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98 Year Old San Franciscan Earns 10th Degree Black Belt

SAN FRANCISCO, California ~ (Time Magazine) ~ A 98-year-old San Franciscan has a unique hobby for her age.  She practices the martial art of Judo.  Not only that, she won Judo’s most coveted honor when she became a 10th degree black belt.  In short, the 98-year-old could definitely beat you in a fight.

Sensei Keiko Fukada is the only woman in history to achieve a 10th degree black belt in Judo.  In fact, she is one of only four people worldwide to hold the title.  The other three are all Japanese men.

U.S. Judo Federation promotion board member Eito Saito-Shepherd attributed the honor to Sensei Fukada’s amazing dedication to her craft.  “She’s been teaching judo for 51 years.  I know, when I travel, not only in the United States, they talk about Sensei Fukada.  She is known all over the world and her devotion to judo is indescribable – she is committed,” he told ABC.

Fukada still teaches three classes a week at San Francisco’s Soko Joshi Judo Club, even though she uses a wheelchair to travel.  When she received news of her new title she broke down in tears.

Fukada has been breaking barriers since she emigrated from Japan in 1966, choosing to follow judo instead of pursuing marriage.  She fought since then to overcome gender discrimination before achieving the ultimate triumph in her 10th degree black belt.

Fukada is the last surviving student of Jigoro Kano, who founded judo.  In addition, Fukada’s grandfather trained Kano himself in jujitsu.

“All my life, this has been my dream,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle.

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