The Songahm Vision Tour culminates in Little Rock as the ATA honors retiring Grand Master Soon Ho Lee and introduces In Ho Lee as the next Grand Master of Songahm Taekwondo.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 3, 2011) – One year after embarking on a trip around the world, Grand Master Soon Ho Lee and Chief Master In Ho Lee return to Little Rock, Arkansas. The remarkable journey, known as the Songahm Vision Tour, visited places of high significance to Songahm Taekwondo, both past and present. The voyage will conclude on Saturday, June 25th at the Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas during the Inaugural Ceremony of the 2011 World Championships.
Today the world's largest martial-arts organization, the American Taekwondo Association had inauspicious origins in the poverty-stricken streets of South Korea. Its founders, H.U. Lee and Richard Reed, would travel across the Pacific to the heartland of America, where the ATA would plant its roots and become an international leader. The Songahm Vision Tour visited these places and many more as ATA Masters, school owners, instructors, students and supporters witnessed a celebration and a transition, as one living Grand Master will pass the mantel of leadership to the next Grand Master.
Upon entering retirement, Grand Master Soon Ho Lee will have left an enduring legacy upon both Songahm Taekwondo and the world of martial arts. He had the daunting task of following in the footsteps of Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee, whose passing in 2000 left a massive void in the organization. Grand Master Soon Ho Lee would step in with dignity and humility, and then oversee a period of unprecedented growth in the ATA. Many of the ATA's most successful initiatives were developed and implemented during Grand Master Soon Ho Lee's leadership. Soon Ho Lee will become the first-ever Grand Master Emeritus of Taekwondo on June 25, 2011.
After the most extensive review and vetting process by the ATA's Masters Council since its formation in 2000, Chief Master In Ho Lee was announced as the Grand Master Nominee on June 25, 2010, during last year's Opening Ceremony of the ATA World Championships.
Since his nomination, Chief Master In Ho Lee embarked on a twelve-month period of training, study, fasting and reflection necessary to earn the title of Grand Master and serve as Songahm Taekwondo's "Instructor of Instructors" worldwide. He will become only the third Grand Master in the organization's history, following in the footsteps of Grand Master Soon Ho Lee and the ATA's founder, Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee.
During the Songahm Vision Tour, Chief Master In Ho Lee collected more than 100,000 signatures to a petition supporting the Grand Master Nominee. He endured periods of fasting, extensive physical training and a three-day period of silent reflection in a Korean temple. At eight of the locations he obtained a piece of the nine-part Songahm Star, the last piece which he will gain at the 2011 Inaugural Ceremony before he is sworn in as Grand Master. Together, the nine parts of the Songahm Star represent: Vision; Respect; Loyalty; Knowledge; Gratitude; Honor; Humility; Nobility; and Mastership. On June 25th at 6:30PM, the Inaugural Ceremony will commence at Verizon Arena. Chief Master In Ho Lee will perform his final duties on stage before earning the title of Grand Master.
The ATA World Championships is Little Rock's largest annual convention bringing in over 20,000 visitors to the central Arkansas area from 6 continents. Over 4,000 competitors will compete over the weekend of June 24-26th at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. The Inaugural Ceremony will now be held on Saturday night at 6:30PM at the Verizon Arena. Tickets are on sale for $16.00 at the door or online through ticketmaster.com. A live-stream and Video-On-Demand webcast will be available at www.ATAonDemand.com.
With an active membership of nearly 300,000 worldwide, including more than 53,000 Black Belts, ATA is the world's largest martial arts organization. Since its founding 41 years ago, more than one million lives have been changed through ATA's Songahm teachings and programs. For more information about ATA, visit ATAonline.com.