Also, meet two young Taekwondo students who also took titles at the world expo.
Port Orange Assistant City Manager Alan Rosen took first place in forms at the world expo in an A Songahm Taekwondo tournament in Little Rock, Arkansas, the week of July 8. It was Rosen’s first tournament.
Despite the first place win, Rosen is a world champion in points only because those with black belts are the only ones who can hold world championship titles. Rosen has earned a brown belt and is in the process of testing for his red belt. Taekwondo is appealing to Rosen because much of the discipline focuses on the art of combat fighting, which is why he chose to compete in forms at the world tournament.
Training for competition is easy for Rosen.
His wife Jodi and son Michael also participate in Taekwondo. They each hold the same level belt, and Rosen and his wife often spar with each other.
At one of the inner school tournaments held at The Karate Kids school in Port Orange, that's exactly what Rosen had to do.
He said that, right before the signal to start, the ref leaned over to him and said, “Alan, all I can say is happy wife, happy life.”
Alan Rosen took his chances. He came in first. Jodi Rosen was not defeated, however.
“I kicked you in the head and that’s all I wanted to do," he recalled his wife saying.
The world championships are sponsored by the American Taekwondo Association, first established by Eternal Grand Master H. U. Lee, who came to America from Korea, where he trained many soldiers in hand-to-hand combat during the Korean War.
Rosen said weapons in Taekwondo originally evolved from farm tools that became re-designed for defense when the people were oppressed and began to fight.
The ATA was founded in 1969 in Omaha, Nebraska. Lee later moved to Little Rock where the world expo continues to be held every spring.
There are two Karate Kids schools, one in Port Orange and the other in Ormond Beach. Master Jason Farnsworth, a sixth degree black belt in Taekwondo, owns the Karate Kids in Ormond Beach, while his sister, Linda Halpin and her husband Joe Halpin, own the Port Orange school. Both Halpins hold fifth degree black belts. Joe Halpin runs the Ormond Beach school.
Rosen finds the advancement levels to be motivational. All of the belts to be earned are displayed on the wall.
“You always know where you are,” Rosen said. “You know what you need to do to get [to the next level].”
When someone tests for a new level, the new belt is placed on the wall to show it is ready for the individual, Rosen said.
Participating in world championship competitions is a year-long process. Tournaments take place in various parts of the United States. At each competition, points are earned which are then added up to qualify the individual for additional levels of competition. Competitors can qualify for state and regional titles which can then qualify them to compete in the world tournaments.
Rosen and his family got into the martial arts because the Karate Kids school had a special enrollment. If you had a student enrolled in the program, parents could go to the school free for a month.
After that month, Rosen and his wife were hooked. The Rosens' daughter, Ariella, is the only one in the family who is not hooked on the martial arts. Rosen has not been able to convince her to participate — yet.
Volusia County teens are world champions in Taekwondo
Two area students from the Karate Kids school of Taekwondo in Port Orange and Ormond Beach became world champions in their ability levels and combat areas at the world expo.
Peyton Glugover, a 14-year-old student at Burns Science Technical school in Oak Hill, took third place in forms.
Glugover began taking Taekwondo when he was 6 years old. Currently, he holds a second degree black belt. Glugover trains at the Port Orange school and travels all over the country going to tournaments that qualified him for the world championships.
Glugover began full time competition in 2017.
“I wanted to improve my skills and make my technique better so I could push myself” he said.
There are four areas of competition based on rank. There are forms, weapons, sparring and combat sparring.
In forms, each movement is choreographed to simulate combat. According to Glugover, the movements are created to simulate right handed combat. Glugover is left handed, which makes it more of a challenge for him.
Taekwondo has been a great help for him to be able to be around many people and focus on completing the movement rather than become distracted by crowds yelling and screaming. He often performs before 200-300 people.
The World Expo was Glugover’s third world competition.
Ryan Geary, a 13-year-old student in eighth grade at Warner Christian Academy in South Daytona, won first place in combat sparring in A Songahm Taekwondo at the World Expo. He completed four different matches to earn the first place title and be ranked number one in the world.
In combat sparring, one has a padded stick with which to engage in battle. Judges are in the ring where they award points based on the skill of the strikes.
Geary began taking Taekwondo at 6 years old at the Karate Kids school in Port Orange. Currently Geary holds a second degree black belt. He attends the Ormond school where his instructor Joe Halpin teaches.
In 2017 and 2018, Geary took the State championship in sparring.
Geary has a strong ability to focus on the task at hand. Geary said when it is his turn to go on, he uses that time to breathe, focus, and when his name is called, he is serious.
“People can walk through the mat and I don’t care because I am doing what I am going to do,” Geary said.
Being a world champion is “really cool,” Geary said, because no matter who he goes up against, whether it be someone his height or not, it's a fair game. Sometimes he beats his opponent, and sometimes they beat him.
"It’s funny,” Geary said. "They call me the ‘Giant Slayer’ because I’m always the smallest one in the ring going against the tallest ones in the ring and I’m beating them... For me, I choose to accept that I am small and I have to overcome it, so I definitely don’t give up."
If Geary loses a match, he takes what his instructor says to heart. Halpin tells him that every loss is a lesson to be learned. Geary takes his lessons seriously and uses them to help make him the champion he is.