25th Annual ATA World Expo Brings 20,000 To Little Rock

by Kerri Jackson Case ([email protected]) 178 views 

The American Taekwondo Association International tournament began this week in Little Rock. ATA estimates 20,000 people will generate nearly $5 million for the greater Little Rock economy during the World Expo, which runs through July 12.

Visitors from most U.S. states as well as South Africa, South America, Europe, Australia, India and South Korea, will attend the 25th annual Taekwondo competition. ATA has been headquartered in Little Rock for 38 years – recently announcing its new headquarters in the Riverdale area.

Though ATA was founded in the United States, it has grown into a global phenomenon with presence in 21 different countries.

The highly anticipated Tournament of Champions will be held Thursday, July 9 and Friday, July 10. Thursday’s competition will include the tricks, flips and martial arts acrobatics of ATA-Xtreme and Creative. Competition will be held from 1:30 to 6 p.m.

Friday’s championships will showcase the traditional competitors in forms, weapons, point sparring and combat weapons sparring. The Friday events will run from 1 to 6 p.m.

For these elite martial artists, the championship events mark the culmination of a year of hard work at regional, district and national ATA tournaments to earn a coveted spot among the Top 10 students in their respective divisions. Students will compete in divisions based on age and belt rank. Saturday and Sunday begin the new tournament season and will start at 8 a.m.

All competition is open to the public and will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center. A $10 pass will get you in all four days of competition. Attendees age 5 and under are free.

The ATA was founded in 1969 by Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee. The organization has called the state capital home since 1977. With active membership approaching 300,000 worldwide, ATA is North America’s largest martial arts organization dedicated to the discipline of Taekwondo. ATA is a pioneer in the martial arts industry because of its unique Songahm style curriculum.