All posts tagged: mixed martial arts

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:

Krazy Bee Gym, Itoman

I photographed MMA fighter Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto last December at my friend Ben’s capoeira dojo in Chatan  (blog post here). A few days ago, I got a call from Norifumi to say that he was setting up his own Krazy Bee gym in Itoman, and could I take some photos of the team. Son of Japanese Olympic wrestler Ikuei Yamamoto,  Norifumi is a fearsome mixed martial arts fighter. (some video highlights on YouTube)   Norifumi’s older sister Miyuu is a three-time Freestyle Wrestling World Champion, and now fights mixed martial arts.  Their younger sister Seiko, also a champion wrestler, now lives in Texas and is married to baseball pitcher Yu Darvish. Miyuu’s son Erson Yamamoto is a mixed martial arts fighter competing professionally. Along with the Yamamoto family, there are several other fighters in the Crazy Bee team:  Betinho Vital a jiu-jitsu fighter from Brazil Aw Ratchayothin Sangmorakot a muay-thai fighter from Thailand. Kosuke Yokoyama a jiu-jitsu fighter from Japan.   It was great to meet the Krazy Bee team and I look forward to working with …

UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson – Saitama Super Arena, Tokyo

While in Tokyo, I saw an Ultimate Fighting Championship event at the Saitama Super Arena. Ultimate Fighting is a mixed martial arts competition where fighters can win by knockout, tap out, or points. The fighters come from a range of disciplines including striking styles such as boxing, karate and kickboxing along with submission styles that include aikido, judo, and wrestling. Fighters compete within their own weight class, but fighters of one style can be paired against any other style. This means you get matches between boxers that want to keep their distance and use punching power against submission fighters that want to take the fight to the mat and bend limbs in the wrong direction until their opponent taps out. The bouts take place in a octagon with wire walls rather than ropes. You definitely get the feeling you’re watching something not far removed from gladiatorial combat. The stadium atmosphere, however, was more friendly and reverential than bloodthirsty. The Japanese audience clapped and cheered for fighters from all countries, the greatest cheers were for combatants …