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Stephen K. Hayes

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.

Courses by Stephen K. Hayes

Da Shin

This is an extremely advanced application of principles from the Gyokko Ryu Chu-Ryaku no Maki “Middle Scroll” of training methods. An-shu Stephen K. Hayes shows how to capture a knifer’s attack. Once captured, he then stays with it long enough to sense where the attacker is going, and he accommodates the attacker in a way […]

Dan-Shu

An-shu details 弾 手 Dan-Shu (“Blink-of-an-eye hand hit” or “Bullet hand”) from Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu Joryaku

Ro-To

An-shu Hayes demonstrates Ro-To and Fu-Do katas at his annual Ninja Festival.

Instructing Earth: Grabbing Attacks

This course covers grabbing attacks and limb restraints from the side and rear, as well as tackle takedowns. An-Shu Hayes and his instructors cover in depth technique details, drills, and target work, designed to give instructors tools to create dynamic earth level classes!

Instructing Earth: Front Attacks

This course covers front striking attacks and limb restraints from the earth element. An-Shu Hayes and his instructors cover in depth technique details, drills, and target work, designed to give instructors tools to create dynamic earth level classes!

Instructing Water: Grabbing Defenses

Learn grabbing attacks and defenses from the water element. This course covers in depth technique details, drills, and target work, designed to give instructors tools to take water level classes to the next level!

Instructing Water: Striking Defenses

Explore striking attacks and defenses from the water element. This course covers in depth technique details, drills, and target work, designed to give instructors tools to take water level classes to the next level!

Magical Escapes

Explore some of the key 6th Degree To-Shin Do Black Belt principles and techniques with An-shu Stephen K. Hayes.

Kuji-Kiri

An-shu gives a from-the-heart explanation and interpretation of training in spiritual protection power projection for martial artists – the ninja’s legendary Kuji Kiri, showing Initiation into Kuji Kiri “Grid of 9 Syllable Slashes”.

Gyaku Nage Kata

The Kuki Shinden Ryu taijutsu exercise Gyaku Nage was most likely originally taught as a way to learn to fight an adversary in Japanese samurai armor. That is how my teacher first taught it to me in Japan in the 1970s.

Sword Mastery Series – Happo Giri Kata

The principle of ‘cutting the cut’ looks like a simple way to win when your adversary underestimates you, but you need bravery, precision, and well-practiced skill to make it work. We show you the secrets for Happo Giri as part of our dojo’s program for earning 4th Degree Black Belt.

Path to Mastery

Techniques to understand the wind element will bring you closer to your To-Shin Do Black Belt. Body positioning, kamae, and timing are the keys to success.

Lineage Study

Lessons from the scrolls of Gyokko Ryu, Koto Ryu, Takagi Yoshin Ryu, Shinden Fudo Ryu, Kukishinden Ryu and Togakure Ryu for advanced understanding of the roots of To-Shin Do.

Foundations of Self Protection

Learn how to defend against the most common assaults on the street with An-shu’s Foundations of Self Protection course. This is a great place to begin training in To-Shin Do.

Posts by Stephen K. Hayes

Cross Training; Yes or No?

People who do not practice To-Shin Do cannot figure out why there is so little cross training done by our students. Here are three thoughts as to why we find so little cross-training: Our base martial art is so old, that we predate the Meiji separation of martial disciplines into striking, throwing, sword, etc. specialties. […]

Clever for the Win

A relatively small raccoon can kill a much larger hunting dog with a surprising tactic. The raccoon can run up the front of the dog’s chest under the dog’s jaws and reach around the dog’s muzzle to scratch out the dog’s eyes. This is not specially taught behavior or a “raccoon martial arts secret”. It […]

Advice for Younger To-Shin Do Students

I was asked what advice I have for younger martial artists. I’d have to reply: Take it easy on yourself! Be smart. In my 20s there was a kind of prestige implied in what we called “hard training”. We actually damaged nerve plexuses and joint tissues by hitting and twisting body targets too many times […]

Too Slow? Look Again

I talked with a person who commented that our To-Shin Do looked too slow to him. He felt that for a real fight, we should be practicing with “realistic speed”. I understand how he could feel that way. Once upon a time a long time ago, I too studied a less mature form of martial […]

Let It Go

For the past year, An-shu Rumiko has enjoyed a connection to the Japanese concept of Danshari – willfully and deliberately letting go of things that no longer serve you. We are enjoying our progressively “zenified” home and dojo. Want to bring abundance into your life? First let go of no-longer-needed stuff. Get rid of the […]

Commitment To The Future

At a recent private seminar for 15 special friends at my personal house dojo, I explored 3 specific open-ended topics that the high rankers in To-Shin Do will focus on this year. First, we are challenged to translate a late 1500s Japanese martial art into relevance in 2016 in America and Europe. This is a […]

Float Like a Butterfly…

With the recent death of Muhammad Ali, I have been seeing clips of his historical fights on social media. Something caught my attention. As Ali matured and gained experience in fighting formidable foes, he developed an increasing reliance on what we call “water strategic placement”. Watch and see if you do not agree. No, he […]

Three Questions for An-shu

An-shu, what first got you interested in the martial arts? SKH: I wanted to be able to make there be peace when others chose violence and cruelty. As a small child in the 1950s, I remember seeing other children bullied and abused by bigger, meaner children. I was not comfortable with the thought of being […]

A Proposal for the Future

To-Shin Do takes the timeless principles of ninpo taijutsu and brings them into the 21st Century. Have you ever seen a proud YouTube video of a poorly trained Bujinkan practitioner attacking slowly with a non-accelerating lunge right foot and right arm, and leaving the right hand out there so that the defender can make his […]

Secret Study Now Revealed

Ever wonder what happened to me after I stopped writing the ninja book series in the early 1990s? Where I went once I slowed down my Japan trips and replaced them with trips to India, Nepal, and Tibet? An amazing series of events brought me in contact with the Dalai Lama. I started traveling with […]

Last Month’s Article

Well, I got a lot of response to my last month’s article. Mostly agreeing, but some disagreeing. In last month’s opinion, I urged you to cut out online arguing. Don’t get into political battles that eliminate half of your potential training partners. Don’t “rant” and expose focusing on what is not working in your life. […]

Modern “No Name, No Art”

Back in the Warring States era of Japanese history five hundred years ago, the ninja secret agents of the time developed a way of living guaranteed to keep their identity a secret. MU MEI MU GEI translates as “No name, no art” and sums up the attitude of the Warring States invisible warriors. If an […]

Hombu-Registered Instructors and Trainers

Our mission for NinjaSelfDefense.com is to provide every student with easy access to the best possible training material so they can understand and advance. This plays a key role in our vision to make life mastery and inner peace attainable to anyone in the world through To-Shin Do training. One step towards the realization of […]

The Ultimate Secret

To-Shin Do taijutsu is ultimately about principles as opposed to techniques. Oh, sure, we start students out memorizing things, as opposed to considering things. But that is just an expedient to match their beginner expectations. Normal people expect they will be taught how to move faster, be stronger, and to know something that others do […]

To-Shin Do Training Center Mission Statement

Interested in running your own affiliate school? Are you emotionally attached to teaching your hobby – what you like to do as a martial artist? Or are you running a business, earning a dignified living teaching effective martial arts for the most benefit to the largest number of your community members? What is the purpose […]

Subtle Signs of Attack

Since To-Shin Do is a realistic approach to street and field violence, we have to take into consideration a lot more than sport martial artists do. In a competitive ring, you know why the other guy is there. He and you have agreed to a contest of fighting skills. All you need to do is […]

MAIA Lifetime Achievement Award

When I first left for Japan in search of the ninja 40 years ago, it was by no means a happy or triumphant thing. I had a small karate school, and I was not happy with where American karate was headed. It was the early 1970s, and big hair, gold chains, monstrous egos, and cocaine […]

Boundary Setting

Winning a fighting contest is such a different result than returning home healthy and happy each day. And yet many martial artists confuse this reality, talking on one hand about self-defense, but then on the other hand being drawn into a contest when someone makes a challenge. Our training works on a “continuum” model — […]

Brain Involved in Fear

A common mistake regarding the purpose of studying the five elements is to believe that we somehow “choose” a particular element in the middle of a fight. Such a rational decision-making process would be totally impossible for the vast majority of people. Under the effects of cortisol and adrenaline stress chemicals that flood the bloodstream […]

A or F?

What does it take to honorably pass a test and earn a new belt in the martial arts? My view is that there are: Things to know (we are informed – “I know something new!”), and often… Things to be able to perform (“I can do something new!”) And then on the other hand, there […]

Kofuku no Shiori

“The way to experience happiness is to let go of all worries and regrets. Being happy is the most satisfying of life’s feelings. Reflect back on all the progress in your life and allow the positive, creative, joyous thoughts to outshine and overwhelm any sorrow or grief that may be lingering there in the recesses […]

Do You Guys Spar?

A difficult question to answer. Difficult because I know the answer will be misused by people not sympathetic to our training methods. Fast answer is there was very little “sparring” in the dojo back in the 1970s. The classics, when done the way they were practiced in the 1970s, were applied as a flow of […]

The Art of Winning

I remember a conversation I had with my ninja martial arts teacher way back in the 1970s. I was in my twenties and had just moved to Japan to become a student in the grandmaster’s home dojo. I asked my teacher what was the most important thing to remember about martial arts training. “Why do […]

Success, Power, and Freedom

(With thanks to Mark Morgan Ford) Many of us got into martial arts training with the goal of becoming successful, powerful, and free ( as opposed to living at-risk, being weak, and feeling dominated by others). Would you agree? The first step towards the goal of success, power, and freedom is learning how to think […]

35 Years of Uncompromising Spirit

Hosting our first Ninja Festival back in 1981 was one of the biggest gambles of my life. My ninja taijutsu was a totally new phenomenon on the martial arts scene 35 years ago. Yes, a few folks claimed to be “ninjas”, but only I could present evidence of actually living in Japan as a disciple […]

Three Stages of Developing Expertise

What if the point of martial arts training was to become invincible, as opposed to impressing others with visually entertaining technique? What if we trained to attune natural movements to a wide variety of possible assaults, rather than developing complex techniques for one-upping other competitors in a contest? Accomplishing great things with the appearance of […]

Mu-shin: Mind and “No-Mind”

A student once asked me, “Japanese martial arts books sometimes describe a state called mu-shin, or ‘no-mind’. If I were thinking of nothing, how could I handle an attacker who was thinking very hard about beating or killing me? I mean, with nothing in mind, wouldn’t I just be an easy target?” I told him […]

The Science of “Not-Teaching”

I stood at the edge of the training area with one of the brown belt Trainers. She and I were watching a group of new students as they practiced punching into padded targets. “Look good, don’t they? Bodies moving with the arm extension. Hitting the targets well. Getting good results. Having fun.” She nodded silently […]