Keiko Fukuda (福田 敬子 Fukuda Keiko, born April 12, 1913) is the highest-ranked female judo practitioner in history, holding the rank of 9th dan from both the Kodokan and the United States Judo Federation, and is the last surviving student of Kanō Jigorō, founder of judo. She is a renowned pioneer of women’s judo, being the first woman promoted to 6th dan (c. 1972), and later 9th dan (2006), by the Kodokan. After completing her formal education in Japan, Fukuda visited the United States of America to teach in the 1950s and 1960s, and eventually settled there. She continues to teach her art in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“To marry and be a good wife was the norm but judo was my marriage, it was my destiny” -Keiko Fukuda
Fukuda is not one to throw her weight around, unless some unfortunate rookie steps in, not knowing what to expect. Her stature is small but her importance can not be overstated. Fukuda has blazed a path that has taken her where no woman has ever gone before, and because of her the history of her sport must constantly be updated…” (© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Fukuda, at 96, still teaches three days a week and she still flips people. It is quite a sight.
With a total devotion to her art, Sensei Keiko Fukuda continues mentoring women of all ages and teaches them discipline, self-defense, and love for the sport…and themselves. Sensei Fukuda is quite simply a wonderful role model as a teacher, aging woman and an incredible, humble and gentle martial artist.