Dell Hamby is the 77th Karate Master to be photographed for the Karate Masters Portrait Project. He is 6th dan Uechi-ryu Karate and 6th dan Ryukyu Kobudo Shimbukan. Originally from Switzerland, he now lives, teaches and trains in Okinawa. He studies Uechi-ryu under Yoshitsune Senaga (who we will be photographing in the coming weeks) and Ryukyu Kobudo under Hiroshi Akamine. He was one of four masters who took part in the Okinawa World Tournament Promotion Tour earlier in the year, and is one of the kobudo judges when the tournament is held next week. It was a pleasure to photograph Dell, a real gentleman and a great ambassador for Okinawan karate. The project has been on hold for the past year as we welcomed Jasmine to our family, but as things settle down we’ve been able to start things up again. My goal is to release the second volume in the series in time for the Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2020. All images taken with the Pentax 645Z and the 90mm lens. Lighting from …
On April 30th, I took portraits of Kiyohide Shinjo. He is a 9th-dan Uechi Ryu karate master and a nine-time all-Okinawa kata and kumite champion. He dominated karate to such an extent he was known as the Okinawan Superman. Shinjo-sensei has conditioned his body to be able to withstand huge blows without sustaining damage. He can smack his knuckles, fingertips and toes into pretty much anyone or anything. Shinjo sensei put on his serious face for the portraits, his whole body tense and ready to strike. I’m pretty sure opponents who witnessed this face were just about to lose their fight and quite possibly consciousness. This was the second time I have photographed Shinjo-sensei, the first time was in 2006. Read my Island Icons interview with Kiyohide Shinjo for Okinawa Living Magazine.
Kiyoshi Yogi is a master of Uechiryu Karate & Ryukyu Kobudou. He was the sai world champion, the bou world champion, and the first Okinawa traditional karatedo world champion. Yogi sensei was the 17th master to be photographed as part of the Karate Masters Portrait Project. We stared on March 11th 2012 so we’ve being underway for a year. Over the past 12 months it has become clear just how important the project is. There has been praise and encouragement from all over the world, although the best feedback is usually the beaming smiles from the masters as we hand over the prints for their dojos. Hopefully over the next year we’ll photograph even more of these Okinawan icons. I’ll continue to take the portraits, James will continue to organize the shoots, and the karate masters will continue to share their knowledge with the world.
Satoshi and Kenta Kinjo, sons of master Masakazu Kinjo, and already highly respected karate experts.
Another great opportunity to meet a local legend, shooting Masakazu Kinjo for the Karate masters portrait project. 9th dan in Uechi ryu karate and Ryukyu kobudo he can clearly handle himself with or without weapons. Luckily he’s a friendly guy who laughs easily and is eager to share his knowledge and passion for the martial art he loves. Kinjo sensei’s weapon of choice is the pocket nunchaku. Made of three short pieces rather than the standard two long pieces, Kinjo whirls it around his body with ease and then snaps it out towards you like a cobra strike.