Remembering Fukuda Sensei's Legacy

By Diego Osorio | July 18, 2014, 3:19 p.m. (ET)

With an undeniable power of the mind and soul, Fukuda Sensei, has left a mark that is hard to follow on the sport of judo. Her encouragement and motivation came in three simple aspects “be strong, be gentle and be beautiful.” This is a trademark quote that changed the lives of many and touched the lives on countless others.

After her death in 2013, Fuduka’s legacy is being carried on by those who had the honor of being in her presence, such as Navneet Gill, one of Sensei’s dedicated female students at Soko Joshi Judo Club in San Francisco.

“Hers was the magical presence on the mat – no questioning, no doubt, no judgment – just the lightness of pure truth. She embodied truth and her truth was judo.”

Gill, an India native, explains how her life’s course was permanently altered after meeting Fukuda Sensei. Lately she has been on a mission to spread the legacy that she was fortunate enough to personally witness and experience as one of Sensei’s students.

Navneet’s wish to encourage and empower young girls in her home country is now a reality, partly thanks to the help and support of Keiko Fukudo Judo Foundation President, Shelley Fernandez.

“Judo gives girls confidence and opens up doors of possibilities in their mind. They not only learn awareness and self-defense but also the fact that with discipline and dedicated training they can do anything they want,” Gill said.

With Gill’s endeavor to spread judo and open dojos in India, Fukuda Sensei’s spirit will live on in even more hearts and minds. Lives will be changed and opportunities will be endless.