Yesterday I had the opportunity to photograph karate master Naonobu Ahagon at his dojo in Naha City. It was a great experience to meet another Okinawan icon. In October 2013 he was one of 7 karate masters to be given special recognition by the Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper for his contributions to traditional Okinawan karate.
Ahagon-sensei is a master of both karate and kobudo (using traditional weapons). These include the kama (sickles) and sai.
I took a few extra shots of Ahagon-sensei surrounded by some of this weapons inside the dojo. Starting from the far left you can see the eku (oars) then nunchaku, a pair of tonfa, and bo staffs.
A big thank you to Sensei Mark Spear of the Black Bear Traditional Martial Arts Center in Connecticut for helping set up the shoot.
Why is he wearing a red belt? Is there some significance?
The Aka Obi (red belt) is the rank worn by a teacher that holds the title of Hanshi. Most of the time an individual who has also attained the grade of 9th or 10th Dan, but not necessarily. The other alternative is to wear the Kuroi obi (black belt) with three gold horizontal stripes.