Karate Atlanta

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File:Karate atlanta logo.png
The Karate Atlanta logo

Karate Atlanta is a martial arts franchise in the metro area of Atlanta, Georgia.[1]


Karate Atlanta was founded in 2000. It has since grown to 17 schools, with locations in Alpharetta, Brookwood, Cumming, Dacula, Duluth, Dunwoody, Hamilton Mill, Johns Creek, Kennesaw, Marietta, Milton, Newnan, Peachtree City, Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Suwanee. Karate Atlanta is a member of the American Taekwondo Association (ATA).

Grandmaster Soon Ho Lee, a 9th degree black belt in ATA, works with Karate Atlanta and participates in some of their events, including tournaments and black belt testings.


Karate Atlanta teaches Songahm Taekwondo, a style of created by H. U. Lee, the founder of ATA. The core components of the curriculum at Karate Atlanta are forms, sparring, combat sparring, self defense, and weapons.

Forms are series of techniques that are meant to be performed in a certain order with a certain rhythm. Each form is different, and there are 18 traditional forms ranging in length from 18 to 99 techniques. All 18 forms were created by H. U. Lee.[2]

Sparring and combat sparring are the fighting matches that martial artists in ATA participate in. Sparring consists of punching and kicking to the body of the opponent, as well as kicking to the head. Punching to the head is not allowed; kicking and punching below the belt is also not allowed. Combat sparring involves a padded stick instead of the sparrers' hands and feet. Besides the neck and groin, all areas of the body are legal targets in combat sparring.

Weapons include nunchuks, bo staff, kamas, sword, and several others. At Karate Atlanta, students will learn various strikes, blocks, and tricks with the weapons, and will sometimes learn a weapons form. Weapons forms is the same concept as traditional forms; the only difference is the presence of a weapon.

Self Defense is the most realistic and practical part of Karate Atlanta curriculum. It focus on real life scenarios and actual ways to protect yourself.

Forms, sparring, combat sparring, and weapons are all events in ATA tournaments, which students at Karate Atlanta are eligible to compete in.


Karate Atlanta follows the same belt system as ATA, which has students begin at white belt and proceed to Black Belt, a journey that usually takes about 3 years. However, 1st degree Black Belt is just a new beginning, and it will take about 40 years to reach the final rank, 9th degree Black Belt, at which point the title of Grand Master is attained.

List of Belts[3] [4][edit]

  • White Belt
  • Orange Belt
  • Yellow Belt
  • Camouflage Belt
  • Green Belt
  • Purple Belt
  • Blue Belt
  • Brown Belt
  • Red Belt
  • 1st Degree Black Belt Recommended (half red and half black in appearance)
  • 1st Degree Black Belt
  • 2nd Degree Black Belt
  • 3rd Degree Black Belt
  • 4th Degree Black Belt
  • 5th Degree Black Belt
  • 6th Degree Black Belt (Master)
  • 7th Degree Black Belt (Senior Master)
  • 8th Degree Black Belt (Chief Master)
  • 9th Degree Black Belt (Grand Master)

From camouflage to red, students earn two belts of each color. The first is "recommended", and the second is "decided". The two belts are differentiated by a stripe that goes on the "decided" belt.

Effects of COVID-19[edit]

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began to spike in the US, and a series of federal orders as well as state-level orders[5] from Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia caused businesses all over Georgia, including the Karate Atlanta locations, to temporarily close. The Karate Atlanta locations began to reopen in May and June 2020, but most locations required masks, or at least strongly encouraged their use, into 2021.


  1. "About Us | Taekwondo school in Atlanta | Karate Atlanta". karateatlanta.com. Retrieved 2021-08-11.
  2. "About Songahm Taekwondo". ATA Martial Arts - Songahm Taekwondo. Retrieved 2021-08-11.
  3. "ATA Rank System". Master Connell's ATA. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  4. "ATA Taekwondo Belt Order and Rank | Tae Kwon Do Nation". Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  5. "2020 Executive Orders". Governor Brian P. Kemp Office of the Governor. Retrieved 2021-08-12.

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