LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An annual expo celebrating Taekwondo that brings thousands to the Capital City will kickoff in less than two weeks.
ATA Martial Arts, the world’s largest organization dedicated to teaching martial arts to all ages, holds its World Expo July 9-15. Specialized training and advanced competition events will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown.
ATA estimates nearly 20,000 – including visitors from most U.S. states as well as South America, Africa, Europe and South Korea- will attend.
This year, the organization celebrates 49 years of Taekwondo excellence. Since 1990, ATA has hosted its international tournament in Little Rock, the place the organization has called home for over 41 years.
The expo’s traditional Masters’ Ceremony will be held Wed., July 10 at 8 p.m. This year’s ceremony is lined up to be historical with a larger group of Masters than ever before. Also, ATA’s presiding Grand Master In Ho Lee recently announced that he will not seek a third term, which means that Little Rock’s own Grand Master G.K. Lee will begin his journey as Songahm Taekwondo’s 4th Presiding Grand Master. The participants in this Ceremony have each trained in martial arts for a minimum of 20 years making this a monumental occasion for those receiving their new Master titles. The dedication, perseverance and loyalty from these Masters is synonymous with the high standards ATA places on its leaders. The event is open to the public, so the people of Central Arkansas are encouraged to join.
Following a week of seminars on business, fitness and martial arts, Thurs., July 12 will begin the highly anticipated Tournament of Champions, which will go through Friday, July 13. During the Tournament of Champions, the Top Ten competitors in each respective division will compete for the prestigious title of ATA World Champion. Divisions are based on age and black belt rank. Competitors will battle it out in traditional, creative, Xtreme and team events. For these elite martial artists, earning a spot in the coveted Top Ten among the best in the world marks a culmination of hard work and passion while competing at national, district and regional tournaments throughout the year.
On Friday, ATA will host its International Testing, where four Chief Masters in the organization will test for their 9th Degree Black Belts. Upon completion, these four will be named Grand Masters in 2019. This has never happened in ATA’s history.
When the medals have been handed out and testing is complete, ATA will begin its new tournament season for 2018 to 2019. Saturday and Sunday competition runs all day for all ages and belt ranks. All four days of competition are open to the public. Each individual day is $10 or you may purchase a $20 pass for all four days of competition. Attendees age 5 and under are free.
Click here to view the full schedule.