On Saturday we also photographed portraits of Fusei Kise’s son Isao Kise. He is now the main teacher at the dojo in Okinawa City. It is always interesting to photograph multiple generations of karateka.
All images shot with the Pentax 645Z. Black background images used a Profoto B1 monolight with a softlight reflector and the 90mm lens. The shots with the dojo in the background were taken with natural light and with a 55mm lens.
Yesterday we visited the dojo of Fusei Kise and his son Isao Kise in Okinawa City. 10th dan in Matsumura Orthodox Shorin-Ryu Karate, Fusei Kise studied under Hohan Soken.
Located in Okinawa City not far from the Goya Intersection, Fusei Kise has taught several generations of American service members who have taken their knowledge back to the States.
Fusei Kise will be 84 years old next month, so although he still trains the majority of teaching is done by his son Isao Kise who has also reached the rank of 10th dan in Matsumura Orthodox Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo.
On Saturday the 100 Kobudo Kata Challenge 2019 took place at Sakiyama Park, Shuri, Okinawa. Organized by James Pankiewicz the event was opened by Toshimitsu Arakaki 10th-dan Matsubayashi-ryu Karate.
It was great to see so many young people taking part from the Asato Dojo and Okinawa Kenpo Kenyukai Dojo. The recently completely rear gate of Shuri Castle, seen in the background of the group photo, is also looking impressive.
Hisao Hamamoto is a master of Japanese swords. At 83 he continues to teach how to use katana and wakizashi.
I first photographed Hamamoto sensei on October 1st 2011, before the Karate Masters Portrait Project began. The single-light beauty dish portrait I took of Hamamoto would become the lighting setup I’d then use for the entire series.
I met up with Hamamoto sensei today at the Budokan in Naha City, to get some video of him teaching his class. Afterwards I asked to take a few location portraits at the shrine next to the Budokan.
We then grabbed some lunch before heading over the Dojo Bar with James Pankiewicz to film a short interview with Hamamoto sensei. It won’t be part of the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate series, but a bonus interview about his life and art. A real delight to meet him once again.
Thank you to Hamamoto sensei for giving up his time, to James for helping set up the shoot and letting us conduct the interview in the Dojo Bar, and to Gary for assisting as a second videographer.
On Friday evening we travelled down to the very south of the main island of Okinawa to the dojo of Kenichi Yamashiro. He is the 83rd sensei to be photographed for the project, and it was fascinating to meet him.
Kobudo is the weapons system of Okinawan martial arts and is often studied alongside karate. Arguably kobudo is an intrinsic part of traditional karate, or perhaps traditional karate is an intrinsic part of kobudo.
Yamashiro sensei trains with a wide range of weapons, including some which I’d never seen before such as the spinning bo staff.
Hopefully in the future we’ll be back again to interview him for the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate documentary series.
All images captured using the Pentax 645Z and 90mm lens. Lighting using the Profoto B1 and softlight reflector.
A big thank you to Gary Hughes for assisting with lighting, Yuki Willson and James East for interpreting, and Mike Clayton for help setting up the shoot.
A huge thank you to Kenichi Yamashiro for inviting us into his dojo and giving up 3 hours of his time to chat and demonstrate his love of kobudo. We look forward to returning to capture it again on video.
I’m pleased to announce the release of the second episode in the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate series.
This episode features Uechi Ryu 10th dan Yoshitsune Senaga who at 82 continues to teach and share his passion for karate.
Thank you to those who have already sponsored and supported the series.
Thank you to Yoshitsune Senaga and his students for allowing us into the dojo twice to film, and to Dell Hamby for helping set up the shoots and assisting with translation.
My passion for this project is growing as I realize that this is a way for the sensei to really talk with the international karate community directly. There’s no celebrity or TV host between the masters and the viewer. It’s simply them talking about their love of the art, and what matters to them.
I’m already setting up interviews with other karate masters for the coming weeks and months. Hopefully we can even keep pushing the quality of the videos to the next level as we purchase a boom mic, better lenses, and more data storage over time.
Thank you to Gary Hughes for volunteering as an additional cameraman, and to my wife Yuki for her help translating and interpreting.
Currently editing the second video in the documentary series Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate. It is a fascinating interview with 10th dan Uechi-ryu master Yoshitsune Senaga. Hopefully we’ll have it online by Monday February 18th. Here’s a draft of the first couple of minutes to see what we’re working on. This is just an iPhone video of the screen, which should stop any confusion that this is the finished product.
And here’s the ending sequence so far. If you are interested in helping making this video series possible, please get in touch with me by email or facebook.
In this second video we will be able to list sponsors and supporters who have reached out to us before Sunday February 17th. Hopefully we’ll keep adding more sponsors and supporters over time, and these names will be added to the list at the end of future episodes in the series.
As of February 13th, 2019 our sponsors and supporters are:
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.
You can reach me via email at Chris@travel67.com or through Facebook
We’re also busy setting up the interviews with future karate masters in the series, along with reviewing our work so far so that we can keep pushing things to the next level.
The cherry trees are starting to bloom in the Nakijin and Motobu districts of Okinawa. For the last couple of days Jasmine has had a mild ear infection so she’s not been that happy, but is getting better. We went out together to check on the condition of the flowers to prepare for family shoots over the next couple of weeks.