16 Principles of Small Circle Jujitsu

Ten Original Principles


Small circle jujitsu techniques are smooth and functional because of the integration of the flow, in which interchangeable techniques are used to counterattack. The flow emphasizes the smooth transition between various locks and throws in order to remove any “hard stops”. It allows a practitioner to seamlessly transition between techniques and makes counter-measures against opponents quicker and smoother.

Small Circle Jujitsu continues to evolve from a combination of various martial arts theories, styles, and movements. It contains Ten Principles, which were guidelines by which a practitioner of Small Circle JuJitsu could improve upon the fundamental basics involved in the functionality of their technique.

The following are the ten principles that form the basis of Small Circle Jujitsu. They follow the law of sports science, and through many years of research, have enhanced the science of jujitsu:


  1. Balance
  2. Mobility and Stability
  3. Avoid the Head-On Collision of Forces
  4. Mental Resistance and Distraction
  5. Focus to the Smallest Point Possible
  6. Energy Transfer
  7. Create a Base
  8. Sticking Control and Sensitivity
  9. Rotational Momentum
  10. Transitional Flow (which includes):
    • Exert Continual Pain During Transitions
    • Create Maximum Pain Without Dislocating Joint
    • Mobility During Transition Rather than Stability

New Principles

Small Circle Jujitsu: History & Practice – Pages 34-57

  1. Two way action
    Two-way Action: Anyone who has trained in Small Circle Jujitsu for any length of time knows that two-way action—together with the wrist snap—is embedded in the very fabric of the art. There are many possible reasons that these were not originally identified as “Principles”—including the fact that they overlap to some degree with existing pillars of the system, such as fulcrum-lever-base and energy transfer—but they are now!
    Selected Applications: Locks, Throws, Neck Restraints/Escapes, Strikes, Strategy
  2. Wrist snap
    Like a crack of the whip’s tip or the blast of an explosive round on impact, the wrist snap adds some extra power to the distal end of any arm-based technique. Professor Wally always credited Sensei Ken Kawachi with imparting this bedrock principle to him when the two trained together on the judo mat.
  3. Pulse and Waving
    Pulsing and Waving: Altering the intensity and direction of the force being applied in any given technique can have a dramatic effect on the result, overcoming virtually any kind of resistance.
  4. Cascade effect
    The Cascade Effect: This well-documented natural law speaks to the power of accelerating an effect by ‘stacking’ multiple stimuli, and can be seen at play in such fields as fluid dynamics and pain management.
  5. Whiplash
    Sometimes described as ‘the push-pull principle,’ this modified striking method dramatically increases the impact of a blow in much the same way that snapping a bullwhip accelerates a hand movement of perhaps a hundred miles an hour to twice the speed of sound.
  6. Entries and exits
    While these concepts are not, strictly speaking, part of any particular throw, lock, or grapple, they bookend existing techniques beautifully and to devastating effect!

Precepts Pages

Small Circle Jujitsu: History & Practice – Pages 62-75

  1. Ever decreasing / Accelerating spiral [Rotational Momentum]
    While the name of the art is Small Circle Jujitsu, in practice, the effect of applying a small circle is vastly improved if it is a circle with an ever decreasing circumference: a small spiral, particularly when both cause and effect contribute to accelerating that spiral as it is applied.
  2. Kuzushi Breaking Balance 8 directional / 24 directional
    Triangle Theory, Eight Directional Theory, Twenty-four Directional Theory
  3. Making Space & Taking Space (Forward Pressure) [Mobility]
    Taking Space: Controlling the space between combatants is an essential tool of the well trained martial artist. When applying a technique, the attacker needs to ensure that there are no openings within which the defender can mount a counter-offensive.
    Making Space: Conversely, when resisting an attack, the defender must create space, not only to avoid being hit, but also to be able to manoeuvre in order to counter and escape.
  4. Complex Levers (Complex Torque) [Fulcrum, Lever & Base]
    Compound Lever: This is an incredibly powerful technique for enhancing leverage exponentially by using the motion achieved by the first lever to act as the ‘effort’ for the second.
    Double Lever: This mechanism applies leverage in two separate places on the limb at the same time rather than having one power the other.
  5. Combat Stance/Guard
    Small Circle practitioners are taught to apply a much more agile and fluid combat methodology: • The fighting stance is relatively high and shallow (balls of the feet for mobility) and maintains forward pressure to support hand attacks; • The hands form a guard shaped a little like drawbridge closing at the centerline, with the elbows near the ‘wood-ocean’ and palms cupped and facing outward to maximize speed, control, and sensitivity
  6. Check the Threat
    Checking any hand (or other limb) that might conceivably counter his technique.
  7. Gravity Wells
    Another product of that most under-rated of training methods— mitorigeiko—is an appreciation for the way in which true masters can supercharge their techniques by allowing gravity to do much of the work for them.
  8. Cutting the Central Axis
    A vertical line that more-or-less tracks the spine—this is the body’s central axis. By angling techniques to intersect (“cut”) this line, the practitioner can ensure proper angle and direction for application of almost any technique.
  9. Pressure Points
    The Basics: Three things are important in beginning to understand pressure point principles and practices. 1. Physical location of the point; 2. The type of pressure needed to activate a given point; 3. The angle and direction needed to apply the pressure. There are three types of pressure that activate pressure points. 1. Touch: A steady push or pressure; 2. Rub: A stroking motion or a vibration; 3. Strike: A sudden tap or percussion.Grappling: There are a few ways that the use of pressure points can enhance the execution of techniques. Generally, the use of pressure points can make the attacker weaker or more pliable to enable the defender to perform a controlling technique.Striking: Professor Wally Jay always said that you can do anything in Small Circle Jujitsu. That means you can grapple, strike or throw. The old expression, “Hit to lock or lock to hit” comes into play here. Striking pressure points during an attack opens opportunities for either grappling, throwing (including take downs), or striking for different follow ups. In the example above, striking was used to enable an opportunity to grapple, but striking can be the beginning and end result as well. In this case we can “attack the attack and then attack the attacker”.

    Throwing: As with grappling, anytime a throw is executed, pressure points can be used for control, distraction, and weakening. Disorienting an opponent will buy precious seconds to give a big advantage to the defender.

Excerpts From
SMALL CIRCLE JUJITSU: HISTORY & PRACTICE
Copyright © 2020 Leon Jay
Stirling Bridge Publications First Edition
ISBN-10: 0998065420
ISBN-13: 978-0998065427