Happy Birthday Stephen K. Hayes!

Black Belt Magazine sited him as “One of the 10 most influential living martial artists in the world.”

Stephen K. Hayes is the first non-Japanese to study the mysterious art of Ninjutsu. Now the founder and leader of his own style, To-Shin-Do, Hayes is an undeniable living legend. And today is his 67th birthday!

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What’s The Difference Between Ninja and Samurai?

SAMURAI: A long time ago in Japan…

Before Japan was nationalized, it was feudal. You know, the leader with his castle and farming citizens who were also warriors when needed. And the really cool warriors were knights. That’s what the Samurai were. These guys had a strict code of conduct and very specific ideas about honorable warfare.

NINJA: Winning isn’t easy.

The problem with strict codes of conduct and very specific ideas about honorable warfare is the fact that war needs leverage. Someone needs to be a little creative (or even a little underhanded) if they’re going to win.

The Samurai cared about their honor, so…they hired other people to do the less than honorable stuff. The Ninja specialized in dirty work. Assassinations, sabotage, voter fraud(just kidding), and all that fun stuff. Guerrilla warfare is Ninja. They didn’t have any allegiances to leaders except their own. They worked for whoever paid the most. They were mercenaries.

Make sense?

SAMURAI: Loyal, honorable, chivalrous, led by warlords.

NINJA: Mercenary, ruthless, ambiguous, led by the paycheck.