ATA International History
Posted: June 19, 2017
ATA International is the world’s largest organization dedicated to teaching martial arts to the entire family! With Licensed Locations around the globe, there are over 950 independently owned and operated licensed facilities. Licensees of the ATA have trained over one million students since ATA’s inception in 1969.
Since that first class was taught many years ago, the focus of ATA International has remained the same: to provide students with the highest quality martial arts curriculum available in a fun and positive learning environment that people of all ages can enjoy. Each Instructor is the graduate of an intensive certification process that represents more than forty years of ongoing curriculum research and development.
Your Certified Instructor should be with you every step of the way to help you reach your current individual goals, as well as some new goals you never before thought possible!
What we’re up to
Grand Master In Ho Lee is pleased to invite the community, licensed school owners and members to the organization's new World Headquarters in Little Rock Arkansas. The centerpiece of the World Headquarters is the Songahm Star and includes several water features, in which water will flow from one another and symbolize the passing of knowledge from instructor to student. The new facility will allow the organization to better serve our licensed school owners with the new international training center. Another important aspect of the new World Headquarters will be the museum, which will provide a first-class experience to tell the story of Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee and the history of the ATA.
In 1968, Korean General Hong Hi Choi (the man responsible for originally standardizing Taekwondo in 1955) met with then Master Haeng Ung Lee (now Eternal Grand Master), who at the time was teaching Taekwondo-Japanese mixed martial arts to his organization of followers. General Choi quickly taught Eternal Grand Master Lee the first 16 Cheon-jee forms of Taekwondo in only 4 days and three nights (this system of forms was the first set of forms developed under the new Taekwondo of Korea).
From this first meeting almost half a century ago, the stage was set for the founding of The American Taekwondo Association (ATA) in 1969 in Omaha, Nebraska by Eternal Grand Master Lee.
Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee received 1st degree Black Belt.
Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee begins teaching taekwondo to Korean military.
Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee meets Chief Master Reed in Korea.
Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee arrives in the United States and begins teaching taekwondo in Omaha, NE.
ATA is founded!
ATA holds the first ever Instructor Camp for a week long in Fremont, NE.
Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee marries Mrs. Sun C Lee.
ATA moves to Little Rock, AR and Grand Master Soon Ho Lee opens the first taekwondo school in Milwaukee, WI.
The first Grand Nationals tournament is held!
Songahm Taekwondo, created by Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee, is first introduced at Leadership Camp.
The Karate for Kids program begins.
The first ATA Instructor group travels to Korea.
H.U. Lee receives title of Grand Master, as well as Soon Ho Lee becomes Sr. Master, In Ho Lee becomes Master Instructor, and the first ATA World Championships is held.
ATA travels to space as a patch on the shuttle.
The first weapons competition is held.
The first formal Master Candidate Training happens in Red Rock Canyon, NV.
Grand Master H.U. Lee passes away and becomes Eternal Grand Master. The Founders Council is formed to continue the legacy of ATA.
Sr. Master Soon Ho Lee is inaugurated as Grand Master.
ATA passes the 1 Million member mark of students impacted by Songahm Taekwondo.
The H.U. Lee International Gate and Garden is erected in downtown Little Rock, AR and serves as a memorial to the work, dedication, and commitment of ATA Founder, Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee
ATA inducts new Master Council members: Chief Master Michael Caruso, Chief Master Robert Jagar, and Chief Master Cesar Ozuna.
Inauguration of Grand Master In Ho Lee.