98-year-old judo master star of new documentary

March 9, 2012 10:33:24 PM PST
A documentary about a remarkable local woman called "Mrs. Judo" will have its world premier at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival on Sunday.

Keiko Fukuda, is a revered judo instructor and the first woman to earn a 10th degree black belt, the highest ranking in judo. She is one of four in the world to hold the title. Next month she turns 99.

Fukuda's story is like a novel, a story of destiny. Her grandfather taught judo and she was fascinated by it. She was independent and defied tradition in a male dominated sport and society.

She taught in war-torn Tokyo and eventually she came to the U.S. as a teacher at Mills College. She opened her judo studio at 26th and Castro streets and she still teaches twice a week.

Her motto is to "be strong, be gentle, be beautiful." It's also the subtitle of the film. It's a philosophy about finding your strength and how to use it.