Friday, 19 August 2011

Never to old - Keiko Fukuda Sensei...

Next time you find yourself grumbling about your aches and pains and thinking you are getting to old for this game think about Judo Sensei Keiko Fukuda from San Francisco in the US. This great lady has just been awarded her 10th dan at the age of 98. And she's still teaching! She is the last surviving student of Judo founder Jigaro Kano himself. Fukuda Sensei was the first woman to be awarded 6th dan in Judo by the kodokan having been held back at 5th dan for 30 years...

Here's a link to a short news article about her: Woman 98-year old awarded judo 10th dan.  And here's a wiki about her : Keiko Fukuda


In this YouTube video where she talks about her life (up to 2006 when she was awarded her 9th dan). It's quite poignant and moving in places, particularly when she talks about making her choice between judo and marriage.



What an amazing lady and ambassador for Judo and women in the martial arts generally.



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15 comments:

Felicia said...

Love it - even if it took sooo long for her to be awarded her 10th dan (mainly due to the politics of having a female judoka reach this milestone). She is quite the inspiration.

SueC said...

Felicia, Hi! Still going strong at 98 is an amazing achievement but I think her greatest achievement was breaking through the glass ceiling at 6th dan and thus paving the way for other women to follow. We have a lot to thank her for...

Charles James said...

I remember the first article on Sensei Fukuda, both were inspiring. I had a hard time keeping the tears back.

There are very few who gain this much humility and inspire so many to succeed.

Thanks Sue!

SueC said...

You're welcome Charles...

Indianapolis Jiu Jitsu said...

Great achievement and very inspiring to everyone! Where there is a will there is a way.

SueC said...

Absolutely! Thanks for your comment...

Journeyman said...

It doesn't matter what style you study, learning about Fukuda Sensei should be required homework. And I agree with you that in many ways the 6th dan achievement could be the most significant for all others who followed. Thanks for posting about such an important martial artist and achievement.

John Coles said...

What a wonderfully inspiring story. While the Kodokan and by implication Kano are described as being sexist, it should be remembered he explicitly instituted a women's section in his Kodokan Judo. He took those first tentative steps. We need to acknowledge those steps, even though now we may see them as being not big enough or meaningful enough.

Given my current condition (burnout), I confess to relating to Fukuda's emotions concerning her choice of her martial art over marriage. It's an easy choice to make at the time, but, there can be pain felt at a later date.

SueC said...

Journeyman, You're welcome. I'd like to think that I'll still be doing martial arts at 98!

John, you're absolutely right, Kano did open the door for women to enter judo so we really shouldn't think of him as sexist, he was clearly quite forward thinking.

Mr. Martial Arts said...

Very inspiring post! Love it, Not only is her story inspiring, but she herself.

SueC said...

She certainly is Mr Martial Arts, thanks for commenting.

Ninja-Weapons said...

Wow! Just wow. Talk about putting your mind to something and completing it at all costs!

SueC said...

Ninja Weapons... there are no barriers to achievement except the ones we put there ourselves...

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SueC said...

Anon. Thank you for your kind words, glad to be helping with your mission...

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