As an athlete, setting goals is a requirement. Some are loftier than others; about as lofty a goal as one can set, though, is earning the title of World Champion.
Two Waunakee martial artists recently accomplished such a goal. At the American Taekwondo Association’s World Championships – which took place July 8 through July 14 in Little Rock, Arkansas – Aiden Glynn and Christian Rosenstock combined to bring home a total of five World titles. The pair’s performances in Little Rock were the culmination of a year’s worth of competition.
“The tournament season is a one-year season,” said Rosenstock. “The way to earn your invitation to compete for the World title is you have to be ranked in the top 10 in the world for your age bracket, or you could win the district championship. For both Aiden and I, we were already qualified by being in the top 10.”
Heading into the World Championships in 2019, Rosenstock carried quite a bit of experience with him, having already won a combined six World titles between creative, traditional and extreme forms. Rosenstock – a second-degree black belt – started training in taekwondo when he was young, but took an extended break in adulthood as his family grew.
“I always believed in martial arts,” Rosenstock added. “I have a family rule: all my children are going to get a black belt. As my three children went through, they got their black belt. My son – who’s my third – asked me to do it with him, so I demoted myself, went back through the ranks and did it again.”
With plenty of experience, both in taekwondo in general and at the World Championships, Rosenstock knew exactly what it takes to bring home a World title.
“You’ve got to have a certain presence to be able to command attention and catch their respect,” said Rosenstock. “We’re lucky that we have Mr. Moh; who better to help instill a little showmanship in us than a professional actor?”
The normally laid-back Rosenstock was on top of his game, flipping the switch from laid back to intense as competition began. He topped all his competitors in both creative forms and traditional forms to add his seventh and eighth World titles to his collection.
For the 11-year-old Glynn, his task was slightly more complicated. All his forms required him to use his weapon of choice: the bo staff.
“Aiden’s a bit of a bo staff specialist,” said Rosenstock.
Among his group of competitors all trying to outdo one another with flashy tricks, Glynn made sure to put special emphasis on the fundamentals, and his style was a more traditional one.
“Most other people throw wild tricks; I throw less tricks and have more of a traditional form,” said Glynn. “I know some judges; their first job is to judge technique first.”
After perfecting his forms throughout the course of a 15-tournament season, one last tournament in Little Rock was the final hurdle between Glynn and the title of World Champion.
With the stakes raised so high, one might expect an 11-year old to feel the pressure. Not so with Glynn.
“It’s intense; you feel excited…” said Glynn. “I don’t get nervous because my mom’s always nervous enough for everyone.”
After drawing a laugh from the judges with his introduction, Glynn went on to outperform the competition and earned three World titles in traditional, extreme and creative weapons.
Winning a triple crown in weapons was just the start of a milestone summer for Glynn. Just last weekend, he tested for and earned his second-degree black belt, opening up a whole new set of challenges.
“Even when you win a world title, there’s always the next goal and the next goal,” added Rosenstock.
Keeping busy with taekwondo doesn’t seem to be a problem for the now pair of second-degree black belts. Even on the heels of three world titles and just before his black belt testing, Glynn’s mind was still on improvements he can incorporate into his forms.
“I’m trying to work a new trick into my form right now… It still needs practice, like anything in life...” said Glynn. “I’m going to try to work on a backflip.”
“I’ll help you with it,” responded Rosenstock.
If the track record of Rosenstock and Glynn is any indication, none of us should be concerned if we see a young man doing backflips around Waunakee in the near future.
He knows what he’s doing; he’s a World Champion.