Portrait of Professor Wally Strauss
Professor Wally Strauss was a Master Instructor in Jiu-Jitsu, Taijutsu, Judo, Judo-do, and Shotokan Karate. During his martial arts career Professor Strauss served as honorary Director of the Jiu-Jitsu and Judo Instructors Association of Australia, President of International Karate and Jujutsu Federation; and Australian General Representative of the World Jiu-Jitsu/Judo-do Centre, Austria, with responsibility to establish classes, Academies and other Institutions for the purpose of teaching Jiu-Jitsu, Judo-do and all related martial arts in this country.
In the twilight of his career, Professor Strauss held the Master rank of 10th Dan in Jiu-Jitsu with the World Jiu-Jitsu Centre. He also held the rank of 8th Dan in Jiu-Jitsu & Judo with the International Judo and Jiu-Jitsu League and the World Taijutsu Organisation. Professor Strauss also held the rank of 6th Dan grade in Shotokan Karate.
An Austrian by birth, Professor Strauss trained under the instruction of Professors Kuehrs, Kowasky, Ascenbrenaer, and Ebetshuber, with Professors Julius Fleck, and Hubert Klinger-Klingerstoff.
In about 1951, Professor Wally Strauss came to Australia and set up one of the first Jiu-Jitsu and Judo Academies in Melbourne under the banner of the International World Judo Federation. Many of today’s older Judo martial arts masters passed, at some stage, through Professor Strauss’ door.
He taught a modified system of the Kawaishi Judo and adopted Shihan Mikonosuke Kawaishi’s approach to techniques and terminology. Jiu-Jitsu was taught following the approach of Eric Rahn, a German police Master, with Alfred Baumann’s (of Switzerland) self defence system, and Josef Kuehrs jiu-jitsu and unarmed combat and former Askoe-Jiu-jitsu in Vienna. The judo and jiu-jitsu was taught together with Shotokan Karate.
In those early days, Harrison’s translations of Mikonosuke Kawaishi’s books were not yet in circulation. Professor Strauss painstakingly translated four volumes of instruction, with a couple of his students, for his own use. He also had valuable input from Hanshi Peter Chek (later a life-member of Australian Shihan Kai) who was a first generation student of Kawaishi Shihan. When the Harrison texts became available, the pressure was eased on Professor Strauss.
Over the preceding decades, the Kodokan had increasingly emphasised contest skills in its teaching and this led to differences between Australian judoka. Some were determined to follow the Kodokan teachings, whilst others wanted to continue the original approach.
The friction increased until a meeting was held in Sydney in the late 1950’s by Dr A.J. Ross (who had brought Judo to Australia in the late 1920’s) to form the beginnings of what is now the Judo Federation of Australia. Professor Strauss and several others, including a young Kancho Bradshaw attended. Professor Strauss decided to stay with Kawaishi’s teaching system while Dr Ross and others followed their own path. A letter published in the “South Pacific Martial Arts” magazine in 1975 highlighted this argument. Professor Strauss wrote:
“We are an association completely independent from the Kodokan, teaching a modified system of Kawaishi numerical classifications, or better said, we went back to Arima-Judo, the true and classical Judo as interpreted by Professor Jigoro Kano. Matter of fact, I am of the opinion that Jiu-Jitsu and Judo is an art, not only a sport. Contest is not the final and not the end.”
A name change resulted with the formation of the Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and Karate Instructors Association of Australia with Professor Strauss as its Honorary Director and President. As Professor Strauss said about himself:
“I am 5 feet 3 inches, 9 stone, and I am 67 years old (in 1975); that about makes me the oldest active Instructor. I am still standing 3 to 4 days a week on the mats teaching. My reputation from some say I am a dirty professional and asking too much on clean technique and that l am not satisfied with today’s trend of knowing only four throws to win contests. That is true. I believe knowledge, skill, and proficiency in all throwing techniques are important to improve and ripen the technique of such contestants for their sport AND their self-defence. Our aim is to raise responsible Instructors”
Kancho “Brad” Bradshaw continued in the tradition of his Master Professor Strauss, and followed the philosophy of providing an individual with good health, intelligence, good character and the ability to know worth, using the martial art as a vehicle to achieve this aim. The Federation continues this tradition, striving not only to teach students to become good martial artists, but good teachers who can show others the correct path to take, as we all learn from the journey, in good company.