"Be gentle, be strong, be beautiful"
The 2012 Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists' annual summer camp featured an evening with Keiko Fukuda Shihan. Fukuda Shihan, a 10th Dan, and a renowned pioneer of women's judo, is the highest ranked female judo practitioner in history and the last surviving student of Kano Jigoro, founder of judo.
She is 98 years of age, and a living legend.
In 1972, she was the first woman to be promoted to 6th Dan, after having spent 30 years as a 5th Dan, solely because she is a woman. In 2006 she was promoted to 9th Dan by the Kodokan Institute in Japan and the U.S. Judo Federation, (USJF) and received 10th Dan in 2011 from USA Judo.
In an interview w/ the SF Chronicle, Fukuda Shihan said that "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."
At PAWMA's summer camp, this year themed 'Spirit of the Dragon,' Fukuda Shihan taught Ju No Kata, one of seven official Kodokan Judo Kata.
Judo, founded in 1882 by Kano Jigoro, an educator, was developed partially as a result of his education in the schools of Tenjin Shin'yo-ryu ju jutsu taught by Fukuda Hachinosuke, who had been a samurai and was Fukuda Keiko Shihan's grandfather.
Judo, meaning 'gentle way,' is the first Japanese martial art to gain widespread international attention and the first to become an official Olympic sport.
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- Malaika Kambon
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- Opening Night