Yesterday I had the opportunity to photograph karate master Naonobu Ahagon at his dojo in Naha City. It was a great experience to meet another Okinawan icon. In October 2013 he was one of 7 karate masters to be given special recognition by the Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper for his contributions to traditional Okinawan karate. Ahagon-sensei is a master of both karate and kobudo (using traditional weapons). These include the kama (sickles) and sai. I took a few extra shots of Ahagon-sensei surrounded by some of this weapons inside the dojo. Starting from the far left you can see the eku (oars) then nunchaku, a pair of tonfa, and bo staffs. A big thank you to Sensei Mark Spear of the Black Bear Traditional Martial Arts Center in Connecticut for helping set up the shoot.
These are the first images in the Karate Masters Portrait Project. The idea is to document the hanshi (grand masters) of karate. I wish I had started this project several years earlier before some of the hanshi passed away. Hanshi 10th dan Yoshitaka Taira Images are shot with the 645D which means I have fantastic detail, important for an archival project. I used a portable black velvet screen to have clean background and then used a single studio light with a beauty dish for illumination. I plan to shoot all portraits with the same setup.