98-year-old woman becomes first woman ever to earn Judo's highest-degree black belt17:21
Fukuda began practicing Judo in 1935 and is the sole surviving student of its founder, Kano Jiguro. At her teacher's urging, she learned English to help spread Judo internationally.
During a time when getting married, building a family, and becoming a housewife was the norm, Fukuda bucked tradition, opting out of marriage to pursue the martial art.
She described the Jiguro’s school, known as the Kodokan, as "old-fashioned and sexist about belts and ranks." In fact, an edict that prevented women from achieving any higher than a fifth-degree black belt kept Fukuda at that level for thirty years. She was finally elevated to sixth dan in 1972 when a woman's division was created.
Fukuda said she approached Judo and her life with the intent to "be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically.
Dream realized, the 98-year-old Sensei Keiko continues to teach Judo three times a week at a woman's dojo.