Monday, 30 September 2013

Women and Judo

I was just researching the history of Judo for my article on the Judo Club I go to when I realised that only one woman has ever achieved 10th Dan status - which, for those of you who don't know, is the highest grade that you can achieve. The woman who was awarded the grade was Keiko Fukuda.

The woman herself! Keiko Fukuda
























I like to think that, although it is a little bit of an insult that fifteen men have been awarded the grade and only one woman, that this shows Keiko Fukuda was truly exceptional. I have been told a few times (by a man) that women make better judo players because they analyse their opponent more and don't just go in for random techniques. On top of this, as in most male dominated competitive sports, women are normally twice as good as men because they have to not only work hard to achieve a high level of excellence, they also have to prove they're better than the boys. This is why I believe Keiko Fukuda was and is so special in the Judo sphere.


I'd also like to take the opportunity to tell a whole load of teenage males out there who take part in Judo classes to grow up. Yeah, I said it. Although all the guys my age whom I go to Judo with are fine about fighting girls, most during randori sessions (practise fighting) will avoid going against girls entirely. This is what puts many women off. I have a friend who made it to brown belt before deciding to quit because absolutely non of the boys at her club would fight her. This was made even worse by the fact that she was the only girl there.

Women like Keiko Fukuda really fly a flag for females in all areas of sport because they are a living testimony to the fact that we are just as good as the guys. I'm not 'hating' on every male sportsman out there because there are many who are perfectly fine with women competing in the same sports as them, I'm just telling a bunch of sulky, hormonal teenage boys to really think about what they're doing next time they refuse to fight against their opponent simply because she's a girl. So you might get beaten. That's nothing to do with the fact that you aren't 'manly' enough. It's to do with the fact that your opponent is the better player. Learn from them. Don't throw a strop. 

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Sources used:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judo
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keiko_Fukuda

Image taken from:
http://thesop.org/story/20110815/holy-fists-of-thunder-keiko-fukuda-98-awarded-10thdegree-black-belt.html