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Licking Martial Arts

                                                                                                                                                Photo by Ange Hamilton
Josh Gorman is pictured with Texas County students who tested for their next level belts in Mtn. Grove in September. 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 Writer

Licking Martial Arts is run by Josh Gorman and focuses on the Yuan Wha Ryu (awn wah roo) style. 
The name martial arts stems from the history based in Korea. Koreans were not allowed to learn to defend themselves, so they turned it into a dance of repeating patterns. Yuan Wha Ryu consists of learning these patterns, called forms. Each form is a pattern of kicks, punches and blocks that teach the students to defend themselves from multiple attackers. The first form that is learned, when executed correctly, can defend the student against three attackers.
Grand Master Han, 83-years-old, is the founder of the style. He still trains today and formed Yuan Wha Ryu from a combination of multiple styles. This style also can involve weapons training, which is done during special classes offered as all day Saturday events. The weapons training only occurs at the special request of the students. 
The Yuan Wha Ryu style trains by ranks from beginner level white belts, first and second degree yellow, green, blue and red belts. The advanced level starts with the  brown belt and is finished with the black belts, called zero Dan to fourth Dan, before becoming a master at fifth Dan.
Josh Gorman began practicing martial arts in 2002 and began instructing in 2004. He always had an interest in martial arts, but never found the time to take the first step, until he was invited to a class in Rolla seventeen years ago. He fell in love with not only martial arts, but the Yuan Wha Ryu style. The intense focus on values, discipline, and reward were what drew him to the style. Over the years Josh has instructed at least 100 students.
Licking Martial Arts currently has six students ages seven to twelve involved in the program with varying degree belts between white and green and four adult students with black belts ranging from zero Dan to Fourth Dan.
Josh typically begins instructing students at age seven but it really depends on the attention span of the student. Anyone of any age can start training and the first two weeks in the program are free. Two sessions a week are held in Licking, Monday and Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church. There are currently classes offered in Cabool at Children’s Ballet of the Ozarks from 5 - 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 6:30-7:30 p.m. Fridays; in Houston on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. at the Stained Glass Theatre and Tuesdays in Mansfield under the direction of Master Pat at Grand Master Han's Mansfield Martial Arts, where the focus is on helping brown and black belts prepare for testing. Students that have paid their monthly training fee of $30 can train at any Yuan Wha Ryu facility in Texas County and are not limited to training only in Licking. 
There are many benefits to Yuan Wha Ryu besides the athletic training. The six training principles that students learn become an integral part of their lives outside of the training. Be polite. Be patient. Be alert. Be brave. Do your best. Respect yourself and others. You also develop flexibility and stay more active, and you develop the ability to defend yourself but also learn to walk away.
Nick Leier recently received his first Dan; when asked about martial arts training, Leier said he wanted something athletic but also useful. During his training he has meet a lot of good people with good values and that makes him want to continue training. A very large part in the training is learning to teach others. Every student gets the opportunity to help those in lower ranks learn their forms. Nick said, “I now really like teaching the kids.”
Yuan Wha Ryu is truly a family-oriented art focused on discipline and honoring God. If you are interested in pursuing martial arts with Josh Gorman and Licking Martial Arts, call 417-217-9251.

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