Four local martial artists recently competed at the 2018 American Taekwondo Association World Championships and brought home gold, earning the title of World Champions. They are Anthony Rosa, Sandra Southall, Fredric Garner and Nolan Johnson.
Betsy Stevens, seventh-degree black belt and senior master instructor, owns and operates Bartlett ATA Martial Arts, the home martial arts school for those champions. She is assisted by Tony Rosa, a sixth-degree black belt master instructor, and his staff in passing along their knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo to nearly 200 students.
Anthony Rosa, a third-degree black belt who is starting his senior year at Bartlett High School, is the 2018 World Champion in Combat Weapons Sparring for the 18-29 age division.
Rosa is known as a talented young man with multiple state and district championships already credited to him. He is a staff instructor at Bartlett ATA and loves passing on his knowledge in taekwondo to the youngest of the students, Tigers (ages 3-7).
In addition to earning a world championship, he was recently selected to be a member of the ATA’s Elite Team USA that will be training and competing around the globe against other national teams. This five-person Olympic style sparring team will compete at the 2019 World Championships for the first ever “ATA Songahm Cup.”
Sandra Southall is a second-degree black belt and the 2018 World Champion in Combat Weapons Sparring for the 50-59 age division.
Southall, a Navy retiree, stays in top shape with taekwondo. She can be found nearly every day at Bartlett ATA to train, compete and help the younger athletes realize that the training and learning is never finished and that age is just a number – you can do anything you set your mind to do.
Fredric Garner, a first-degree black belt is the 2018 World Champion in two areas, Sparring and Combat Weapons Sparring for the 40-49 age division.
He is a local high school basketball coach who, at roughly 6 feet 8 inches tall, towers above all others. He trained in ATA taekwondo many years ago but took time out for himself and his family. Returning to the mats in 2017 and setting his sights on earning his Black Belt, Garner quickly got back into the swing of things and starting competing and winning.
By the end of the tournament year, he found himself in the Top Ten in the World and was invited to World Championships. The other competitors in his championship ring knew nothing about him, asking, “Where did you come from?” He fought hard and earned not one, but two World Champion titles.
Nolan Johnson, a first-degree black belt, is the 2018 World Champion in Creative Forms, Creative Weapons and X-Treme Forms for the Special Abilities 13-17 age division. Johnson, 17, has Down syndrome and trains nearly every day at Bartlett ATA.
A spokesman for Bartlett ATA said, “Our school trains many special needs children and has had very positive results, including another former World Champion. Mr. Johnson is no exception. His dedication and perseverance to training and doing his very best is why he earned not one, not two, but three World Champion titles.”
For more information about this martial arts school, call (901) 382-3832 or visit 6777 Stage Road, Bartlett.