O ne of my greatest joys as the host of The Aquitaine Project is learning about, getting to know, and sharing with you some incredible women.
I must thank my husband for introducing me to Keiko Fukuda’s story. Thank you, husband.
Keiko is an inspiration on multiple levels. Her courage to find her place in the male dominated world of martial arts, Judo specifically, at a time when women were usually excluded from such endeavors.
Her persistence to keep training, and teaching during and after World War II even at risk to her own safety, because her students counted on her.
Her dedication to blazing a trail for women in Judo around the world and fulfilling her promise to her teacher, Master Kano, at deep personal sacrifice. She dedicated her life to her art, forgoing marriage, and any hope of having children of her own.
These things alone make her a truly amazing woman and someone to admire.
But, what I love most about Keiko Fukuda is the way she dominated the field of Judo, and life itself while living her motto “be strong, be gentle, be beautiful, yet firm and strong both mentally and physically”. Her life’s journey to master her craft and achieve what was once unachievable speaks to my soul in ways that make me question my own level of dedication to things, I hold dear. Yet at the same time she inspires me to continually find ways to make whatever I do, podcasting, consulting, cooking or, creating the Aquitaine Project Sisterhood, better and better and better.
Keiko Fukuda is the Bright Lighter who teaches me the joy of being strong, gentle, and beautiful as I discover my own shokunin kishitsu!