Karate, Karate Masters Portrait Project, Okinawa, Video
Comments 10

Karate Masters Documentary – Let’s make it happen!

It’s been three weeks since I posted the pilot for Sensei – Masters of Okinawan Karate on YouTube. The goal was to see if viewers were interested in the concept, and for me to get some feedback. This would enable me to make a decision about what to do next.

If you’ve not watched already, please take 8 minutes 25 seconds out of your day, and check it out.

In three weeks the video has had about 3500 views. More importantly, comments in various Facebook groups, and direct messages to me have been very positive. It seems that many in the karate community would like to see more interviews, and that the videos, similar to the photographs in the Karate Masters Portrait Project, would be valued by others.

Today is January 1st 2019. It’s a time for new beginnings. A time to dream big, and aim for the stars. After talking with my wife Yuki, I’ve made the decision to go ahead with this new project. My goal is to create a series of 10 videos over the next 2 years. Videos will be released globally for free on YouTube.

Who will you interview?

Toshimitsu Arakaki was the first master interviewed, and Yoshitsune Senaga was the second. We still have to shoot more footage of Senaga sensei, edit, translate and caption it, so the completed video should be online around the end of January. After that it will all depend on which sensei have the time and patience to let us interview them. I’m happy to take suggestions from the karate community, but ultimately the sensei have to be willing to take part.

What questions will you ask?

How and why did they start learning karate and who did they learn from? What were the key pieces of advice from their teachers. How has learning karate changed their life? How does their style of karate differ from others? What are their favorite training methods? What advice do they have for others? Do they have favorite kata or techniques? Are there any anecdotes they’d like to share? These are just starters, hopefully the sensei will talk about whatever they are most passionate about.

I’d love to get questions for the sensei from their students and the karate community around the world. The depth of the interview and its ultimate length will depend on the sensei.

How can the international karate community help make this possible?

To bring the production quality of the series to the next level with better audio, multiple angles of video, and to manage the data, I’d need to purchase equipment such as an additional camera, boom microphone system, and data storage.

I’d also like to cover basic expenses like gasoline and highway fees for myself and other volunteers.

I think it is important to be able to give the karate masters a gift at the end of each interview for their time. For the Karate Masters Portrait Project we returned to each dojo with two or three large prints from their photo shoot, but for the video series I’d like to give an honorarium 謝礼金 (gift envelope with ¥10,000) as a way to give thanks and express that we value their time.

To help cover all these costs I believe the international karate community could help. I’m hoping that individuals, dojos, or organizations would be excited to help make this video series a reality. I’d acknowledge the generosity of all supporters and sponsors in the credits of the videos.

$50 Individual Supporter

$500 Sponsor

$1000 Main Sponsor

Supporters will have their name at the end of all remaining videos in the series in the credits.

Sponsors will have their name / dojo / organization at the end of all remaining videos in the series in the credits.

Main sponsors will have their name / dojo / organization and their logo at the end of all remaining videos in the series in the credits.

How do I become a supporter, sponsor or main sponsor?

Click on the link below and make your donation with PayPal.


In the “add a note” section please give the name as you’d like it to appear in the credits and an email address that we can contact you to give you updates on the project along with any other comments. For main sponsors I’ll also be in contact with you to get logo data for the credits.

I’ve got questions about this video series. How can I get in touch with you?

You can reach me via email at Chris@travel67.com or through Facebook

So there it is. A big idea. I’m in, and willing to give it my best. I believe that this project has the potential to be something special, and hope some of you would like to join me in this endeavor.


  1. Robin Gregus says

    Thanks for conducting this interview. I thoroughly enjoyed it and appreciate learning as much as I can about traditional karate. I have been trying to locate traditional Okinawan music – like the audio clip you opened and closed the segment with. Would you be able to provide me with information on who the author / album is?

    Thanks again
    Robin G.

    • The sanshin music is buy a local Okinawa musician Masato Ikehara. He’s a friend of a friend I hired to record some sanshin music to use with my videos. Glad you like it.

      • Peaceful Warrior says

        Do you have a recording of the ending music anywhere? It’s really beautiful.

      • I hired a local musician to record these traditional Okinawan songs for me so that there would be no copyright issues on YouTube. I can ask him if he’d like to release them on iTunes or something like that so that people can purchase them if they’d like to.

      • Peaceful Warrior says

        Yes, uploading the music somewhere would be wonderful, if it’s not too much trouble

      • Peaceful Warrior says

        If it’s not too much trouble, uploading them to itunes (or some other .mp3 website) would be fantastic

  2. This was highly interesting. I look forward to following your progress, and hope to donate when able. To the extent you are open to critique, there have been similar projects before and they often hold such reverence for the speakers that they sometimes do that at the expense of context. If you’re seeking to convey reference information, that’s just fine, but in my opinion (for whatever that’s worth) it wouldn’t be so terrible to have background information about the style and its place within the broader karate constellation; about the speaker; and maybe about underlying technical and mental philosophy. It seems like V/O or captions or even companion videos could help make this a richer experience for folks who don’t already have a comprehensive knowledge of Okinawan styles and culture- for whom it’s a treat to hear the provided information from the source, but presumably not new.

    Hope that is helpful. Look forward to seeing, and reading, more.

    • Thanks for the comments. Just working on the second video at the moment. We’re still finding our feet on exactly what questions to ask, and what the sensei would like to talk about. It certainly is an interesting challenge. As time goes on hopefully we’ll find a way to make the interviews informative and accessible for viewers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s