A teacher with three decades of experience in a variety of disciplines, Shay has spent the last eight years concentrating his efforts on the Western Martial Arts. In 2009, he founded the Academy of Arms, a non-profit medieval martial arts school in Los Angeles. Leveraging his love of the period manuscripts and his experience developing college curricula, he built and leads a school that teaches ten different historical weapon systems.
As part of his work with the Academy of Arms, Shay organized a school trip to Europe, guided by Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng, former Curator of the Higgins Armory Museum and reknowned medieval scholar. Shay's group enjoyed special access to antiquities at the Veste Coburg in Germany and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, and had the pleasure of conversing with the world-class medievalists Dr. Alfred Geibig and Dr. Matthias Pfaffenbichler.
Shay strongly believes in a historically accurate, source-based approach to medieval martial arts. Every technique taught at the Academy of Arms is carefully documented in their 500-page school curriculum. Many of these techniques have been seen on display at the Tournament of the Phoenix in San Diego where Shay and Dr. Forgeng worked together for several years on foot combat presentations. For these events, Shay built and supervised two teams who simulated combat with longsword, halfsword, dagger, pollaxe, spear and ringen. All techniques were taken directly from period manuscripts largely in the German tradition.
In addition to his pursuit of historical martial arts, Shay has skydived, bungee jumped, and taken long treks into the wilderness, including many in Alaska. He is an instrument-rated pilot who completed the FAA Physiological Training Course at Edwards Air Force Base. He is a strong supporter of the community and has organized AoA volunteer efforts and contributions for Children of the Night and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Shay's college degrees include a Master's in Screenwriting from USC, a BS in Biology and a BA in English.