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In the Dojo

I spent Saturday morning in Naha’s Budokan (The Prefectural Martial Arts Center) photographing Tameshigiri Taikai ( the slicing of rolled tatami matting with a samurai sword).

Hamamoto-sensei swiftly lops of the head of the mat.

Hamamoto-sensei smoothly slices through the roll of damp tatami matting. The matting is analogous to human limbs in its resistance to a blade. Impressive and yet somewhat unnerving.

Another mat cleanly dispatched.

A Surgical Strike

I’m told the man in the above photograph is a surgeon. He certainly had impressive blade control, although would be somewhat nervous if he took a katana rather than a scalpel into the operating room.

Dojo portait of Iaido Master Hamamoto-sensei

After the class I was able to get a quick portrait of Hamamoto sensei. I used a beauty dish, powered by my Profoto generator as the main source of illumination. A silver reflector added a little fill from behind. Not as portable or convenient as a hotshoe flash, but I love the light it produces, and what are friends for if not to help lug all your gear around. (A big thanks to Jen and James)

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Travel writer and photographer living in Okinawa, Japan

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