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Wally Jay’s 10 Principles for Execution of Small-Circle Jujitsu Techniques (Part 2 of 3)

Wally Jay’s 10 Principles for Execution of Small-Circle Jujitsu Techniques (Part 2 of 3)

This article is the second of three excerpts from the Wally Jay book Small-Circle Jujitsu, in which the late founder describes the foundational ideas of his system. These concepts are essential reading for anyone looking to get started in the art — or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, to get back to basics and address negative habits that may have developed over the years.

Read Wally Jay’s 10 Principles for Execution of Small-Circle Jujitsu Techniques (Part 1 of 3)!


Wally Jay’s Small-Circle Jujitsu Techniques — Principle #5: Focus to the Smallest Point Possible (Proper Direction of Force)

In transmitting the maximum amount of force and producing maximum pain, focus plays a vital part. Try to pinpoint pain to the smallest base possible. Transmission of energy to a wide base means that the energy is distributed over a larger area and less energy is directed to the point where the pain should be felt.


Go beyond these small-circle jujitsu basics with our new FREE Guide — Human Pressure Points: 3 Jujitsu Techniques by Small-Circle Jujitsu Founder Wally Jay — and learn how these ideas work in application!


Be accurate with the direction of force. All small-circle jujitsu techniques employ dual action of the wrists, pulling in with the fingers and pushing with the thumbs. Learn to use the extended arm movement in conjunction with this wrist action. With locks such as the bent elbow wrist lock, use the centerline (from throat to solar plexus) as the target of application.

Proper gripping when executing the technique is also very important in small-circle jujitsu techniques. Learn where the fulcrum is and pull in toward your own body to keep the opponent in maximum pain.

Wally Jay’s Small-Circle Jujitsu Techniques — Principle #6: Energy Transfer

An example of energy transfer is the application of the reverse armbar, using your knuckles against your opponent’s triceps tendon. First, use a heavy palm by pressing your palm heavily against the opponent’s forearm below his elbow. Then transfer the energy from there to the point of focus above the elbow, driving your knuckles directly into the tendon of the triceps.

This energy transfer breaks your opponent’s resistance more effectively than if you were to apply force to the area of focus immediately. His weak resistance is caused by applying the heavy palm below the elbow and then transferring the energy above the elbow.

Kai Sai (Chris Casey), a leader in Chinese martial arts, explains that the opponent’s inability to resist is because of “chi bleeding” caused by the energy transfer. When your palm is placed heavily against the back of the forearm below the elbow, the opponent’s chi meets to resist the force at the opposite side, the front of the forearm. This leaves the rest of the arm above the elbow without sufficient chi to resist. Then when the energy is transferred there with the knuckles, the armbar is easily set. Energy transfer is effective if the distance of transfer is short.

Wally Jay’s Small-Circle Jujitsu Techniques — Principle #7: Create a Base

“Creating a base” is a new phrase specific to the world of small-circle jujitsu techniques. Whenever there is a lot of play in the hold you are executing, create a base to stop the extra play of the fingers, wrists or any locks on the limbs.

At one of my clinics, a young girl who was very supple and flexible felt no pain when a finger lock was applied on her. Her finger was able to bend all the way back with no pain. I created a base by placing my palm under her hand, restricting the amount of play, and she quickly submitted. You can create a base by using any surface to restrict the amount of movement the opponent may have, using your thighs, body, head, wall, floor, etc.

Wally Jay’s Small-Circle Jujitsu Techniques — Principle #8: Sticking, Control and Sensitivity

Sticking with your opponent during the application of a hold or a series of holds is vital for your small-circle jujitsu techniques. To counter any resistance or escape attempt, you must keep in constant contact with your opponent during the flow from one technique to another. This requires sensitivity.

To develop sensitivity, you must learn not to “muscle” the application of the hold. You must relax to feel the slightest movement by the opponent, sensing its direction and quality. This is the most difficult art to develop, but with sufficient practice it can be mastered. After it is mastered, you will be able to sense your opponent’s intentions instinctively, enabling you to decide what counter-technique to apply to maintain control.


Editor’s Note: This piece was adapted for online presentation from a previous version published in Wally Jay’s acclaimed book Small-Circle Jujitsu. The five-volume DVD series by Wally Jay based on his book is available in our online store.

Professor Wally Jay passed away May 29, 2011, at the age of 93. To read tributes and learn more about Wally Jay, visit smallcirclejujitsu.com.

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