The ATA – THE AMERICAN TAEKWONDO ASSOCIATION
Introduction to Try ATA (www.TryATA.com)
Martial arts is a term that encompasses all fighting arts that have been developed over the centuries in countries and regions situated all around the globe. Examples range from the Pankration passed down by the ancient Greeks to modern Israeli Krav Maga and the Filipino stick-fighting of Eskrima. Although it is accurate to state that Taekwondo falls under the general label of martial arts, it stands out nonetheless by not only being one of the most popular martial arts on the planet, but also often possessing some of the most centralized teaching and training systems.
The American Taekwondo Association (TryATA) is one of the biggest and most respected Taekwondo organizations the United States. Affiliated with both the Songahm Taekwondo Federation (STF) and the World Traditional Taekwondo Union (WTTU), its schools teach the Songahm style of Taekwondo as one of the martial arts affiliated with Try ATA. All in all, these affiliations make Songahm one of the most popular styles of Taekwondo and best organized teaching systems not only in the United States, but also on the entire planet.
TryATA Curriculum and Songahm Taekwondo
Although the ATA once used the Chahng-hun style still popular with the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), its affiliated schools currently teach the Songahm style as developed by the Eternal Grand Master Haeng Ung Lee. The Eternal Grand Master felt that the Chahng-hun forms were unable to express the true potential of Taekwondo, having failed to incorporate kicks properly and thus holding back students from learning the moves expected of them. Dissatisfied, he began to refine his own style of Taekwondo while in consultation with other seniors of his association, culminating in the morning of August 13, 1983 when he began teaching his Songahm style to its first three hundred masters.
From 1983 to 1990, Eternal Grand Master Haeng Ung Lee continued to develop and refine the eighteen forms found in Songahm Taekwondo. Each one of the eighteen Songahm forms makes up one step in an integrated curriculum designed to ensure a smooth and logical progression for students of the martial art. In stark contrast to the Chahng-hun forms that the Eternal Grand Master found dissatisfactory, each one of the eighteen Songahm forms is intended to include all or at least almost all of the movements expected of students at that level of expertise. Furthermore, mastering each one of the eighteen Songahm forms means building a strong foundation for the skills and movements taught to the student ascending to the next level, while sparring sessions are held on a routine basis in order to polish those same skills and put them to the test.
“I started training at a Try ATA martial arts school years ago. In just six months I lost 32 lbs. What I liked and love about the ATA is that the classes are not the same old boring gym routine. It fun, challenging and a great martial arts fitness workout that teaches a reality based life skill. My ATA instructor is more then a coach or a teacher, and a mentor in life. Thank you for all that you do for me and my family. A true “Victory in Martial Arts”.”
As a result, the average student’s progression through the eighteen forms of Songahm Taekwondo is smooth and uninterrupted. Each student masters the skills and movements needed to learn his or her current form during the time spent learning the last form, meaning that no student is ever expected to master skills and movements for which he or she is not prepared. By adopting this teaching practice on an organizational scale, schools affiliated with the TryATA can help turn an unconfident beginner who feels hopeless at almost all of the activities into an accomplished veteran capable of delivering full 360-degree spinning kicks with the grace born of long practice.
How the TryATA and Instruction in Songahm Taekwondo Can Help You
Instruction in the Songahm style of Taekwondo is about more than simply developing the physical capabilities of the individual. Similar to many other martial arts that are inheritors to unbroken lines of succession, Songahm Taekwondo emphasizes instruction in both the physical and the mental spheres. Undergoing the educational process at one of the TryATA’s affiliated schools helps to instill in students not only the impressive physical skills of Songahm Taekwondo, but also its values and the philosophy underlying the martial art. Students of Songahm Taekwondo learn to behave in a respectful manner to others, exert discipline and personal control, honor their personal commitments, and persevere in their chosen course no matter the challenges presented to them.
Affiliated schools of the ATA Martial Arts and Black Belt Academy are so strict about teaching such values and upholding the standards passed down to them by Eternal Grand Master Haeng Ung Lee because expertise in the martial art demands a strong foundation on which to build. There is no trick and no short-cut that can be used to turn a beginner into a master in the span of mere months, only dedication, long practice, and hard work from both the student and the teacher. A student who climbs the ranks in a black belt mill without undergoing the proper education and preparation is set up for failure because such a student can no more live up to the expectations placed upon them than an edifice can stand on an unstable foundation.
In contrast to other, less serious styles, TryATA Martial Arts and its affiliated schools understand that the martial arts are a journey that lasts a lifetime. No matter the individual’s standing, there is always more to learn. Songahm Taekwondo seeks to provide a strong foundation for its students in both body and mind in order to prepare them to overcome the challenges that they will face over the course of their lives.