by AMY LEHRER

Already famous in the taekwondo community, numerous videos of tiny Beth Am preschooler – Channah Zeitung – exist on the Internet, featuring her fierce determination, impressive bo staff maneuvers and intense “hiyahs!” Merely four, she holds the number one United States taekwondo title for three separate events within the highly competitive eight and under boys’/girls’ division and the number one California state title in five discrete events. Channah revealed, “My bedroom and my daddy’s office are filled with my trophies and medals.” She earned five gold medals at the ESPN Fall Nationals held in Orlando, FL in October of 2012, won 1st place in traditional weapons at the World Championships in Little Rock, AK this year and recently earned four additional gold medals in Texas. Channah excitedly stated, “I love going to tournaments and making friends all over the country. Martial arts is my life, and my family is my competition team.” And this indomitable competitor is not exaggerating. Her mom, Gloria Zeitung, and one of her trainers, Trish Church of Carmel Valley’s Church’s ATA Martial Arts, confirms Channah trains between three and six hours a day to prepare for tournaments.

Inspired by amazing women – 13-time world champion Trish Church, 12-time world champion Alexa Rodrigues, 10-time world champion Rayna Vallandingham and 10-time world champion Kathryn Baron – Channah began her elite taekwondo training at age three. She trains with Sr. Master Church and Trish Church at Church’s ATA Martial Arts in Encinitas and Carmel Valley. In addition, she trains with Jeff Lorenzen, Alexa Rodrigues, Tyler Weaver from Hyper and Grand Master In Ho Lee.

In the studio Channah practices for hours by herself, but outside the studio she behaves like a typical four-year-old, recently playing on stage with her staff and biting her nails during a Katie Couric interview. Despite her youth, Trish Church explained that Channah has what it takes to become a taekwondo prodigy: fine and large motor skills, focus and determination. Channah’s mother, Gloria, embraced the taekwondo training regimen because it improved Channah’s focus, self-discipline, coordination, memory, respect and physical fitness. She reasoned, “Channah already knows that if you want something, you have to work for it.” Channah, in turn, trains hard because she likes it, stating that she wants to become a multi-World Champion and Olympic Champion. She predicted, “I’m going to go to Stanford just like my daddy and teach taekwondo like Mrs. Church.”