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Intangible Cultural Asset Holders in the Field of Okinawan Karate and Martial Arts with Weaponry

On May 19th 2020 six Okinawan Karate Masters were recognized by the prefecture as an Intangible Cultural Asset Holder in the Field of Okinawan Karate and Martial Arts with Weaponry. I am honored to have photographed them all for the Karate Masters Portrait Project over the past 8 years. Congratulations to Iha Sensei, Kikugawa Sensei, Maeshiro Sensei, Nakahodo Sensei, Iha Sensei and Takara Sensei! I’m also happy to announce that episode 8 in the YouTube series Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate is now online. I’m really proud of all the work that went into this episode, the team that helped create it, and the sponsors and supporters of the series. Iha Sensei speaks a mix of Japanese, Okinawan (a separate language not a dialect of Japanese), and English. It made transcriptions and translations a challenge, and there were even a few corrections after it went live, after getting some extra feedback from Nakasone Sensei.   Please like, comment, and share the videos so that the YouTube algorithm introduces it to others.

Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate #7 Tsuguo Sakumoto

Tsuguo Sakumoto, 7 times consecutive world champion, and coach to 9 world champions including Arata Kinjo, Takuya Uemura and Ryo Kiyuna. He is 9th-dan in Ryuei-ryu karate. Ryo Kiyuna is one of Japan’s best chances to win a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 (2021) Olympics so Sakumoto Sensei is more than ever a very busy man. Luckily he liked the portraits of him I shot in 2014 so we managed to get to interview him last September for the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate Series. You can learn more about the series, and even how to support is here: https://travel67.com/the-karate-masters-portrait-project/sensei-documentary/

2020 Workshops

Last weekend was the final photography workshop of 2019. It’s a real pleasure to share my passion with others and a delight that Jasmine gets to join us on our adventures. There are going to be a limited number of workshops in 2020 due to competing work on the Karate Masters Portrait Project, the karate video series, the 2020 Olympics, and a trip to the UK.  There will be two Fundamentals Workshops at the start of the year, and another couple yet to be scheduled in the fall. Come join the fun in 2020. Click on the links below to the Facebook event pages. January 11th & 12th Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson February 8th & 9th Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson

100 Kata for Karate Day 2019

October 25th is Karate Day in Okinawa. There was a ceremony at the Karate Kaikan in the morning where 6 masters performed a kata, and in the evening there was the 100 Kata for Karate Day event organized by James Pankiewicz of the Asato Dojo and the Dojo Bar. This year the event took place in Matsuyama Park, one of the key spots for Okinawa karate. The kids started at 5pm and were joined by the adults at 6pm. Great job everyone. Here are some pics of the awesome kids going for their century. Video of the festivities on Karate Day and on Kokusai Street on the following Sunday coming soon….

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.

Transformation

Came across this fascinating digital painting that was based on one of the outtakes from the 2016 “fisherman” shoot with Michael Lynch for the Pentax K-1 exhibition. UP! from hashem alshaer on Vimeo. Michael was mugging for the camera and staring wildly at the sky. The digital painting version transforms the picture to a whole new level. Here’s my finished photo of the wild seafaring Michael.

Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate #3 Koichi Nakasone

Episode 3 of the documentary series Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate is now on YouTube! After a couple of months working on it, it is a great way to end the Heisei era! A huge thank you to Koichi Nakasone for giving up his time to be interviewed and demonstrating his techniques. Thank you to James, Becka, Angelina, Yuki, Michael and Gary for help create the video. James literally got a little choked up in the making of this episode 🙂 Please share via social media to get the word out, and also thumbs up, comment and subscribe on YouTube so that it is recommended by the algorithm to more viewers. This crowd-funded documentary series would not be possible without the help of the international karate community. Thank you all. Main Sponsors: Fusei Kise, Isao Kise and the OSMKKF-USA Series Sponsors: Cezar Borkowski – Northern Karate Schools Marguerite “Peggy” Hess – Jensen Beach Uechi Ryu Karate Do Dojo Reece Cummings – Cummings Karate Dojo Michael Quinn – Okinawa Shogen-Ryu Karate-Do Europe Jerry Figgiani – Shorin …

Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate #2 Yoshitsune Senaga

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 …

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 …