Martial Arts Keeps Family Close

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MOBERLY - Cody Lamb attended four different high schools moving multiple times throughout his teenage years.

Ask any teenager: growing up isn't easy.

On top of that, growing up under a single mother can be demanding especially through tough times. Four years ago, Lamb's mother, Laney Twehous, broke her neck in a car accident in Jefferson City.

"During that time period, I wasn't allowed to do anything. I wasn't allowed to carry a purse or vacuum. It was a very hard time," Twehous said.

With things constantly changing around him, Lamb always had one thing to keep things glued together-martial arts.

"It means a lot to us. We talk about it non-stop. We train all the time. It has kept us tight," Cody Lamb said.

In fact, martial arts became more than just a hobby for Cody and his little brother Casey Lamb. For their family, what most people came to see in Kung Fu movies became the cement that holds the family close.

"The Youn Wha Family, that's what they call it, they're not like other martial artists. Others are strict with you. Here, it's not like you get here, train and then leave. It's more fun," Casey Lamb said.

Twehous was told she had three options resulting from the neck injury. She could have been paralyzed from the neck down, die or come out of the injury alright. For inspiration during her injury, Casey hung a signed white belt by Grand Master Han, the founder of Han's Martial Arts, over her bed.

The hanging belt served as a symbol-that one day Twehous would join her two sons in the dojo once again.

"Very seldom do you see one of us alone. We work everything together as a team. We really are a team and we put everything together as a team," Twehous said.

Four years later, Twehous has made her return just in time to see her two sons claim their first-degree blackbelts. Cody and Casey have taken their training seriously. The two even move their kitchen table to make room to train inside during the winter. During the summer, the family trains outside in the yard.

Both Cody and Casey have reached the level of instructors. Just ask mom, the two sons take an active role in teaching their mother, a green belt, technique during training sessions.

"I am the student and they are the teachers. In class, I am required to say, ‘Yes sir' to them and I am required to show respect to them. And the switch, they can't just say ‘Hey mom,'" Twehous said.

To this group of "three musketeers," martial arts are more than just punches and kicks. The family takes art's teachings to heart following the six fundamental principles: be polite, be patient, be alert, be brave, do your best and respect yourself and others.

"They're all applicable in everyday life, whether that means being patient on the road or holding a door open for someone," Cody Lamb said.

All three find themselves closer to each other thanks to the lifestyle that their craft brings.

"I think if I didn't have them, then that drive to continue on would not be there. But they really are just pushing me along the way, so they aren't going to let me quit," Twehous said.