History is Made by Four Songahm Legends

ATA Greats Test for 9th Degree During the World Expo


As ATA celebrates 49 years of martial arts excellence, we are proud to say that we’ve had tens of thousands of black belts in the nearly five decades of teaching Songahm. 

However, there have only been seven people ascend to the elite status of 9th Degree Black Belt.

During the highly anticipated World Expo this summer, four ATA difference makers will show off their skills at the International Testing and demonstrate why they deserve to become the next 9th Degrees and have the unique opportunity to carry the title of Songahm Grand Master. 

Here is your opportunity to learn a little more about Chief Master Michael Caruso, Chief Master M.K. Lee, Chief Master Cesar Ozuna and Chief Master Robert Jager. 


Chief Master M.K. Lee

Chief Master M.K. Lee has been training in martial arts for over 50 years!  But his commitment to growing as a martial artist personally, while also helping others reach their goals, continues to motivate this Chairman of Training and International Development at ATA International’s headquarters.   Having worked in both ATA’s Instruction and Training divisions since 1989, he’s made it a mission to provide leadership to students and instructors.  Though he loves perfecting his side kick and working with the jahng bong, his true passion is helping others become the best they can be.

[Click Here to Play Chief Master M.K. Lee Video]


Chief Master Michael Caruso

Chief Master Michael Caruso is an 8th Degree Black Belt and member of the Songahm Masters’ Council.  To say he is well renowned in the ATA community is an understatement.  As a high school athlete, Chief Master Caruso joined martial arts to work on his conditioning and flexibility to improve in his other sports.  After over 45 years, he’s still never looked back.  Chief Master Caruso says his goal is always to help the new generation of ATA practitioners and by doing so, he continues to leave a legacy.

[Click Here to Play Chief Master Michael Caruso Video]


Chief Master Cesar Ozuna

When Chief Master Cesar Ozuna began his martial arts journey, it was 1969 and he was training under Master Duk Sun Myung Asuncion-Paraguay.  As a college student in Stockton, Calif. and training in Sacramento, he tested for this 3rd Degree Black Belt in front of the panel’s special guest- Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee.  His life would never be the same.  Chief Master Ozuna has met many fierce opponents in his day and his recent battle with cancer was no exception.  He is now preparing for a new challenge- testing for his 9th Degree Black Belt.  This ATA legend has made monumental strides in the martial arts community and as he approaches the summit of his journey, he hopes to leave a footprint for generations to come. 

[Click Here to Play Chief Master Cesar Ozuna Video]


Chief Master Robert Jager

When Chief Master Robert Jager began martial arts in 1972 with his brother Gary, he wasn’t going to let distance dissuade him from reaching his goals.  In fact, he would drive three hours each way to test and train at the Omaha, Neb. ATA headquarters!  Since then, he has traveled thousands of miles to help the instructors in Region 114 and beyond.  A strong fighter and loyal leader, Chief Master Jager has developed a tremendous number of black belts and has one of the most powerful Songahm lineages in the ATA. 

[Click Here to Play Chief Master Robert Jager Video]


This elite class of legends has worked strenuously for decades for this testing moment.  Make plans now to be inspired by perseverance, dedication and humility from some of the industry’s greatest. 



Author: Jenny O'Connor



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