MMA Fighter

Van Shiroma

BUSHIDO – “The Way of the Warrior” is the samurai code of conduct. The philosophies and principles of Bushido date back to before the 12th century and stress the laws of honor, obedience, duty, and self-sacrifice. It is this code that allows the violent existence of the samurai to coexist with the wisdom and serenity of Japanese Buddhism.

There was a feeling in the air that things were going to start to snowball for Prolifik when Micah came to me and told me that an amateur mixed martial arts fighter that he endorsed and supported was going to be fighting at Level 4 nightclub. T-Shirts were being printed and the crew at HMC Academy (Hawaii Martial Arts Center) were gearing up.

Micah and I are both Okinawan and we were going to be in the corner of Van Shiroma, another fellow Uchinanchu. Though I had not met Shiroma yet, his friends had told me he was a soft spoken young man, very humble and kind.

The Level 4 event had scheduled more than 30 cards that night, starting at four in the afternoon and going well into the late night. The place was at capacity and I had to wait in line for nearly two hours to get into the place. Finally in, I was surprised to see a crew of what had to be 30 supporters. SHIROMA in bright red swarmed near the main bar and I felt a sense of camaraderie as I threw on my shirt as well. He went on to win his match that night and was congratulated by hoards of support members shortly thereafter.

His reputation preceding him, Shiroma was more than gracious to accept my request for a photo shoot. I was eager to meet his other team members at the Academy as well. When we met up back at Prolifik several nights later, I met a teammate of his, Justin Wong who had also agreed to take part. Wong brought about a very calm, even-keeled presence with him. It was clear to me that these young men were very disciplined and centered individuals. I was honored to work with both Shiroma and Wong and hope that these images captured their strength within. In my experience, the men from HMC Academy exhibit everything that is “Bushido”.


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