Stephen K. Hayes was born in Wilmington, Delaware, and raised in Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Fairmont West High School in Kettering, Ohio, in 1967.
Hayes attended Miami University in nearby Oxford, Ohio, reportedly because he “heard they had a judo club”. It turned out to be a Korean Tang Soo Do school, not judo, but Hayes remained. In 1971, he graduated from Miami with a Bachelor of Arts degree, having majored in speech and theatre.
In the 1970s, Hayes traveled to Japan. In June 1975, he met and began training under Tsunehisa Tanemura and then after Tanemura left Masaaki Hatsumi, who refers to himself as 34th Grandmaster of Togakure-ryū ninjutsu and is the founder of the Bujinkan (武神館) organization.
Hayes returned to the United States with his wife, Rumiko, in late 1980 when his Japan residency visa expired, and began teaching and authoring numerous books and magazine articles.
In 1985, he was entered into the Black Belt magazine’s Hall of Fame as Instructor of the Year.
He was again featured on the cover of Black Belt in the March 2007 issue. The magazine’s opening editorial described him as “one of the 10 most influential living martial artists in the world”.
In 1993, Hayes was awarded the judan (tenth-degree black belt) in Togakure-ryū ninjutsu from Hatsumi.
In 1997, he founded the martial art of To-Shin Do an art based in his experience of budō taijutsu.
In 2006, Hayes’s name was removed from the display of active Bujinkan teachers, ending his official role within that organization (Upon Stephen K. Hayes request to Soke). Stephen K.Hayes explains that he simply no longer participates as an active Bujinkan instructor.
To-Shin Do is taught through his SKH (Stephen K. Hayes) Quest locations. The SKH Quest network now spans 31 schools across North America, Europe, Australia and Africa.
Hayes acted in the 1980 television miniseries Shogun and in 2004 was featured in the Discovery Channel documentary Unsolved History regarding ninja and their practices.
Stephen K. Hayes has spent his entire adult life in the pursuit of perfection through the study of the Asian martial arts and spiritual traditions, living and traveling throughout North America, Japan, Europe, the Arctic, China, Tibet, Nepal, and India.
Promoting the benefits of Life Mastery Through Martial Arts, he travels the world as teacher, seminar leader, and lecturer, inspiring others by translating his extensive background in martial arts and meditation into practical lessons for handling the pressures and uncertainties of life. Students, readers, and seminar participants have reported that his teachings have brought them deep encouragement and empowerment, and inspired them to achieve new levels of success in their personal and professional lives.
An-shu Stephen K. Hayes is everyone’s image of the iconic master warrior sage. Black Belt Magazine calls him “A legend; one of the ten most influential martial arts masters alive in the world today” for good reason. He is peerless in his ability to share real and honest ninja combat secrets enriched by unparalleled insights from the Himalayan meditative mind sciences. His genius is his ability to translate exotic esoteric concepts from ancient cultures into practical useful understanding for Western seekers. His gift is his ability to deliver a complete and all-inclusive approach to personal security and personal power.
Charles trained under Stephen K. Hayes, through Seminars and workshop through New York Budo and Jean-Pierre Seibel, Shidoshi, until Stephen K. Hayes left the Bujinkan Dojo.