Wow! Now, THIS IS BOLD. I must say, as a 26 year old Tae Kwon Do Deputy Black Belt who sweats and struggles with EVERY move and kick, Sensei Keiko Fukuda is an incredible woman! She has  become the first woman to achieve a tenth-degree black belt. The tenth degree is the highest rank in the martial art, Judo. Fukuda is only one of only four living people who’ve earned the tenth-degree (or dan) black belt. Just to give you a better idea, only sixteen people have ever achieved this honor ever! 

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.

“All I did was Judo…this was my marriage,” Fukudo reflected tearfully to the San Francisco Chronicle. “This is when my life destiny was set. I just never imagined how long this road would be.”

Fukodo said she approached Judo and her life with the intent to “be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically.” Fukuda says this kind of beauty is decidedly not external. “A compassionate soul is inner beauty,” she explained to the paper. “I believe this is true beauty…All my life this has been my dream.”

The 98-year-old Sensei Keiko Fukuda continues to teach Judo three times a week at a woman’s dojo.