ATA International

about us

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!

Read ATA International Fast Facts.
See our Leadership.
View our Partners.

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.

Be our guest – stop by for a tour!


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.

Read the full ATA International History.
Read Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee's story

  • 1954

    Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee received 1st degree Black Belt.

  • 1956

    Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee begins teaching taekwondo to Korean military.

  • 1961

    Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee meets Chief Master Reed in Korea.

  • 1962

    Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee arrives in the United States and begins teaching taekwondo in Omaha, NE.

  • 1969

    ATA is founded!

  • 1970

    ATA holds the first ever Instructor Camp for a week long in Fremont, NE.

  • 1975

    Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee marries Mrs. Sun C Lee.

  • 1977

    ATA moves to Little Rock, AR and Grand Master Soon Ho Lee opens the first taekwondo school in Milwaukee, WI.

  • 1978

    The first Grand Nationals tournament is held!

  • 1983

    Songahm Taekwondo, created by Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee, is first introduced at Leadership Camp.

  • 1986

    The Karate for Kids program begins.

  • 1988

    The first ATA Instructor group travels to Korea.

  • 1990

    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. 

  • 1994

    ATA travels to space as a patch on the shuttle.

  • 1995

    The first weapons competition is held.

  • 1999

    The first formal Master Candidate Training happens in Red Rock Canyon, NV.

  • 2000

    Grand Master H.U. Lee passes away and becomes Eternal Grand Master. The Founders Council is formed to continue the legacy of ATA.

  • 2001

    Sr. Master Soon Ho Lee is inaugurated as Grand Master. 

  • 2006

    ATA passes the 1 Million member mark of students impacted by Songahm Taekwondo.

  • 2009

    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

  • 2010

    ATA inducts new Master Council members: Chief Master Michael Caruso, Chief Master Robert Jagar, and Chief Master Cesar Ozuna.

  • 2011

    Inauguration of Grand Master In Ho Lee.

  • 2015

    The ATA Legacy Program was introduced.

  • 2016

    Moved ATA International Headquarters to 1800 Riverfront Drive, Little Rock Arkansas.

  • 2019

    ATA celebrated their 50th Year Anniversary and held the Inauguration of the 4th Presiding Grand Master Gyung Kun Lee.

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