Inspirational and Passionate Human Being
Judo the Gentle Way 2: Keiko Fukuda
“Born for the Mat” is the title of Miss Fukuda’s autobiography and the book on Judo she has written for her first book. “Be strong, be gentle and be beautiful” is the Kodokan Women’s Judo motto, which Miss Fukuda has been practicing for 75 years. Miss Fukuda is a great example of Woman’s Judo leader while she is the highest-ranked, 9thth degree, red belt woman in the world.
I never forget one incident I had experienced with her many years ago, when I went to the Women’s Judo camp. We were in a huge cafeteria at Squaw Valley Olympic Training Center during lunchtime. The place was crowded and noisy, full of Olympians and elite athletes of various sport disciplines. 80 Women’s Judo participants were gone to the room after lunch break. Miss Fukuda asked me to stay and talk to her after she found out I was going through very a challenging time in my life, getting a divorce. She was very concerned about my future. She was still a traditional Japanese woman, even though she had dedicated herself to staying single for life to teach Judo. Miss Fukuda started crying. To be honest, I felt embarrassed that she was crying. Yet, during the next few minutes my heart opened up and we were balling our eyes out in the cafeteria with our Judo suits on. All the high-energy, elite athletes were staring at us wondering why we were crying. Then she told me if I ever needed any help I should ask her and she would help me, as we are best friends.
I realized then how compassionate and big-hearted she was to cry with a student like me. I was so grateful and touched by her sincere offer. You know, it takes a person like her, wise and with a huge capacity for passion, to dedicate themselves to martial arts: “Judo the gentle way “
Have you had an experience like this yourself? Are you capable to help your students with compassion and big heart?