Chapter 24: American taekwondo organizations
American Taekwondo AssociationNote: TKDTutor was a member of this organization.
The American Taekwondo Association (ATA) was the first major taekwondo organization founded in the United States. Haeng Ung Lee founded the ATA in 1969. It was smaller than the ITF but had many similarities to the ITF. In the 1970s, the ATA created its own system of closed, member-only tournaments where control, a variety of technique, and sportsmanship were emphasized over winning, using a style of sparring like the point style of karate.
In the 1980s, Lee developed his own forms he called "songahm" and has a copyright on them so they cannot be used in competitions by non-ATA members. Lee also formed an international organization called the World Traditional Taekwondo Union (WTTU) to spread his Songahm style of taekwondo around the world. There are many taekwondo organizations throughout the world, but the ITF, WTF, and ATA have the most members.
Taekwondo AmericaNote: TKDTutor was a member of this organization.
Taekwondo America (TA) is a national organization with member schools across the United States. All the schools adhere to the same principles, standards, and procedures which guide the way the schools teach, promote students in rank, and project their image and reputation within the community.
The Taekwondo America National Board of Examiners developed and certified a comprehensive training and fitness program for instructors and students to follow. This enables children and adults to progress at their own pace, and it ensures that TA schools are able to meet the needs of all students.
The Taekwondo America program is especially strong in the area of children. The structured classes, discipline, and respect that are reinforced each day give younger students tools that they can use throughout life, regardless of their technical skill. The children's program has produced positive results, such as longer attention spans, greater focus, increased respect for others, improved physical fitness, and general behavioral improvement.
Over the years, Taekwondo America has built a reputation based on maintenance of a high standard of excellence. The organization has strict training and promotion standards and does not allow any negative, aggressive behavior, or any misuse of taekwondo in any manner.
Taekwondo America was formed in 1993 after its founders split from the United States Taekwondo Alliance (USTA) now the International Taekwondo Alliance (ITA), due to operational and financial conflicts. Since its formation, Taekwondo America has attracted some of the finest taekwondo instructors in the United States. Currently, it has over 30 schools in 7 states.
Other organizationsThere are many taekwondo organizations around the world. New ones are founded every year, and others fade away every year. Take care in choosing the organization you choose to affiliate with for it may not be around a few years from now.
Although the numerous taekwondo organizations make choosing a taekwondo dojang complicated, especially for prospective students, things are not as bad as they seem. Compared to most martial arts, taekwondo is remarkably unified and well-structured. In roughly the same amount of time it took taekkyon to become taekwondo and split into two styles, Shaolin kung-fu evolved into as many as 1,500 different styles. Students must research the different organizations and choose one that best fits their needs.
Taekwondo continues to grow and change and add new techniques.