. His goal
was to refine and improve upon the techniques by combining the
best of everything he learned in different disciplines. The
small circle theory is a proven scientific method that rapidly
became accepted by the martial arts world as an acclaimed and
accredited system. The small circle theory is not only applicable
to jujitsu, but it blends in beautifully with other styles of
martial arts. In fact, Professor applied the small circle theory
to his judo teaching and led his team to become a winning team.
In 1960 he was voted Northern California Judo Coach of the Year
by Hokka Judo Yudanshakai. Throughout the 60's and 70's he produced
national champions and team winners in Hawaii, Canada, USA,
In 1978 Professor Jay, Willy Cahill, John Chow-Hoon, and Carl
Beaver created Jujitsu America. They seceded from the Hawaiian
based American Jujitsu Institute (which was the Kodenkan organization)
because they had conflicting ideologies and methodologies. This
group represented the mainland jujjitsuka who decided to break
away from the old organization. The Hawaiian leaders wished
to perpetuate the traditions of the kodenkan system while the
state-siders, being modernists, wanted to update and improve
their fighting skills to reflect certain modern realities.
This Small Circle Theory improved and cumulated until 1987,
when it officially became recognized as a complete jujitsu style
on it's own, now known as Small Circle Jujitsu. Many had recognized
the small circle system as being a separate style for many years,
but after an article in Black Belt magazine, it was official.
Professor Jay's small circle jujitsu techniques are smooth
and functional because of his creation of the flow, which interchangeable
techniques are used to counterattack the moves of the attacker.
Small Circle Jujitsu evolved from combining many sources and
elements, and continues to evolve as Professor Jay and others
enhance the style with their knowledge.