Osan Airman embraces "Art of Eight Limbs"

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  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Participating in a combative sport widely referred to as the "Art of Eight Limbs" might seem intimidating.

Senior Airman James Turner, on the other hand, embraces a fighting technique using combinations of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes to subdue an opponent. Muay Thai kickboxing is a sport from Thailand that blends stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques, similar to other Indochinese kickboxing systems.

"Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard," said the 24-year-old Louisville, Ky., native during a recent training workout, which consisted of jumping rope, stretching, sparring, hitting the punching bag and cooling down.

Turner has studied Muay Thai at the Moo Bong Gym in Osan City for about three months, and he trains five times a week for two hours each session.

"The workouts are vigorous, but I understand good things come to those who work hard," said Turner as he cooled down after a series of core exercises.

In a task-oriented profession where confidence and precision are a must, the 51st Maintenance Group aircraft metals technology journeyman's mindset of "pain is temporary; greatness is forever" helps him excel on the mat.

Turner is at an intermediate level in Muay Thai, honing his skills and perfecting techniques with the intent of someday competing professionally in a grand prix tournament.

"He has a lot of potential, but the most important thing is that he wants to learn and pays very close attention," said Grant Master Myong Chae Kim, Turner's instructor.

Kim has 30 years experience, and he has trained more than 500 Airmen -- five of whom have competed at the national level.

In a day and age where modern hand-to-hand combat is backstage to unmanned aircraft and long-range missiles, Turner exemplifies the 51st Fighter Wing's credo of "ready to fight and win tonight" with aggressive confidence and dedication to perfection.