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.
This video is the first in a possible series of interviews with Okinawan karate masters. The sensei discuss their lives and share advice on training. The first master is Toshimitsu Arakaki, Hanshi 10th-dan, Matsubayashi-ryu Karate (Shorin-ryu). 新垣 敏光 範士十段 松林流空手 （小林流）He is the teacher of my good friend James Pankiewicz who arranged for the interview to take place. (James runs the famous Dojo Bar in Naha City, and the Asato Dojo across the street. Check them out when in Okinawa!) This pilot video is an opportunity to see if there is much interest in making this a series of videos rather than just a one off. Potentially interviews could take place with several karate masters and include more footage of them training or their everyday lives. Will all the videos be on YouTube? Yes! The idea is for the videos to be available for free on YouTube to anyone who wants to watch. Hopefully individuals, dojos, or karate organizations would be willing to help sponsor the project to make it viable, but this would only …
Here are the final 4 videos from the TEDxOIST event my team and I recorded in October. It was great to see several familiar faces giving presentations, Nozomi Kobayashi is a good friend of mine, and many years ago I interviewed Makoto Suzuki for Okinawa Living magazine.
Three more videos from the TEDxOIST Okinawa event are now on YouTube. A great experience working on this project with Gary Hughes, Jon Galione, Patrick Batac, and the OIST team.
Last month our team recorded the TEDxOIST lectures, and they are currently in the process of being released on the TEDx YouTube channel. The first 3 have just come online so if you didn’t manage to see the event you can watch them here. There are 10 lectures in total, so I’ll announce on the blog when the other videos are available. A huge thanks to my team of Gary, Jon and Patrick for operating the other cameras. It was great working together filming the event, and also to be part of an even larger team who were organizing TEDxOIST.
In 2016, I was contacted by the team at Macphun Software who had come across my photography on the web. Macphun produces photo editing programs for Mac computers, and received Best of the Year awards from the Apple app store six years running. They were producing new inspirational content for their website and asked if I’d like to be involved. James Pankiewicz, Patrick Batac and I produced a behind the scenes video about The Karate Masters Portrait Project. In 2018, Macphun became SKYLUM software as it is no longer just Mac only. As its popularity grows around the world, Yuki and I are going to help introduce the software to the Japanese market. We’ve created a Japanese language YouTube series called the Shoshinsha Photographer Yuki (New Photographer Yuki) in which Yuki learns how to take photos, and edit the pictures with SKYLUM’s Luminar editing software. Episode 1 has a brief introduction then Yuki explores Bise Village in Motobu. Episode 2 is all about the 100 Kata for Karate Day event at new Karate Kaikan. Episode …
Goat wrestling is an annual event on Sesoko Island in Motobu, Okinawa. Two male goats are placed in a ring, and then do what comes naturally. If they are evenly matched they will butt heads until one turns in submission. If they are unevenly matched, or uninterested they ignore each other, or the weaker goat wanders straight back to the gate often sticking its head through the railings. The goats seem to be unaffected by the occasional headbutt. Sportingly, they never tried to headbutt their opponent anywhere except the head. The curved horns also seemed to avoid any puncture wounds or lacerations. The only goat that came off badly at the whole event was the young goat that was given away as 1st prize in the raffle. The winner was asked what he was going to do with the goat. He replied, “eat it.” The video was shot with the Sony A7SII camera with a 16-35mm lens on a CAME-TV Single gimbal. The video was shot and uploaded to YouTube in 4K.
Although my current cameras can record HD 1080 video, if I’m specifically working with video on a project I want to be able to shoot footage at 4K. There are a wide range of cameras that can shoot 4K from a GoPro at a few hundred dollars to cinema cameras at a few hundred thousand. After looking at the options, and discussing things with my friend Jon Galione, I bought a Sony A7S II that will allow me to start shooting 4K internally and produce high quality footage. Just in the testing phase at the moment, but here’s a few seconds shot with the A7S II and a Rokinon 85mm lens. Okay Go!