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Yoshitsune Senga Video Preview

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:

Series Sponsors

Ceazar Borkowski – Northern Karate Schools
Marguerite “Peggy” Hess
Reece Cummings – Cummings Karate Dojo

Series Supporters

Tim Herlihy
Robin Ross
Joshua Simmers – Okinawa Karate Podcast

$1000 Main Sponsor 

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

$500 Sponsor

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

$50 Individual Supporter

Supporters will have their name 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.

https://paypal.me/TRAVEL67

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.

Traditional Okinawan Hairstyle

 The traditional hairstyle for Okinawan women is called kanpuu. The hair is twisted on top of the head, and then held in place with a jiifaa hairpin.

Photographed with the Pentax 645Z and 90mm lens. Natural light.

This was shot during this months Photography Fundamentals workshop. The next one will be March 30th / 31st 2019.

https://www.facebook.com/events/547482259063977/

Cherry Blossom Blooms

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.

Okinawan Smiles

Another great Photography Fundamentals workshop last weekend. Always a pleasure to share my love of photography and Okinawa with other people.

The next workshops are at the start of February and the end of March. Click on the links to visit the Facebook event page, message me to book your spot.

Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson February 2nd & 3rd, 2019

Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson March 30th & 31st, 2019

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.

https://paypal.me/TRAVEL67

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.

2018 Highlights

The biggest event of 2018 was on February 12th when Jasmine Victoria Willson was born.

Over the last 10 months she’s grown to be a delightful little toddler who is excited by all her adventures. Life now revolves around bananas, Igglepiggle, and bath time.

I’ve been shooting a wide range of imagery, along with producing some videos for SKYLUM software.


Periclimenes psamathe seafan shrimp on gorgonian sea fan @ Cape Zanpa, Okinawa, Japan.

The Karate Masters Portrait Project continued, and expanded to start a new video documentary series about the amazing martial arts sensei on Okinawa. 2019 will begin with some exciting news about the series.

At the start of the year I was out photographing the humpback whales while creating a video for SKYLUM, then at the end of the year I was recording the TEDxOIST lecture series with a team of videographers. One of the speakers was my good friend Nozomi Kobayashi who talked about her job monitoring the migrating whales.

In the spring I updated the Okinawa and Kyushu chapters for the next edition of Fodor’s Japan. Jasmine had her first trip down to Miyako Island.

Yuki experienced onsen bathing for the first time in beautiful Kagoshima Prefecture.

In summer we travelled back to the UK so that Jasmine could meet the extended family. Spent many days wandering around National Trust properties and eating cakes.

A huge thank you to my friends, family, workshops students, and clients for their support over the year. Wishing you all a relaxing holidays, and a fantastic 2019.

Christmas Diving at Cape Zanpa, Okinawa


A great couple of Christmas dives yesterday with my buddy Hiroshi at Cape Zanpa. Rinsed the gear and now sorting through images with a pile of reference books at my side.

Identifying fish is often a challenge especially when some of them such as the bullethead parrotfish change their shape, color, and even sex over the course of their lives. Trying to identify corals is even trickier, but hopefully over the years I’ll be able to better differentiate between the various sponges, sea fans, soft corals, stony corals and anemones. The featured photo is I believe a Periclimenes psamathe ( seafan shrimp) on a Muricella sp. gogorian sea fan.

(Initial phase) Daisy parrotfish / Bullethead parrotfish, Chlorurus sordidus, Scaridae, @ Cape Zanpa, Okinawa, Japan.
(Terminal phase) Daisy parrotfish / Bullethead parrotfish, Chlorurus sordidus, Scaridae, @ Cape Zanpa, Okinawa, Japan.
Clark’s Anemonefish Amphiron carkii, Damselfishes Pomacentidae @ Cape Zanpa, Okinawa, Japan.
Crinoids / Feather Stars on large sea fan (Melithaea sp.) @ Cape Zanpa, Okinawa, Japan.
Achaeus japonicus, aka the orangutan crab on Bubble coral Plerogyra sinuosa @ Cape Zanpa, Okinawa, Japan.

Sensei – Masters of Okinawan Karate #1 Arakaki Toshimitsu

This video is the first in a possible series of interviews with Okinawan karate masters. The sensei discuss their lives and share advice on training.

The first master is Toshimitsu Arakaki, Hanshi 10th-dan, Matsubayashi-ryu Karate (Shorin-ryu). 新垣 敏光 範士十段 松林流空手 (小林流)He is the teacher of my good friend James Pankiewicz who arranged for the interview to take place. (James runs the famous Dojo Bar in Naha City, and the Asato Dojo across the street. Check them out when in Okinawa!)

This pilot video is an opportunity to see if there is much interest in making this a series of videos rather than just a one off. Potentially interviews could take place with several karate masters and include more footage of them training or their everyday lives.

Will all the videos be on YouTube?

Yes! The idea is for the videos to be available for free on YouTube to anyone who wants to watch. Hopefully individuals, dojos, or karate organizations would be willing to help sponsor the project to make it viable, but this would only be possible if I can show that there is definite interest in making the videos.

How can you help?

Give the video a thumbs upcomment, and subscribe to the channel. Share the video with others who are interested in Okinawan karate.

If you, your dojo, or your organization is interested in helping sponsor the series, I’d love to hear from you. 

What I want to do better.

We shot this video in 4K with one camera. It works, but it would be better to use at least 2 cameras to cut between shots. Outdoor footage likewise would be better with two cameras, and with the option for slow motion. The potential importance of these interviews means that I’d like to shoot these in the highest quality possible. Sound quality could also be improved using a dedicated person on audio.

 Please enjoy the video, and I hope the karate community around the world find Arakaki’s interview fascinating. 

Yoshitsune Senaga 10th dan Uechi Ryu Karate Do Kenseikai

On November 30th, I had the honor to photograph and shoot some video of Yoshitsune Senaga, 10th dan Uechi ryu karate at his dojo in Tomigusku, Okinawa. He is the 82nd sensei to be photographed for the Karate Masters Portrait Project.

81 year old Senaga sensei also studies kobudo, and was willing to show us his techniques with the sai.   Interestingly he showed how the pair of sai that he used would ring like tuning forks when hit.  He explained that this was because these sai were made from metal that was once used in a temple bell in Nara.

After taking portraits for the project, I recorded a quick interview with Senaga sensei, then finally we got some selfies of the group, and little Jasmine once again stole the show. 

The video, the second in the series we are working on, will be translated and hopefully appear online in the coming weeks.  This is an exciting new addition to the project, and we are currently thinking about how we can take this video series further.