By Jenny Ross
When Grand Master In Ho Lee talks about the ATA World Expo, he describes it as scene from a movie: “It’s full of action and something you will never forget!”
With top-notch training, elite competition and family fun, the week-long Expo offers constant entertainment in the place ATA Martial Arts calls home. The 2018 event is just a few months away, July 10-15, and with preparations being made each day this year’s event has so much for attendees to look forward to.
In 1990, ATA’s World Headquarters hosted its first major event, the Grand Nationals, but it quickly expanded into the global martial arts celebration it is today. It is the largest annual event in Little Rock, AR, with nearly 20,000 attendees that bring in over $4 million to the local economy. As Grand Master explains, “The level of talent by those teaching and those competing makes every year even more exciting and more memorable than before.”
Taekwondo, business, and lifestyle training are all part of the ATA World Conference in 2018. This year, there are more seminars than ever before! Some of the best martial arts Masters in the world will be teaching Taekwondo fundamentals, advanced sparring, and weapons tricking. On the business side, you can learn how to enhance your social media presence, implement various marketing strategies and engage in the art of positive communication.
Master Taekwon Lee, ATA Director of Training, said, “This year’s World Conference has something for everyone. With over 40 seminars offered in two days, you are sure to find something that can help you your staff further develop as a martial artist or business professional.”
World-Class Testing and Rank Promotion
One of the most exciting elements of every ATA Worlds is the Masters Ceremony and high rank testing. The elaborate Songahm Masters Ceremony is designed for those who have tested for 6th Degree Black Belt or higher and have met the requirements of Mastership, Senior Mastership, Chief Mastership, or Grand Mastership in ATA. Becoming a Grand Master in ATA is a very rare and exceptional feat (there have only been SEVEN in ATA history). It usually takes over 40 years of training, in addition to the commitment to raising future generations of leaders.
This year the ATA has four outstanding leaders testing for 9th Degree Black Belt: Chief Masters Michael Caruso, Robert Jager, M.K. Lee, and Cesar Ozuna. This exceptional group of martial artists will then spend 12 months challenging their bodies and minds to become Grand Masters in 2019. They have already left an ATA Legacy and will continue to do so as they teach and travel with their newly bestowed ranks.
Each year, ATA martial artists from around the globe compete at regional, district, and international tournaments to earn points and a spot in the coveted Top Ten for the ATA World Championships. The best of the best in their respective divisions showcase their talents for the infamous gold medal.
If you enjoy watching high caliber martial arts action, then you will not want to miss the ATA Top Ten compete in traditional, creative and Xtreme rings.
Following Top Ten competition, competitors of all ages and ranks are invited to compete and begin earning points toward the following year.
The ATA World Expo staff and partners work tirelessly to make this event happen. Whether it’s training, testing, or competition, all of the action takes place on Zebra Mats. ATA is grateful to be teamed up with Zebra Athletics once again.
Sr. Master Betsy Stevens, ATA International Chairman of Tournaments, said this about working with Zebra: “Nearly every aspect of the ATA World Expo takes place on Zebra Mats and it’s great to know that our instructors and students are safer with the quality and functionality of these excellent products.”