GAP, Pa. -- Iranian and Chinese troops will be among those
fighting American service members next week as the U.S. Armed Forces Judo Team
competes in the Military World Games.
More than 6,000 athletes from 103 nations are now scheduled to participate in
the 6th Conseil International du Sport Militaire, or CISM World Games, in
Mungyeong, South Korea, Oct. 2-11. Another 13 nations will send observers. The
U.S. will field 16 teams in sports that range from track and field to soccer,
basketball and martial arts.
"Generally, judo has the most number of nations competing," said USA
coach Lt. Col. Benjamin Ring.
Judo is a popular sport in many of the smaller nations, Ring explained, adding
that its the most popular sport in many of the former Soviet states as well.
It's not too expensive to field a judo team, Ring said, so many smaller
countries jump on the bandwagon. Not much equipment is needed to launch a judo
program, and just a handful of elite athletes can make a big impact.
The United States only has three athletes competing this year in judo:
-- Army Capt. Anna Feygina
-- Petty Officer 2nd Class Bob Yamashiita
-- Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Turnquest
All three are nationally ranked athletes of international caliber, Ring said.
Yamashita took silver at the Senior Nationals in Dallas during May.
Feygina has been competing for more than 10 years, but this is her first CISM
Turnquest competed in the last CISM World Games in Brazil four years ago. Both
he and Yamashita also competed in India eight years ago. In fact, this is
Turnquest's fifth CISM event and Yamashita's fourth.
Turnquest is a mixed martial arts professional who has competed in Ultimate
Fighting Championships. Mixed Martial Arts is a full-contact sport that
combines striking with judo techniques.
The U.S Armed Forces Judo Team has been practicing at Fort Indiantown Gap,
Pennsylvania, since Sept. 19. They have used both the gym and a combatives
They've been sparring with the Harrisburg Brazilian Jujitsu and Judo Team and
also training with the West Point Judo Team. Ring was judo coach at the academy
a few years ago.
Now he's leading the U.S. Armed Forces Judo Team to South Korea for the opening
ceremony of the CISM Military World Games, held every four years -- one year
before the Olympic Summer Games.
CISM is the largest military organization in the world and second-largest
sporting organization, surpassed in its number of member nations only by the
International Olympic Committee.
In the U.S., service members must balance their military duties with their
training, Ring said. "Other countries don't see it that way," he
added. "They're athletes with a uniform."
The USA will field teams at the CISM Military World Games in:
• Soccer (Women)
• Modern Pentathlon
• Track & Field
• Soccer (Men)