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98-year-old becomes first woman to earn highest black-belt rank in judo

It's never too late to fulfill your dreams. Keiko Fukuda is living proof.

Ms. Fukuda of San Francisco is 98-years-old, 4 feet 10 inches tall and 100 pounds. She has also recently become the first woman ever to earn a 10th-degree black belt in judo, the highest possible level of the martial art.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, only three people in the world have ever reached this level until now, all of whom have been men living in Japan.

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Ms. Fukuda was reportedly moved to tears when she received news of her new promotion from USA Judo, the American governing body for the martial art.

"All my life, this has been a dream," she told the Chronicle.

Ms. Fukuda sometimes uses a wheelchair, but the sensei, or master, continues to teach judo classes three times a week to women and girls in San Francisco, ABC News reports. Her new status recognizes not only her skills, but her legacy as the last surviving student of the founder of judo, ABC News says.

Her grandfather was Hachinosuke Fukuda, one of Japan's last samurai. One of his students, Jigoro Kano, went on to invent judo and in turn taught the martial art to Ms. Fukuda.

Ms. Fukuda, of course, isn't the only nonagenarian to reach her prime late in life.

Earlier this year, Toyo Shibata of Japan became an unexpected best-selling poet at the age of 99. What made her success all the more astonishing was she only began writing at the age of 92, Reuters said.

What do you hope to accomplish by Ms. Fukuda's age?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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