Hanshi William R. Hayes, USMC (Ret.)
Major Hayes was born on May 15th, 1945, in New York City and enlisted in the United States Marine
Corps in August of 1964. While on active duty he served at a number of major posts including two tours of
duty in Iwakuni, Japan, and three tours on the island of Okinawa, where he capitalized on the availability of
martial arts instruction in an effort to continue his karate training, which began in 1960. He also served two
voluntary tours of duty in Vietnam (66-67 & 69-70). During his second tour as a Staff Sergeant he was part
of a martial arts demonstration and instructional team that helped teach over 450 Vietnamese Nationals.
His efforts resulted in a number of awards and commendations.
In 1973, after nine years of enlisted service, Hayes was recommended and selected for both the ranks of
Gunnery Sergeant and Warrant Officer. He chose to become a Marine Officer and graduated as his
platoon's Honor Man from the Warrant Officer Candidate Course at Quantico, Virginia, in February of
1974 and, after further schooling, served in a number of key billets as a Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant
Officer, Company Grade Officer, and Field Grade Officer. He retired in the grade of Major in October of
1990, the highest grade attainable in his military occupational specialty at the time.
The Major is the Past President of the U. S. branches of the Okinawan Shorin-ryu Karate-do International
Association and is also the past Historian of that Okinawa-based organization. He has served as the editor
for the Okinawan Shorin-ryu Karate-do International Association's journal and now writes and publishes a
quarterly international martial arts newsletter. Additionally, he is the author of, My Journey With The
Grandmaster, a book centering on his experiences on Okinawa which has been read in nine countries and
which was awarded The Writer's Digest Certificate of Merit.
Major Hayes' teaching credentials as well as his black belt certificates and his red and white belt were
personally awarded to him by his instructor, Grandmaster Eizo Shimabukuro, 10th Dan, of Okinawa,
world-wide head of the Shobayashi-ryu Karate system. Bill Hayes is one of the most senior and wellknown
of the Grandmaster's students and has dedicated much of his life to the study, preservation, and
propagation of Okinawan martial culture. Major Hayes has appeared several times on the cover of
OFFICIAL KARATE magazine and is listed in the Encyclopedia of Martial Arts (Martial Arts:
Traditions, History, People). He has also appeared in England FIGHTING ARTS
INTERNATIONAL, Norway SVARTE BELTE (BLACK BELT), Ireland's IRISH FIGHTING, and
Japan's BUDO MAGAZINE. He has demonstrated Okinawan Karate and weaponry on a number of
television programs and in a number of Countries and is featured in the 1994 video GREAT KARATE
Bill Hayes has been inducted into both the Karate Masters' Hall of Fame and the American-Okinawan
Karate Association Hall of Fame. He is a charter member of the Marine Martial Arts Federation and was
awarded the "Living Legend" award by the Nippon Kenpo Karate-do Jitsu-Ha organization. The Major is
the recipient of both the NAACP Roy Wilkins Meritorious Service Award and the Marine Corps
League Distinguished Service Award, which were bestowed upon him as a result of his martial arts
Major Hayes is currently the Director of both the Okinawan Shorin-ryu Karate-do Research Society and the
Shobayashi-Kan training group. He is one of a small group of individuals officially designated "Black Belt
Emeritus" and "Subject Matter Expert" in and for the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program for having been
instrumental in the creation and development of the highly effective Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
He is a member of the Omega Chi Delta Academic Honor Society, an honor attained while a student at
Upper Iowa University. He is also an Executive Distributor with the Pharmanex nutrition product company
and strives to share the longstanding connection between good health and good martial skills. He lives,
trains, and teaches in Fredericksburg, Virginia.