Founded in 1969, The American Taekwondo Association (ATA) is the premier North American organization dedicated to the martial arts discipline of Taekwondo.
It is also a founding organization of international affiliates that include the World Traditional Taekwondo Union (WTTU) and the Songahm Taekwondo Federation (STF). Including its international affiliates, ATA has grown to over 1,000 domestic and worldwide independently owned and operated schools and clubs. This includes 140,000 members and over a million students since its inception! Headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, ATA is guided by the philosophy of its founder, Eternal Master H.U. Lee, “Today not possible, tomorrow possible.”
The idea behind the founding of the ATA was to create a national Taekwondo organization that would be based on good martial arts and sound business practices. As it grew from a regional organization to one of national — and ultimately international — scope, the ATA began to establish standards that would ensure consistent curriculum. For example, the ATA began to hold “closed” tournaments — you had to be a member to compete. Instructors had to undergo a rigorous trainee period to become a certified instructor, and the only way to receive certification was to come to Little Rock for a week in August and participate in a Trainee Instructor Camp, complete with physical and written exams.
From the beginning, the idea was to establish the most professional martial arts organization possible. In 1973, the first instructor manual was introduced, providing the methods to standardize the operation of all ATA curriculum.
In 1980, the ATA became the first martial arts organization to introduce a centralized computer record keeping system. This innovation enabled the ATA to maintain rank histories and other important information about the thousands of ATA members. The same year, the ATA began publishing “ATA News” which evolved into the international magazine The Way of Taekwondo.
Membership in the ATA ensures that the member club or school is committed to and follows the training and procedures of an international organization with the highest standards. We at Trautwein’s are proud to be members of ATA, and do our best to exemplify the philosophy, teachings and concepts of ATA’s founding father.