In his early years, Hays was inspired to start martial arts training after watching his uncle George (Melbourne based) being a karate champion, world ranked kickboxer and one of the pioneers in Australian Kickboxing. George Zak was the first Australian to fight kickboxing with the inclusion of leg kicks (kicking to the thigh). This started Hays’s love for martial arts.

Hays studied numerous styles of Karate then took a break and focused on Rugby League. In 1998 he decided to start proper martial arts training again. While in Melbourne on holidays Hays was flicking through a martial arts magazine with his Uncle George who recommended he train with the Sydney based Mick Spinks. It was from there when Hays restarted his martial arts training by joining the well-known Double Dragon (Jin Wu Koon) Martial Arts gym in Sydney under the guidance of Mick. Mick is an Australian Martial Arts legend and one of the pioneers in Australian kickboxing.

Hays began training in boxing, kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kung-fu and Dragon Fist Freestyle, with Freestyle being his main focus. Hays trained regularly in all of the above styles as he loved the cross-training approach. Although Double Dragon covered an array of styles that were beneficial to Hays’s development, as a freestyle martial artist, Hays continued to train and learn concepts from other arts such as Arnis/Kali, Aikido, Muay Thai and more. He is also experienced in a wide range of Martial Arts weapons such as Nunchaku, Sai, Pole/Bo and Arnis/ Kali Sticks.

The highlight of his career was being awarded the first-ever Black-Belt in the Dragon Fist Freestyle system by Sifu Mick Spinks & Sifu Chan Cheuk-Fai.

Hays has been trained and influenced by many Australian and world-renowned martial artists including Sifu Chan Cheuk-Fai, Will Soulos, Paul Fyfield, George, Nick, and Ziad Zakharia

In order to increase his knowledge in martial arts, Hays regularly attends martial arts seminars to learn, experience and understand different styles. Over the years Hays has attended seminars by John Will, Hock Hochheim, Joe Thambu & Dan Inosanto (Bruce Lee’s training partner).

Hays is still a student of the martial arts and trains regularly. For over 5 years he has been trained in boxing by former Australian Olympian and world title contender Hussy Hussein at the internationally renowned boxing school Bodypunch, run by Billy Hussein & Hussy Hussein who are trainers of Australian and world champions.

As an instructor and coach, Hays has trained and assisted a number of fighters over the years in boxing, kickboxing and MMA. His most memorable experience was being one of the head coaches for Kickboxer Craig Ruddiman who won the NSW State title, East Coast title & Australian title. He was the head coach for Kickboxer Chris Chan who won the Light Heavyweight South Pacific title and was also the striking coach for Zein Saliba who won the AFC Australian Middleweight title in MMA.

Hays is an Australian & International presenter when it comes to the topic of using martial arts & combat sports for health & fitness. He’s been a regular presenter at one of the worlds largest education conventions, FILEX. He has also travelled to Taiwan numerous times to present.

Australian Combat & Exercise

Hays is also the founder and director of Australian Combat & Exercise. Australian Combat & Exercise is a leading provider of health, fitness, sports science & continuing education services to fitness professionals, coaches, athletes and the general public.