The ATA World Expo is coming up! The event is one of the premier events of the year for the sport of taekwondo and takes place July 9-15 in Little Rock at the Statehouse Convention Center. ATA International is the largest martial arts organization in the U.S. and is internationally headquartered in Little Rock, which hosts this World Championship event each year. The tournament and expo hold title to being the largest annual convention in the city.
During the event competitors from around the world compete in divisions based on age and belt rank. A variety of forms are showcased including traditional, sparring, and Xtreme.
The H.U. Lee International Gate and Garden, located alongside the Statehouse Convention Center on the bank of the Arkansas River, is a landmark of downtown Little Rock. It is named for the organization’s late founder, Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee.
Eternal Grand Master Haeng Ung Lee founded the organization in 1969. Lee (who was born in Manchuria, China) began teaching taekwondo in the 1950s 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.
The national headquarters for ATA are also located in Little Rock at 1800 Riverfront Drive. The headquarters have a museum and also serve as an international training grounds for students.
For a look at the complete schedule lineup of the World Expo event, click here.