Updated: Mar 16, 2021
Rena "Rusty" Kanokogi - An American Samurai - a two-part series published in Black Belt Magazine - a heartfelt thank you to Noel Plaugher for an amazing piece of writing.
First, there is something very cool about sorting through Rusty's many keepsakes and finding an original article from 1975 released in Black belt magazine about her story. Back then, it was an actual magazine (I love all the old adds) and now published as an online magazine. It is truly special that Noel brings her story full circle for us in this read.
I have been asked why do I commit myself to this project of telling Rusty's story & my answer is typically something like 'she is the biggest impact on women's equality that is not known.' Moving forward, I will simply say as Rusty did "Why not?"
For me, Noel just gets it: "Her name is not as familiar as some that occupy the pantheon of legendary sports figures, but it should be. Born Rena Glickman, nicknamed "Rusty," she is likely one of the most important figures in women's sports and martial arts."
This article also depicts one of the largest impacts Rusty has had on all of us her teaching. She had the ability to see in others what they were not seeing within. To inspire them to reach that potential, then realize you can reach even farther and higher. Rusty has inspired relentless determination, strength and "left a path being filled with champions all over the world."
Rusty is still teaching me each day we affectionately refer to them as "Rustyisms". Please do not miss this two-part series: