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RUMBLING WITH RUSTY
Gary Smith
March 24, 1986
She started life as Rena Glickman, and today Brooklyn's Rusty Kanokogi is the queen of judo
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March 24, 1986

Rumbling With Rusty

She started life as Rena Glickman, and today Brooklyn's Rusty Kanokogi is the queen of judo

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Don't blink, Kanokogi. If you blink, you push the water in your eyes into a droplet that must roll down your cheek as a tear.

Don't listen. If you listen, you hear the words they are saying to wound you and draw out the tear.

Don't twitch. Don't let them see the tic that always begins under your left eye when your mind is at war with your instincts.

Don't cry, Kanokogi. If you cry, you've lost, because they'll think you are weak. If you cry, you are a woman.

Tough, tough, TOUGH. Keep the pain. They'll pay for this later. Keep it, keep it, KEEP IT....

This, during wars on judo mats and in meeting rooms for the last 30 years, is what occurs inside the head of Rusty Kanokogi, a deep-voiced, short-haired, 225-pound fifth-degree black belt, who has broken knuckles, her nose, an arm and a foot and had 20 fractured toes; who has dislocated one shoulder, both collarbones and a hundred egos in order to make the world a better place for judo.

Rusty Kanokogi is a 50-year-old Jewish mother from Brooklyn.

What kind of a woman would do leg squats on the D train from Brooklyn to Manhattan each morning?

Or mistake an innocent Japanese university student for a pervert on a dance floor and pinch his rear end so hard he fled into the night?

Or rant and rumble until she had almost singlehandedly created the women's judo world championships and bullied women's judo into the Olympics?

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