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A Jew Who Knows His Judo

June 25, 2009 By:
Aaron Passman, Staff Writer
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If Anatoliy Kenis fights the way that he talks, then he'll have no trouble bringing home a few gold medals.

The 40-year-old, Ukrainian-born judoka (that's judo competitor, for those not in the know) is about as big as a bear, but he gives off the air of being quiet and reserved. Get him talking about his 35 years of fighting, however, and he may surprise you, coming at you as fast and as fierce as a lighting bolt.

"I never get enough of it," he said of the sport. "I just love it."

When he competes in open judo in Jerusalem next month in the World Maccabiah Games, he'll be living a life-long dream. He always wanted to fight, he said, but something always got in the way.

"First, it's education; then, it's work; then, it's the kids. It's always, 'Well, I'll go in the next four years,' " said the resident of Holland, Pa., who holds a day job at a Center City insurance company.

Kenis came to the United States in 1993 with a number of titles to his name, both in sambo and judo. Sambo, he said, "is exactly like judo, but in sambo you can do leg locks, and in judo you can't."

The Israel matches might prove to be his swan song.

"This could be my last international fight," he said. "I can still kick a lot of butts, but fighting guys at this level, you have to be 25."

Not that he's worried. The fighter practices at least three times a week and has a number of championships under his belt -- a fifth-degree black belt, for those keeping score -- from fights at the local, national and international level.

"I've been very successful," said Kenis. "Look at my face -- I don't get hit too much!"

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