Interviews
Posted By Matthew

Interview: Bill Hayes, “Old Student”, Okinawa Shobayashi-ryu Karate-do (Part 2)


This is a continuation of the interview with Bill Hayes Sensei. Part 1 can be found here. Hayes Sensei is a senior practitioner of Shobayashi-Ryu Karate-do and a keeper of the old ways of Okinawan study. His personal experiences with Eizo Shimabukuro Sensei and the United States Marines (retired Major) have given him unique insight into the Ryukyuan Arts.

Hayes Sensei is a martial historian, subject matter expert for the U.S. Marines, and applications expert. He can often be found providing advice and insight to even the highest ranked instructors around the world. He refers to himself simply as “old student”.

bill hayes shorin ryu karate

And now the conclusion of the interview.

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Broken Kata, Bunkai, and Allowable Differences

Hayes Sensei discusses how Eizo Shimabukuro Sensei would consider certain student’s kata “broken”. This often occurred after long periods of time away from training on Okinawa, and sometimes after the ego of the practitioner had gotten ahold of his art and changed it for the worse. Also discussed are the matters of bunkai, oyo bunkai, and tichiki, the varying levels of application of kata. The final topic is that of hacho, allowable differences in order to make karate unique and effective for each individual.
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Grandmaster Book, Hinkaku (Special Dignity), and the Power of Nature

There are very few texts available that accurately portray old style training of karate on Okinawa, and Hayes Sensei is the author of one of those books. My Journey With the Grandmaster provides us with a unique glimpse into the culture, training, and philosophy of “te” as Hayes Sensei intermingles personal stories with technical and historical knowledge. This book is not available via standard resell. If you are interested in acquiring a copy, please print out this order form or contact Hayes Sensei directly with a book request.

Also discussed in this video is the concept of Hinkaku, a special dignity that only the highest gentleman (or gentlewoman) karateka can attain. The last topic mentioned is the power of nature in our training, and how to integrate it with meaning.

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Diet, Wellness, and Longevity

The Okinawans have been studied for years due to their unusual longevity and quality of life. Okinawa is a Blue Zone, and a combination of fitness, diet, community, and low stress has created a society of virtually no crime and strong, happy living. Hayes Sensei has spent much of his life adopting the ways of the Okinawans and figuring out ways in which western culture might successfully integrate some of those “good ideas” and apply them in their own lives.
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Learn More!

If you’d like to hear more from Hayes Sensei check out the book “Tales From the Western Generation”. In it Hayes Sensei expands on more ideas regarding training and martial philosophy.