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Licking and surrounding area Yaun Wha Ryu

                                                                                                                                                               Photo by Ange Hamilton
Cabool branch students completed successful testing in Mansfield. Front from left: Josiah Wills, Abigale Wills, Owen Labaron, Julie Labaron, Logan Pox and Noah Hamilton. Back from left: Jessica Owen, Brent Owen, Kenley Labaron and Instructor Josh Gorman.


By Ange Hamilton
Staff Reporter

A number of southern Missouri youth and adults traveled to Mansfield Sept. 14 for martial arts testing. Testing started at 11 a.m. with students ranging in age from seven years to adult testing for the first time for their yellow belt, and the day finished with black belts working to earn their stripes.
Grand Master Yujin from Dallas warmed up the students and delivered a thirty-minute speech about the training principles of Yaun Wha Ryu. The speech focused on the Christian values instilled through the training and concluded with an invitation to ask Jesus into your heart.
Grand Master Han’s Yaun Wha Ryu is currently driven by Christian leadership and teaches respect and self-control or discipline. The event was reminiscent of the Karate Kid movies; the rival dojo leader in the movie did not teach respect, but revenge. The dojos in Licking, Cabool and Houston teach the students that to intentionally hurt someone to gain notoriety is not acceptable, and revenge should never be taken upon oneself.
Grand Master Han’s Yaun Wha Ryu follows six training principles that are repeated at each training session. 1. Be Polite. 2. Be Patient. 3. Be Alert. 4. Be Brave. 5. Do your best. 6. Respect yourself and others. These principles allow children that enjoy physical play to develop confidence and learn moral values behind the physical training. The testing allows them to perform under pressure in front of a large crowd.
After the opening speech, the students were relieved to sit down and the black belts were asked to do a demonstration. The two groups of white belts were called to the floor to demonstrate their kicks, basic forms 1-3 and fighting patterns 1-3, at their own pace. They were followed by two groups of yellow belts demonstrating new kicks and three new forms. The yellow belts then put on safety gear for sparring.
The day continued as each of the groups, white, yellow, green, blue, brown and black belts, each got a chance to demonstrate what they had learned. Successful completion of the demonstrations resulted in earning the next belt, or in some cases stripes, before moving to the next belt. Testing day can be quite long, and it ends with a pot luck dinner where you can get to know your Yaun Wha Ryu family.
The organization offers classes in many dojos throughout the region, and testing takes place in cities throughout the country. The two closest testing arenas are in Mansfield and Springfield.
The Licking dojo is hosted at the First Baptist Church and holds training on Monday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m., with Josh Gorman heading the program. Gorman instructs training in Cabool at the Children’s Ballet of the Ozarks Studios on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Fridays at 6:30 p.m. There is also a class in Houston on Saturdays at 9 a.m.
The class in Licking consists of four black belts of varying degrees who act as assistant instructors. Two boys named Noah, who first met at the testing in Mansfield where they received their first-degree yellow belts, are now training there together. The class is open to the public.

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