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#120689 - 01/18/05 07:30 PM Re: Why is ATA so bad?


ATA stands for American Taekwondo Association, founded in 1968 by the Lee Brothers (Haeung Un Lee being the primariy eldest and Grand Master-now deceased)along with Soon Ho Lee (now the Grandmaster)Inn Ho and Gyun Kun; who came to the US who now run the Association from Arkansas today.

The school and style was once called Songham (which was taught in parts of Korea before coming to the US in 1974). Then it became the American Taekwondo Association of today.

Songham or "Traditional Taekwondo" as they call it in the ATA is still the style taught today.

It's a form heavy curriculum(70% or so, 15% sparring and 15% self defense).

I believe Songham Taekwondo (according to the manuals) may have once been a really strict, hard ass, 5 belt-2 year conditioning course to reach bb in KOREA, THEN you were supposed to become a STUDENT and learn the good stuff in the Dan Ranks.

But then the Lees came to America and ran into some "Schlikmiester Marketing Mavens" and were taught the ways of the 'Grandmaster Dollar' and added 6 plus more belts to the Black Belt curriculum (in 1983) along with some neat videos and books (additionally priced as well) developing what many schools today would be called the Black Belt Academy.

You can still train hard and lose some weight and have some fun with others at ATA. That's ok.

But in most ATA schools, you have to almost pee on the Senior Instructors desk to fail the belt tests (ok, the jr. Color Belts I guess would be more accurate-black belts a little tougher to pass-I saw them fail a couple times in testing).

Like I wrote earlier, this school is good to help you out in other sports that require some balance, hand eye and a little disclipline. It gives the tykes a little confidence too whom are normally withdrawn and shy. I think that modern problem of ADD can be even remedied by places like ATA and Martial Arts in general. and that is nice.

But compared to an old fashioned full contact Kung Fu class (if you are talking traditional, mind you) this may not work for you.

My Kung Fu class did not require a contract and you paid when you could and trained with the "grandmaster" but has you only call him by first name even though he was triple the age of any instructor at ATA whom I called "sir" or "mister/ms".

I believe the Lees had true and emotional ties to General Choi (the recogonized founder of Modern TKD) before going McDojo. I enjoyed talking to them on occasion. I favor Koreans in general for I have dozens of friends in Korea from my days in the service so this is not a slam at TKD nor Koreans whatsover.

In fact, the YMCA in Philadelphia PA has a really nice TKD School in the style of Chung Do Kwan. Very informal but really nice school that stresses more self defense and GOOD HURTING STANCES AND STRETCHES. [IMG][/IMG]

These guys let you train in a T-Shirt and sweats (only the belt marks your "level") and you will be marked up/bruised after a class, but they are good folks. However, the Korean Grandmaster is long gone unfortunately (also deceased).

ATA requires 1 to 2 year contracts and you see the "grandmaster" once every 2 years.

No contracts at all with Hung Gar Kung Fu in Buffalo NY.

Its all about choice as always. People enjoy the formality, rank and file of ATA (it IS very organized).

But I like getting past all that and having someone just really teach me how to stretch, kick and punch with endurance, energy and balance without any of the other malarky.

That's just me. Again, there are olympic style fighters in the ATA and not everybody is pudgy and wind bagged like the myths would believe.

Just a matter of choice is all....

I hope this gives you more idea about ATA-American Taekwondo Association, drp2345

Good luck to you and all your training endeavors.


#120690 - 01/22/05 06:50 PM Re: Why is ATA so bad?

It all comes down to what you are looking for. If you are looking to train in an informal atmosphere that stresses hard workouts and repetition for fighting then a king fu school in a rec center or someplace similar may be for you. You want that traditional, gritty atmoshpere and that's fine.

The ATA is mainly a place for parents and kids to train together in a clean, organized, professional, and fun atmosphere that teaches traditional Taekwondo techniques and more. There are olympic fighting programs and intense adult-only workouts if that is what you want, but if you don't want that you don't have to have it. Grandmaster H.U. Lee's vision was to bring his art to the masses in a place that allows anyone who wants the benefits of martial arts to participate. So if that means making things more organized, and less brutal then that is valid.

Grandmaster Haeng Ung Lee learned the first 16 traditional Cheon-jee forms from General Choi in 1968. He was teaching Taekwondo-japanese mixed martial arts in Korea before that. Grandmaster H.U. Lee started training in martial arts in 1954 as a teenager. He taught martial arts to Republic of Korea military intelligence from 1956 to 1959 then opened a school in Osan, Korea after leaving the military. He opened a few "branches" of this school, one of which at a U.S. Air Force base in Korea. He met a man named Richard Reed who was his student and who brought him to the U.S. in 1962 on a "visitor visa". They started plans for a national TKD organization, and when he came back to Omaha, Nebraska in 1965 he started a regional organization which would eventually grow into an international one. The Songahm Taekwondo forms were not developed until 1983 and have been taught in ATA schools since.

That's a brief synopsis of how the organization started. It was his vision to start the most professional martial arts organization possible. The ATA was the first to keep computerized records of all students and testings, publish it's own organization magazine, as well as many other accomplishments.

All of this would be seen very positively or negatively depending on your philosophies on martial arts.


#120691 - 01/26/05 01:50 PM Re: Why is ATA so bad?

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Applepie:
Why is ATA so bad? My instructor has kept people at their belts if they weren't ready, and has even taken them away when students were disrespectful. [/QUOTE]


#120692 - 01/27/05 04:55 PM Re: Why is ATA so bad?

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Uriel:
Yes, the ATA is the McDojang of McDojangs (in general). Your style is a franchise and nothing more. Your "national" champions are champions only because they don't invite other organizations to join. Even then your sparring is just tag.

MOST ATA schools have a guarunteed black belt program.

MOST of them are great for one thing...


With that all said remember the #1 rule...JUST HAVE FUN

I have been in the ATA for over 3 years and I am a trainee instructor almost a full instructor. Sadly I agree with you. But let me also tell you, I would have NEVER stayed with the ATA if my instructor was just handing out belts. I came to TKD looking for a real challenge and to find out what I am TRULY made of. and I got just that. No gimmick, no extra money for my 2nd degree Belt, just hard work. Most of the Florida schools are owned by one master and he is a busniess man before he is a master. ATA has a bad rep, but MY school is great. My head Instructor is honest and a true leader.

#120693 - 01/27/05 08:17 PM Re: Why is ATA so bad?

ok hows this. i just came from an awards banquet where we discussed with our students how the ATA esq schools were popularizing but basically bastardizing tkd. I think it unfair to make blanket statements about any style or sect, but some of my best opponents have been from the ata. its like asking is ata or ustf better. or is karate or kung fu better. its not better unless YOU have a preference.

#120694 - 01/31/05 07:06 PM Re: Why is ATA so bad?

The ATA was my first organized training in Martial Arts while I was in the military. I enjoyed it for what it was, a workout and a social event. I trained for about six months, earning my green belt. At the rate I was testing, I would have made Black in about two years. It was a friendly place that seemed to have side programs for everything including pressure points, sticks, nunchuks, etc.

As far as MA training? I don't know how much worse it could get. No contact or light contact sparring, really unrealistic self defense techniques, 8 year old black belts were common and they thought they were legit badasses.

They have their own Nationals and World Championships, certify their instructors to teach weapons and groundfighting after minimal seminar training themselves and seem to jump on whatever the latest MA trend is.

When I didn't know any better, it wasn't so bad. Now? Ooooooooo boy. Kind of like a bad haircut you had in the 3rd grade.

#120695 - 02/04/05 12:18 AM Re: Why is ATA so bad?

In some places, you can get double charged if you fight and you are a martial artist or have a black belt. I had to register according to my country's law.

But who will be so stupid as to go around telling ppl that u learn martial art and beat him up, ending yourself in the jail? And beat him up and go. don't let him know your name!!!

#120696 - 02/06/05 03:17 PM Re: Why is ATA so bad?


This message is not a pun towards ATA or any other style. As a matter of fact, I used to study with the ATA when I was a child. I really miss being in martial arts, particularly Tae Kwon Do, because I love the techniques. I've been trying to find a TKD school here in Georgia that does not go by contracts, just month-to-month payments. Lately, however, it's been hard to keep practicing because of looking for a full-time job. I've been thinking about starting up karate, but I'm still drawn to TKD. Does anyone have any suggestions that might be helpful?

#120697 - 02/08/05 06:59 PM Re: Why is ATA so bad?

i think some people may have a misconception. the ATA is not a style or a school, it is jest another organization that schools have to pay dues towards in order to compete at there competitions. the maintain very low standards. now dont get me wrong, there are some tremendous martial artists in the ata, but they are so big, that it is really watered down.

#120698 - 02/19/05 04:34 PM Re: Why is ATA so bad?

Want to hear my amazing Punk Rock analogy?

Once, awhile back in England and such, a bunch of young adults got very, very pissed off with life and began to write incredibly angry lyrics and develop an equally angry fanbase that followed around these new "Punk Rock" bands all throughout the underground very devotedly. To these punk rockers, it wasn't about selling albums and concert tickets to make the monies, it was about Saying "F YOU" to life and it was Lifestyle! A Religion! A Fix!

Then in America, Good Charlotte came out, and all of a sudden, adorable pre-teen suburbibitches started going to Hot Topic and dressing in pink and black and flipping old women the bird and thinking they were the best there ever was.

Long, completley ridiculous analogy short:

ATA and Sum 41 **** and you should avoid them.

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