Yesterday I made the short drive over to Nakijin Village to the home of Koichi Nakasone, 9th Dan Ryukyu Kingdom Sui-di Bujutsu. He is the 76th sensei to be photographed for the Karate Masters Portrait Project.
James Pankiewicz, Becka Tedder, and I sat down for a chat in the traditional wooden house that Nakasone sensei had recently built by himself.
He told us a few stories about his karate training, and the three months he spent in the USA traveling from dojo to dojo, challenging the members to fight. (Known in Japanese as dojo yaburi.)
After our chat, we set up the black background on the side of the house and took the portraits. (Pentax 645Z with 90mm lens. Profoto B1 with white softlight reflector.)
We then drove a couple of minutes to beautiful Nagahama Beach for some more location shots.
I switched lenses to the 25mm wide-angle and removed the softlight reflector as we needed as much power as possible to try and fill in shadows. Becka held the light, while James put on his gi for some one on one training with Nakasone sensei.
Nakasone sensei has accumulated a wealth of knowledge, and just a brief glimpse into his methods of sparring, self defense and joint manipulation was fascinating. He’s giving a seminar in Naha later in the year so if you’re in Okinawa September 29th to October 3rd it would be well worth attending. Facebook event page here.
A huge thank you to Nakasone sensei for letting us visit his home and take his portrait. We’re looking forward to the seminar and hopefully taking more photos (and even video) in the future.