About Sensei Hayes

David Hayes was born on Long Island in New York in 1958, his family moved to Cleveland Ohio, where they lived until he was in the 5th grade. In 1969 they moved to Muskegon Michigan, where as a new kid in the school he found himself having to fight many of the kids at the school. This was also during the times when there seemed to be a lot of racial tension in the area. Feeling the lack of security David Hayes began the study of Martial Arts at Muskegon Community College under Ernest H. Lieb in 1972. Sensei Lieb was the best instructor to be found with very good credentials. He was the founder of both the American Karate Association, the second largest karate organization in the United States, and the American Karate System, which was the first American style of Karate. Sensei Lieb also awarded the Black Belt hall of Fame – Man of the Year Award the year before Bruce Lee won it. This award is the highest award that can be given in Martial Arts in the United States of America. Sensei Lieb was also one of the top tournament fighters in the United States and passed much of his knowledge on to Sensei Hayes.

Sensei Hayes received his Black Belt in the American Karate System in 1975, at the age of 16 to become the youngest person to receive that rank in the history of the American Karate System. The style does not allow Black Belt rank until the age of 18, but Sensei Lieb broke the rules for Mr. Hayes because he saw the talent, dedication, and maturity in this young man that he would need to hold the rank. Sensei Hayes proved that his instructor made the right choice by winning the Black Belt Division in the American Karate Nationals that same year as a 16 year old. Sensei Hayes went on to win the Nationals 4 more times. He also competed in many tournaments throughout the Midwest. He placed in over 150 tournaments, competing in Fighting, Kata, and Weapons. During his days of competition he was rated as high as #3 in the country in the American Karate Association in Kata competition, #3 in the midwest in sparring competition through Karate Illustrated Magazine, #1 in the midwest in Kata Competition through Karate Illustrated Magazine, and won Top Michigan Fighter award in the first year of the Michigan Karate Circuit.

Sensei Hayes, having met his own goals in tournament competition and receiving a 5th Degree Black Belt in the American Karate System, went seeking more knowledge and a more traditional style, something which could keep feeding his hunger for knowledge.  In this quest he found Sensei Tadashi Yamashita whom he first met in 1973, in South Bend Indiana. Sensei Hayes spoke with Sensei Yamashita in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and asked to study his style, Okinawan Shorin-Ryu. Sensei Yamashita took Mr. Hayes as a student, and with his instruction and the help of Sensei Babis Polychronopolous, Sensei Hayes received his 6th Degree Black Belt under Sensei Yamashita in 1996.

Sensei Hayes, through his school the Michigan Suibukan, is dedicated to supporting Sensei Yamashita as our Chief Instructor, and dedicated to the advancement of Okinawan Karate-Do in the Michigan area, and believes that through Karate training many people, especially here in the United States with the fast paced life style and many broken families, can benefit from the philosophy and culture taught in Karate.

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