The Los Angeles premiere of Mrs Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful was also a memorial tribute to the film’s subject, Keiko Fukuda, the highest-ranking woman in judo. The screening on Nov. 16 at the Japanese American National Museum was attended by members of local dojos, some of whom knew Fukuda.
Many spoke about the influence of “Mrs Judo” on their lives.
Kenji Osugi is head instructor of Sawtelle Judo Dojo, which was founded in 1927 and was visited by Kano Sensei in 1933. He is a board member of the U.S. Judo Federation and a judge and referee for USJF and USA Judo.
“I met Fukuda Sensei at one of the clinics,” Osugi remembered. “I was still fairly young, immature I guess, kind of goofing off all the time. One day as I was being taught certain blocking procedures, Fukuda Sensei came to me and said, ‘Learn from your sister. She’s really good’ … Every time I started to goof off, she would come back and scold me and say, ‘Look at your sister.’”
Years later, after becoming a black belt, “I started to understand judo, how important that little lesson was for me … I started to realize that there was more to judo than just getting on the mat and throwing people around … Until then I didn’t realize how important judo was not just for physical things but to really understand life in general.”