6118-J Farrington Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27517

Mountain Quest 2024

Request More Information

Request More Information

By providing your number you consent to receive marketing/promotional/notification messages from Chapel Hill Quest Martial Arts. Opt-out anytime by replying STOP. Msg & Data rates may apply.

Request More Information

Mountain Quest 2024

Registration is now open! We have limited the number of tickets to ensure adequate space for training, camping and parking. Don’t wait to grab your ticket!

Dates: June 20-23, 2024

Join Chapel Hill Quest Martial Arts and An-Shu Stephen K. Hayes for this amazing tradition and the most authentic training experience outside of Japan! Experience true ninja training on real mountain terrain. We gather at a training ground on the same latitudinal line as the original Ninja training grounds of Mount Togakure in Japan. It’s the closest to the lineage of ninja you can get without flying overseas. Spend the evenings with good friends, old and new, around the campfire and sleep under the stars.

  • T-shirts are NOT included in the ticket price. They may be purchased as an add-on at the bottom of the registration. There will be a VERY limited number of tshirts available for purchase on the mountain so it is HIGHLY recommended you pre-order your shirt.
  • All registrations INCLUDE one catered dinner Saturday night. If you have family or friends in attendance who will not be participating in training but would like to take part in the dinner, please purchase dinner for them in the catering add on at the bottom of your registration.

Friday Experience: Misogi Mountain Warrior Training

“A waterfall cannot be silent, just as wisdom. When they speak, the voice of power speaks.”

  • Mehmet Murat Ildan

A waterfall is one of nature’s most powerful and awe-inspiring expressions. It is impossible to look at one without considering being underneath it. It is easy to understand why the Yamabushi of old Japan practiced a very sacred meditation rite underneath their mountain falls.

Many meditation practices seek to calm and settle the practitioner, but the cleansing and purification rites of Misogi place the seeker-of-power (you) in a position to face the fury of nature head-on.

As the falls seek to drive you out with their raw force and cold, they bring your resolve and personal power to question. If you are willing, the flow of the sacred water can cleanse your body, mind, and spirit, connecting you to the forces of nature and awakening deep strength.

At this year’s Mountain Quest event, Kasumi-An Shugendo’s An-Shu Stephen K. Hayes will be leading a special training covering the traditional and practical aspects of the Misogi. The training will include practice opportunities on the following mornings to allow the attendees to prepare for the traditional Mountain Quest waterfall experience on Sunday afternoon for those who attend both Misogi training and Mountain Quest.

If you have an interest in traditional Shugendo practices, nature-based adventure, personal development opportunities, and Unleashing Your Potential, this experience is for you.

Where to Stay

Mountain Quest is hosted at a private estate on Grandfather Mountain. We have a camping area, but this is not a campground area equipped with showers. We have water and portable toilets on site. For those who do not wish to camp, the closest hotels are located in Blowing Rock, about a 20 minute drive from the site. **Candidates for Black Belt are STRONGLY encouraged to camp, this is part of your test!**

If you have any questions about the seminar please call us at (919) 489-8893 or email us at rmartin@ncquestcenter.com.

Sign Up Now!

Mountain Quest FAQ's

Tentative Schedule:



4pm - 6pm Takigyo participants: sign-in, set up camp

6pm Dinner on your own


9am Breakfast on your own

9am - 11am Takigyo participants: sign-in, set up camp

*GATES CLOSED AT 11am* - anyone not participating in Takigyo must leave the mountain

11am - 4pm Takigyo training with An-shu Hayes


4pm - 6pm MQ Weekend Training participants: sign-in, set up camp

6pm - 6:30pm Warm-up

6:30pm - 7:30pm: BREAKOUT SESSIONS

***Sandan testing inside the dojo

7:30pm Camp Meeting and Dinner on your own


8:30am - 9am Breakfast on your own

9am - 9:30am Warm-up

9:30am - 10:30am: BREAKOUT SESSIONS

1:45pm - 4:30pm Training with An-Shu Hayes

4:30pm - 5:30pm Break

**5pm Everyone needing assistance to testing site meet at trailhead for transport

5:30pm Candidates: meet Hardee Hakutoshi Merritt

Family and Friends of candidates walk to testing site

5:40pm Rest of group walk to testing site

6pm - 7:30pm Black Belt Testing: demos, randori

8pm Catered BBQ Dinner and campfire


8am - 8:30am Breakfast on your own

8:30am - 9am Warm-up

9am - 11am Training with An-Shu Hayes

11:30am Group 1 meet at trailhead for hike to waterfall

[Everyone in Group 2 start packing up camp

12:30pm Group 2 meet at trailhead for hike to waterfall

[Group 1 start packing upon arrival to campsite from waterfall]

2:30pm - 5pm Clean up campground, pack up, head home



***THIS SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Ninjas are adaptable and the mountain has a mind of its own. Be ready.

If you purchased a ticket for weekend training only, you may arrive anytime after 4pm on Friday.

We aim to conclude the seminar at 4pm on Sunday. This is not a guarantee, the mountain is our guide. However, we are aware that people have long drives and we make every attempt to be sensitive to our long distance students.

NOTE: For participants in the Takigyo experience, you are welcome to arrive Thursday evening to set up camp OR Friday morning. For Weekend Training ONLY registrants, please arrive AFTER 4pm on Friday to set up camp, the gates will not reopen until 4pm on Friday. The location of our camp and training ground is private property about 20 minutes outside of Blowing Rock. Registrants will receive an email with detailed directions to the property.






Pillow and sleeping bag

Sleeping pad or mattress **highly recommended, some areas are rocky**

Mountain Quest Training Uniform

Military/earth tone type cargo pants (can be camo or solid)

Black training t-shirt

Gi Jacket

Hiking Boots or shoes suitable for mountain terrain (No sandals, bare feet or open toed shoes for training)


Toothbrush (there will be a hose available for basic hygiene needs)

Face/hand wipes

3 sets of clothes (pants and shirts) that can get dirty

Cold weather gear for evenings

6 pairs of socks

Hiking boots or trail shoes

Basic first aid (pain killers, blister band aids ets) (there is a full first aid kit available at all times and wilderness first aid trained staff)

Water bottle, camelbak, etc.

FOOD – you are responsible for all of your meals except for Saturday night’s catered dinner (There is a Food Lion in Blowing Rock if you need to pick up supplies)


If you drink coffee, something to boil water (camp stoves are handy)

Rain gear

Flashlight and headlamp

Insect repellent

Camp chair (for watching black belt tests, hanging out by the fire)

**There will be no individual campfires on the campsite. We will have one central campfire for warmth, smores and socializing.

Training Gear:



Notebook and Pencil

Takigyo Mountain Shugendo Mountain Warrior Waterfall Training

Small Backpack and water bottle


Hiking Boots

Hiking Staff/Bo

Earth tone heavy duty clothing for hiking and training

Quick dry clothing and an extra set of clothes for option water immersion *if you are looking for more traditional garb, the black SKH ninja suit from Century would be a good choice


Bring a clean gi and your belt to wear during your demonstration and randori

Cameras are welcome during the demonstrations, but please no flash

Takigyo participants should plan to arrive Thursday after 4pm or Friday morning before 11am. All other participants should arrive after 4pm on Friday. The gates to the property will be locked between 11am and 4pm on Friday.

No you do not. There are hotels in Boone and Blowing Rock to stay at. However, we STRONGLY encourage candidates to camp. This is part of your test. You will have early starts every morning. Sleeping off site will mean you have to wake up extra early to get the mountain.

No. Anyone under the age of 18 MUST be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

Yes but parking is limited. We have parking along either side of our long driveway. We really appreciate it if you are able to carpool!

Yes you may leave during training times. Please designate an adult to be responsible for your child while you are gone. You will need to be back by dinner time.Toggle content goes here, click edit button to change this text.

Yes, but not on our mountain property. Please do not leave designated training areas, the trails are not marked and are not for recreational hiking. There are many trails within a short drive from our location!

Yes. Every person who arrives on the mountain MUST sign a release form (parents, siblings, grandparents, guests, etc). If you arrive outside of the scheduled registration times, please see a member of staff as soon as you arrive.

Yes you may camp with your spouse. Anyone camping Thursday night but not participating in the Takigyo Experience must leave the mountain between 11am and 4pm. (See things to do in Blowing Rock below)

There is no wifi or cell phone service. The closest good cell reception in the Grandfather Mountain Store. PLEASE print out your directions and PLEASE let people know you will be out of reception for a few days. There is a wifi connection and landline available for emergencies only. The landline number is 828-295-6463. The messages will be checked daily.

We will send out directions a week before the event. Hollow Mountain Road on Grandfather mountain will give you a close approximation. This is a private property and we do this to respect the owner’s property.

Food that requires minimal preparation is handy for quick meals between training sessions. Sandwiches, pre-cooked bacon, granola bars, freeze dried foods, trail mix, etc. are all good to have on hand. There is a Food Lion in Blowing Rock if you want to purchase food close to camp. You are responsible for all of your meals except dinner on Saturday night.

Yes, if you have family or guests attending the black belt testing that are not registered Mountain Quest participants, you will need to purchase a plate for them. This dinner is catered and all orders need to be placed by July 25th.

Yes. If you are interested in testing for your Sandan at Mountain Quest, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/Z57CZ1iatCiVwCPz6 ** CHQUEST students do not fill this out until you have gone before a panel and been cleared to evaluate

Yes, there will be other activities for black belt candidates not listed on the schedule. This is part of their test. All candidates need to be on the mountain by 6:45am and ready to go at 7am on Saturday and Sunday.

That is up to you. There is a small bank on the other side of the waterfall where parents may meet their black belt candidate after they have gone through. Only To-Shin Do students may go through the waterfall. The hike is difficult, the hike back up is straight up hill for about a mile and is a challenge for even our most athletic students. If you do not think you are physically able to make the hike please do not attempt it, it is difficult to get a vehicle down to the waterfall to retrieve you. Transportation for those who are not able to hike is only available on Saturday night for the the black belt testing.

Some activities in and around Blowing Rock:

Tweetsie Railroad – https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48966-d267961-Reviews-Tweetsie_Railroad-Blowing_Rock_North_Carolina.html

Doc’s Gem Mine – https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48966-d1743640-Reviews-Doc_s_Rocks_Gem_Mine-Blowing_Rock_North_Carolina.html

Blowing Rock Brewery – https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48966-d4703070-Reviews-Blowing_Rock_Brewery-Blowing_Rock_North_Carolina.html

There are lots of great restaurants and shops in Blowing Rock too! If you need any suggestions, just ask a member of staff at check in.

REI and consignment shops have these in stock pretty regularly. Online sales are also a good place to look!

Mountain Quest is a one of a kind experience, just ask anyone who has been before! You will have lots of fun with your friends, family and training partners. You will test your strength and your skill on the mountain. You will see new techniques from some of To-Shin Do’s most skilled practitioners. And you will emerge stronger and more capable, with a community of friends that will last a lifetime. We can’t wait to see you all on the mountain!

Unleash Your Potential

Request information

Request Information Now!