Arkansas Ties to Taekwondo


The ATA is the largest martial arts organization in the U.S. and is internationally headquartered in Little Rock, which is also home to the World Championships every year. Eternal Grand Master Haeng Ung Lee founded the organization in 1969. Lee (who was born Manchuria, China) began teaching Taekwondo in 1955 and opened a training school in Korea a few years later. He came to the U.S. in the early 1960s and started teaching in Omaha, Nebraska. After founding the ATA, he relocated headquarters to Little Rock in 1977.

With the passing of Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee in 2000, his wife Mrs. Sun C. Lee (ATA’s Chairman of the Board) continues the legacy of her husband. The ATA opened the H. U. Lee International Gate & Garden in downtown Little Rock during the 2007 ATA World Championships. The South Korean structure honors the ATA founder, salutes martial arts and serves as a symbol of friendship between South Korea and the U.S. Lee, who was good friends with Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey, was instrumental in the city sister concept between Little Rock and Hanam City, Korea. “He was a very personable man, had a huge heart and he respected everybody,” said Kohl. “”He considered Arkansas his home. He spread the word about Little Rock and Arkansas everywhere he went.” This year Eternal Grand Master Lee was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.