Latest Posts

Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate #6 Kenyu Chinen

In this sixth episode in the series, karate and kobudo master Kenyu Chinen talks about his life in Okinawa and France, his own sensei, and his philosophy on martial arts. We are also invited into one of his seminars, and even his Okinawan home to see how he teaches and trains. 

Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate is a crowd-funded YouTube documentary series about the legendary martial arts teachers of Okinawa, Japan. A huge thanks to Chinen Sensei and his students, plus all the volunteers, sponsors and supporters of the series. Couldn’t have done this without you.

Mr. Benn Redux

For those of you who are not British, and in their forties or fifties, Mr. Benn is a beloved cartoon about an ordinary man who goes on extraordinary adventures when he visits a fancy dress shop.

This weekend Mr. Young came to my studio, and as if by magic a photographer appeared…

With each costume change Mr. Young transformed into a new character. The question is, which is the real Mr. Young?

Is he the tech entrepreneur who created an encryption protocol making him a millionaire before his 18th birthday?

Mr. Young?

Is he the fisherman who works on the same boat as his grandfather, while dealing with rough seas and dwindling catches?

Mr. Young?

Is he the doctor who pioneered the use of augmented reality for use in both general medicine and surgery?

Dr. Young?

Is he the Marine who’s traveled the world as one of “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”?

Mr. Young?

Or is he the professional wrestler whose athleticism allows him to dominate when down on the mat or flying through the air?

Mr. Young?

Send your answers on a postcard to 52 Festive Road.

And to Mr. Young I wish you all the best with your future adventures!

Kiichi Nakamoto 10th-dan Goju-ryu Karate / 10th-dan Ryukyu Dento Kobujutsu

Born in 1927 Kiichi Nakamoto 10th-dan Goju-ryu Karate / 10th-dan Ryukyu Dento Kobujutsu is one of the elder statesmen even among the karate masters.

Kiichi Nakamoto 10th-dan Goju-ryu Karate / 10th-dan Ryukyu Dento Kobujutsu

At a young age Nakamoto Sensei studied karate under Chojun Miyagi Sensei then later under Eiichi Miyazato Sensei.

Kiichi Nakamoto 10th-dan Goju-ryu Karate / 10th-dan Ryukyu Dento Kobujutsu
Kiichi Nakamoto 10th-dan Goju-ryu Karate / 10th-dan Ryukyu Dento Kobujutsu

Nakamoto Sensei studied kobudo under Shosei Kina Sensei, then Shinei Kyan Sensei. He now hold the rank of 10th-dan.

Kiichi Nakamoto 10th-dan Goju-ryu Karate / 10th-dan Ryukyu Dento Kobujutsu
Kiichi Nakamoto 10th-dan Goju-ryu Karate / 10th-dan Ryukyu Dento Kobujutsu
Kiichi Nakamoto 10th-dan Goju-ryu Karate / 10th-dan Ryukyu Dento Kobujutsu

Hopefully in the future I will be able to interview Nakamoto Sensei and receive more information about his life in martial arts.

Can you help?

It is clear from the numbers of views and viral sharing that thousands of people (maybe hundreds of thousands ) around the world really value the images and interviews from the Karate Masters Portrait Project and the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate Video Series.

The video series in particular takes up a massive amount of time, gear, and data storage.

Shooting long interviews in 4K, Pro Res & Pro Res Raw, and multiple cameras uses a lot of data. After publishing the data to YouTube I could go back and delete the original files, but in a couple of years or a couple of decades, maybe the karate community will want to see the entire unedited footage, or want to a different edit or grade of the footage. So I need to get more hard drives like the one below now my current 24TB drive and 20TB back up are full.

At the same time I keep wanting to improve the production values with more professional gear to improve audio, lighting or camera movements.

Here’s where you can help. More supporters and sponsors make producing content easier. You can find out more information about how to do this here:

https://travel67.com/the-karate-masters-portrait-project/sensei-documentary/

I’ve tried to make enquiries with the Okinawan Prefectural Government, the Karate Promotions Division, the Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau, and local businesses, but they all seem to be focused on their own projects and so far can’t offer any assistance. Which means that for now the projects rely on self-funding and crowd-funding from the international community.

If you’d like to help your name, dojo or organization will be in the credits of the video series, and I’d really appreciate it.

With this blog post written, I’ll get back to final edits of video #6 with Kenyu Chinen, mid point edits of a bonus video with Arcenino J. Advincula, initial file sorting of the footage from video #7 with Seikichi Iha sensei, preparation for next week’s interview for video #8 with Tsuguo Sakumoto, and setting up interviews #9, #10, #11 and #12.

Information on how to help can be found here:

https://travel67.com/the-karate-masters-portrait-project/sensei-documentary/

Meitatsu Yagi 10th-dan Goju-ryu Karate

Meitatsu Yagi 10th-dan International Meibukan Goju-ryu Karate-do Association

I’d been hoping to photograph Meitatsu Yagi for the project for several years. In March 2014 I took portraits of his younger brother Meitetsu Yagi, and his nephew Ippei Yagi, but hadn’t been able to coordinate a time with Meitatsu Yagi.

Meitatsu Yagi 10th-dan International Meibukan Goju-ryu Karate-do Association

Luckily at the Tookachi seminars for Iha sensei’s students I had the opportunity to photograph Yagi sensei and some of the other masters of Okinawa karate.

Meitatsu Yagi 10th-dan International Meibukan Goju-ryu Karate-do Association
Meitatsu Yagi 10th-dan International Meibukan Goju-ryu Karate-do Association
Meitatsu Yagi 10th-dan International Meibukan Goju-ryu Karate-do Association

Amazingly Meitatsu Yagi was one of the first karate masters I ever photographed. I shot him with my Pentax 67 film camera in around 2004. I was visiting Murasaki Mura and asked the man in the white uniform with a black belt if I could take his photo. At that time I didn’t know his name, or that 15 years later, I’d still be on Okinawa, and spending most of my time photographing and interviewing karate masters.

Meitatsu Yagi, International Meibukan Goju-ryu Karate Do Association Hanshi 10th dan at Murasaki Mura Dojo around 2004

Tookachi – Celebrating 88 years

Thought I’d post a few pics from the Tookachi 88th birthday celebration for Seikichi Iha. These are actually low res video stills but they’re enough to give an idea of what happens.

Traditional Ryukyu dancers wearing hanagasa hats open proceedings.

Iha Sensei pouring sake for honored guests and greeting those who come to give their best wishes. (His son sits to his left, his daughter to his right.)

 Masahiko Tokashiki sensei chatting with Iha Sensei.

Miguel da Luz catching up with Iha sensei.

So many members of the Beikoku Shido-kan Karate-do Association in attendance, along with numerous Okinawan karate masters.

Thank you for having me to your party! Congratulations Iha Sensei.

Seikichi Iha 10th-dan Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate

Seikichi Iha and hundreds of his Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association students from across the world came to Okinawa to celebrate his “Tokachi” 88th birthday celebrations.

Seikichi Iha 10th-dan Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate, Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association Photographed August 29th 2019 at the Miyahira Dojo, Naha City, Okinawa.

I was lucky to get to spend some time with the group as they visited Shuri Castle, an evening banquet, training at the Karate Kaikan, and an interview and training at the dojo of the late Miyahira sensei.

Seikichi Iha 10th-dan Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate, Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association Photographed August 29th 2019 at the Miyahira Dojo, Naha City, Okinawa.

The interview and footage from his trip will form episode seven of the Sensei: Masters of Okinawa Series.

Seikichi Iha 10th-dan Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate, Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association Photographed August 29th 2019 at the Miyahira Dojo, Naha City, Okinawa.
Seikichi Iha 10th-dan Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate, Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association Photographed August 29th 2019 at the Miyahira Dojo, Naha City, Okinawa.
Seikichi Iha 10th-dan Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate, Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association Photographed August 29th 2019 at the Miyahira Dojo, Naha City, Okinawa.
Seikichi Iha 10th-dan Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate, Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association Photographed August 29th 2019 at the Miyahira Dojo, Naha City, Okinawa.
Seikichi Iha 10th-dan Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate, Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association Photographed August 29th 2019 at the Miyahira Dojo, Naha City, Okinawa.
We did it! Portraits, interview and training footage all shot in 100 humidity in August.

A huge thank you to the members of the Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association for inviting me into your celebrations, and also for becoming one of the main sponsors of the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate series.

Sensei Arcenio J. Advincula

On August 20th 2019, I had the pleasure to meet, photograph and interview Sensei Arcenio J. Advincula a master of Isshinryu karate. He was a fascinating person to interview because of his role in bringing this style of Okinawa karate to North America, and also developing martial arts in the United States Marine Corps.

It will be a few weeks until the interview is posted to You Tube, but here are a selection of portraits documenting another thread in the fabric of Okinawan karate.

Arcenio James Advincula Isshinryu Karate / Ryukonkai Kobudo
Arcenio James Advincula Isshinryu Karate / Ryukonkai Kobudo
Arcenio James Advincula Isshinryu Karate / Ryukonkai Kobudo
Arcenio James Advincula Isshinryu Karate / Ryukonkai Kobudo

Thank you to Advincula sensei and his students for traveling up to Motobu. It was a pleasure to have you in my studio.

Gamelan Dancers

Early Sunday morning I had the opportunity to photograph the musicians and dancers of a Gamelan Indonesian dance group.

I shot portraits using natural light and a wide aperture against green vegetation.

I also used the felt black background and a single strobe setup from the karate masters series to create a second set of images.

Here’s a quick behind the scenes shot showing the black Lastolite background leaning against our car, and a Profoto B1 strobe with OCF beauty dish on the stand. Portraits were shot using the Pentax 645Z with the 90mm and 55m lenses.

A huge thank you to the Gamelan dancers and musicians, and to Michael Lyon for setting up the shoot. Looking forward to seeing your performances in the future.

Fall Workshops

We had a fun movie-themed studio lighting workshop on Saturday. Started with some simple soft beauty lighting on a white background.

We then progressed to using multiple lights, and costumes to create roles for the characters from E.R. to Star Trek.

Huge thank you to Crissy our model, Cee Jay the makeup artist, Amy and Monica for being fun students. Great spending time with you 🙂

I’m going to spending all of August and September focused on the karate masters documentary, so I’ll return to teaching Fundamentals Workshops in the fall. Click on the link to reach the Facebook event pages and message me to book your spot.

October 5th and 6th 2019 Photography Fundamentals Workshop

November 2nd and 3rd 2019 Photography Fundamentals Workshop