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
Don't let them see the tic that always begins under your left eye when your
mind is at war with your instincts.
Kanokogi. If you cry, you've lost, because they'll think you are weak. If you
cry, you are a woman.
TOUGH. Keep the pain. They'll pay for this later. Keep it, keep it, KEEP
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
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?