Sensei Keiko Fukuda has become the first woman to achieve a 10th degree black belt in judo. She is 98 years old. Fukuda becomes one of only four living people who have earned this rank, which only sixteen people have ever achieved throughout history.
She began practicing judo in 1935 under founder Kano Jiguro, who encouraged her to learn English to spread Judo internationally. Fukuda’s rank was frozen at 5th dan for 30 years due to an edict preventing women from achieving higher rank. She received her 6th dan in 1972 when a women’s division was created.
Fukuda still teaches judo three times a week at a women’s dojo in San Francisco.
Below is an excerpt from the documentary Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful.