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YOU ARE HERE: HOME / BIOGRAPHIES / WALLY JAY

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Wally Jay
JULY 22, 2008 BY ADMIN

The Founder of Small Circle Ju Jitsu


Growing up in the art of Kodenkan Danzan-Ryu Jujitsu, I had heard the name Professor Wally Jay before, but I did not
actually meet him until I was in my mid-twenties and training with Guro Dan Inosanto at his Culver City school on

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Washington Blvd.
Sometime in the early 1980s, Professor Wally Jay happened to be in the area and stopped by to see Bruce Lees
student, Dan Inosanto. It was one of those after-class moments and Professor Jay happened to use me to

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demonstrate how his Small Circle Theory could be applied to virtually all techniques to increase their effectiveness and
speed of application. To say that he flung me around effortlessly would be an understatement! Not only was I impressed
with the intense pain, speed and effectiveness of the locks, I was even more impressed by the flow the Professor was
able to do. The lock flows seemed to fit in perfectly with the weapons flow that I was learning from Guro Dan.

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Guro Dan Inosanto (on left) and Tim Tackett (right


Take a break with Professor Jay at Camp Danzan-Ryu.
POEM BY GURO DAN INOSANTO

We are all climbing different paths through


the mountain of life, and we have all
experienced much hardship and strife.
There

are

many

paths

through

the

mountain of life, and some climbs can be


felt like the point of a knife. Some paths are
short and others are long, who can say
Professor Wally jay demonstrates some of the painful

which path is right or wrong? The beauty of

fine points of a wrist lock to Guro Dan and tim Tackett.

truth is that each path has its own song,


and if you listen closely you will find where

Over the next several years Prof. Jay visited the Inosanto Academy on many occasions to hold seminars and share his

you belong. So climb your own path true

expertise with Guro Dan and his students. It was easy to tell that Professor Jay respected Guro Dan and his

and strong, but respect all other truths for

accomplishments. From Guro Dans side, Professor Jay was like a grandfather. I had the pleasure of hosting Professor

your way for them could be wrong. - Dan

Jay while he was in Los Angeles. He stayed at my apartment in Santa Monica, and we had some great times as he

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reminisced about growing up in Hawaii, training in Jujitsu with Prof. Henry S. Okazaki, his early years in Judo, and the
evolution of his Small Circle system of Jujitsu.
In 1988, Professor Jay asked me to be in his book, Small Circle Jujitsu, published by Ohara Publications. I had the

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privilege of being on the receiving end of many of his techniques. He also asked me to write the actual technique
descriptions for all of the photo sequences.
I have reproduced the short introduction from his book, so that interested students can learn about Professor Jays
history and background in more detail:
Professor Wally Jay is the Grandmaster of Jujitsu America. He is ranked as a tenth dan in jujitsu and a sixth dan in judo.
In 1969 he was inducted into BLACK BELT magazines Hall of Fame. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii on June 15, 1917 of
Chinese descent, Jay spent his early years as a sheltered and frail child. At the age of 11, he turned to a community

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boxing program in the hope of gaining much needed confidence, direction, and sense of personal security.

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Under Jimmy Mitchell he learned the basics of boxing and a great deal more. Perhaps this is where he learned how

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great an impact instructors can actually have on their studentsa lesson not lost on the talented Chinese-Hawaiian over

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the years, nor forgotten as he progressed through his martial arts studies.

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In 1935 Jay turned to jujitsu under Paul Kaelemakule. Then in 1938-39 while attending Oregon State College, he studied

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boxing under coach Jim Dixon. By 1940, he was back in Hawaii, studying jujitsu again. This time, howeve, it was under

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the tutelage of Juan Gomez, a top disciple of Henry S. Okazaki. By 1944, Jay had received his first-degree black belt in

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Danzan Ryu jujitsu, and the following year, he was awarded his second-degree black belt along with his instructors

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certificate from Gomez. Since it was mandatory for the new instructors to know massage and how to care for injuries,

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Jay also received his masseurs diploma from Okazaki.

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It was also during this time that the young marital artist began studying judo under Hawaiian champion Ken Kawachi. It

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is Kawachi whom Jay credits with stressing the use of decisive wrist action that would later become one of the primary

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focal points in his Small-Circle Theory Jujitsu.


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Guro Dan Inosanto (center) ?being the student?
as Professor Wally Jay demonstrates at Camp Danzan-Ryu.

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Guro Dan Inosanto practices the Small Circle Theory


as Professor Jay looks on.
In 1950, Jay moved form Hawaii to Northern California where he began teaching judo. While the first few years were

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difficult, he went on to excel in judo as an instructor and a coach, so much so that within a decade, he had produced

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many local, regional, national, and international champions in the traditional sport. By the early 1960s, Jay received his

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third-degree black belt rank in judo and was also named Judo Coach of the Year.

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In 1962 Jay attracted the attention of a 22-year old martial artist from Seattle named Bruce Lee. Lee was amazed how

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someone with little formal training in judo could go on to produce champions. However. from the many long hours that

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Lee spent at Jays dojo (training hall) with friend Jimmy Lee, the legendary martial artist saw the value of Jays broad

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background in the fighting arts. Jay had adopted various techniques from boxing, wrestling, judo, kung fu, weightlifting
and jujitsu, and brought them together in what he called his Small Circle Theory Jujitsu. Like Jay and his innovative

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instructors before him, Bruce Lee knew that talent, technique, and style knew no traditional boundaries and that
excellence carried no single banner or flag. The three martial artists spent many long hours exchanging theories, fighting
principles, and techniques, and over the following years, a strong bond of trust and friendship developed. As their
reputations grew, they remained friends, and while Bruce Lee went on to take Hollywood, Hong Kong, and the martial
arts world by storm, Wally Jay established the ten principles that would set his mark in the world of jujitsu.
Since 1979 Professor Wally Jay has devoted all of his time to Small-Circle Jujitsu instruction, holding clinics in England,
France, Norway, Sweden, West Germany, Holland, Singapore, Tahiti, Costa Rica, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and
Scotland, as well as throughout the United States and Canada.
Jay was also the team captain of the U.S. representative team that took part in a cultural exchange program to the
Peoples Republic of China. In 1985, his exhibitions with Jim Silvan at the International Wushu Championships in Xian,
China, drew high praise and applause from those present. It was after that demonstration that Jay was singled out by
three prominent Asian sports magazines, and as a result, was later invited to return to China.
From his lifetime of contributions to jujitsu and the martial arts, Jay has received numerous honors and awards. He is a
recipient of the National AAU Bud Estes Pionieer Memorial Award, has had a classroom named after him in Alameda,
California, and in 1965, was named the citys Man of the Year. For his efforts in his community, Jay also received the
Mayors Medallion, joining such prestigious company as the late President John F. Kennedy and the late Minnesota
politician and former Vice-President Hubert Humphrey.
In 1982 Wally Jay was honored at a dinner in Waikiki, Hawaii, by former students, with a long list of notable friends in
attendance, including Richard Kim, Ed Parker, Pat McCarthy, Ken Kawachi, Don Jacob and Juan Gomez. Leonard Lim,
representing the Governor of California, presented Jay with a special Governors Proclamation honoring his service and
contributions to California. With all these honors and awards the truly humble and talented martial artiest remains firm in
praising the many other pioneers in the field who have helped or influenced his own careerpioneers, who Jay says,
deserve recognition as well.
In this regard, Wally Jay is behind a drive to find a sponsor to support a Jujitsu Hall of Fame in order to recognize those

Remembering SiJo Bruce Lee


Honoring All Who Served
In Loving Memory His Majesty King
Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand
In Loving Memory SiJo Bruce Lee
July 20, 1973
Happy 4th of July!
R.I.P. Muhammad Ali The Greatest
Belt Promotion May 14, 2016
Memorial Day 2016
Thank You From Sensei Yori
Team Inosanto JJ Machado Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu Class
We Remember Guru Besar Herman
Suwanda February 10, 1955 March
22, 2000
Happy Birthday SiBak Taky Kimura
Congratulations Bryan Mossey on your
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt!
Sensei Yori Nakamura Fundraiser
Sunday February 21, 2016
In Loving Memory Ciriaco Cacoy
Canete

who have contributed so much to the betterment of this fighting art. Jay is sincerely interested in giving something back
to the art he feels has given him so much.

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Guro Dan Inosanto and his wife, Paula, with


Professor Wally Jay (on left)

Professor Wally Jay at a seminar


in Santa Monica in the mid-1960?s
In addition to maintaining an active and full-traveling seminar schedule, Professor Wally Jay serves as the technical
advisor to a number of national and international jujitsu organizations and associations. He is a grandfather several
times over and presently resides in Alameda.
THEORY OF THE SMALL CIRCLE:
Professor Wally Jays system has the following major elements:
1. Balance
2. Mobility and stability
3. Avoid the collision of head-on forces
4. Mental resistance and distraction
5. Focus on the smallest point possible (proper direction of force)
6. Energy Transfer
7. Create a base
8. Sticking, control and sensitivity
9. Rotational momentum
10. Transitional flow

Professor Wally Jay still ready at age 86.


The Small Tightening Circle:
This principle is the essence behind the entire system. The centuries- old traditional big circular movements are caused
by the push or pull action of the wrists. When applied, these larger circular movements allow the attacker a larger area of
escape. Conversely, the small circular movement caused by the push and pull wrist action, allows the attacker less time
and less room to escape. This condensed movement speeds the defenders application time and reduces the reaction
time of the attacker. The speed is directly related to the size of the circle. The tighter and smaller the circle, the quicker
the application and the smaller the area of escape.
From No Pain To Pain Involves a Tiny Movement:
The intensified action to a smaller base creates excruciating pain and it can be pinpointed more accurately because of
the wrist action of push and pull. The defender is able to control the degree of pain he desires to inflict. From no pain to
pain involves a tiny movement of the finger, wrist or palm. It may be a controlled submission hold, which may be painless
when the hold is released, or result in broken bones or dislocated joints when the action is intensified, or one that
produces partial strangulation or unconsciousness depending on the defenders discretion.

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The physics of this principle are actually quite simple. (See diagrams 1a. and 1b.) The forces behind classical jujutsu
come from one direction, whereas this system applies force from two opposite directions causing spiralling and
tightening circle.
NOTE: Earlier this year (2003) Professor Wally Jay officially retired at age 86. His son, Leon Jay, is an accomplished
martial artist in his own right and has inherited the Small Circle System from his father.

Professor Wally Jay ties up Mike Belzer


using his famous pretzel hold.
FILED UNDER: BIOGRAPHIES

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