Sensei Keiko Fukuda: 1st Female 10th Degree Judo Black Belt
Keiko Fukuda: 98-Year-Old Judo Master Becomes 4th-Ever 10th Degree Black Belt
Sensei Keiko Fukuda is 98 years old, and she teaches Judo in San Francisco. She just made history by becoming the first woman to hold a 10th-degree Black Belt, the highest possible rank in Judo. Only three others have reached that level, all men living in Japan.
Keiko Fukuda's skills have the ultimate pedigree: she learned from Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. Fukuda is Kano's only surviving student. Indeed, Keiko Fukuda's grandfather, Hachinosuke Fukuda, taught Kano Jiu Jutsu, from which Kano derived Judo.
Oh, and Hachinosuke Fukuda was a samurai.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently ran a story about Keiko Fukuda; I sugget reading it to find out how she turned down marrying a dentist to focus on martial arts, and how she repped Japan in the 1964 Olympics, though she had to perform out of competition (medals were restricted to men).
A celebration is being planned for mid-October to coincide with Fukuda's annual International Kata Championship at San Francisco City College.
"All my life," Fukuda said, "this has been my dream."