Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Martial Arts Review and testimonial for karate school in Hampton Roads

Beach and Chesapeake Martial Arts Review and testimonial for karate school in
Hampton Roads.

Attached martial arts review video:


 Changing Lives ATA Martial Arts hits
it big in local communities. An affiliated member of the American Taekwondo
Association. The American Taekwondo Association (ATA) was founded in
1969 in Omaha, Nebraska by Haeng
Ung Lee
of South Korea. It is one of the largest taekwondo
organizations in the United States, and in association with the Songahm
Taekwondo Federation
(STF) and World Traditional Taekwondo Union
(WTTU), is one of the largest in the world, claiming a membership of 350,000.[1]
The ATA is currently headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas
and led by Soon Ho Lee.[2]

ATA-affiliated schools also host self defense seminars to teach techniques
for emergency escape from an attacker.[3]

Sonngahm Taekwondo

Songahm Taekwondo is the style of martial
practiced at ATA affiliated schools. Songahm means "Pine
Tree and Rock."[4]
According to the organization, the term Songahm itself represents
"Evergreen strength the year round, long life and a symbol of unchanging
human loyalty"[citation needed]
as represented by the pine tree and the rock. Soon Ho Lee gave the name,
Songahm, and its meaning to his brother, Haeng Ung Lee years before H.U. Lee
founded the ATA. In the ATA, the student is compared to a growing pine tree,
from a seed (white belt) to a massive tree (black belt).

According to the ATA, practitioners of Songahm Taekwondo study poome sae
(forms, a preset combination of offensive and defensive techniques, designed to
simulate self-defense techniques being used upon multiple opponents),
gyeo-roo-gi (sparring), one-steps (scripted sparring segments), self defense,
rebreakable plastic board breaking, weapons and leadership. The ATA has a
leadership program that allows students to work as junior leaders/instructors
in junior classes. This helps the trainee instructors become qualified
taekwondo instructors and earn the ATA title of Certified Instructor.[4]

According to the ATA each belt has a symbolic meaning that compares the
student’s growth in taekwondo to the growth of a pine tree:

  • White belt
    – "Pure and without the knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo. As with the
    Pine Tree, the seed must now be planted and nourished to develop strong
  • Orange
    belt – "The sun is beginning to rise. As with the morning’s dawn,
    only the beauty of the sunrise is seen rather than the immense
  • Yellow
    belt – "The seed is beginning to see the sunlight."[7]
  • Camouflage
    belt – "The sapling is hidden amongst the taller pines and must now
    fight its way upwards."[8]
  • Green belt
    – "The pine tree is beginning to develop and grow in strength."[9]
  • Purple
    belt – "Coming to the mountain. The tree is in mid-growth and now the
    path becomes steep."[10]
  • Blue belt
    – "The tree reaches for the sky towards new heights."[11]
  • Brown belt
    – "The tree is firmly rooted in the earth"[12]
  • Red belt –
    "The sun is setting. The first phase of growth has been
  • 1st Degree
    Black Belt Recommended (half red and half black in appearance) – "The
    dawn of a new day. The sun breaks through the darkness."
  • 1st Degree
    Black Belt – "Begin planting seeds for the future."[14]
  • 2nd Degree
    Black Belt – "With your noble character, you will develop a new
    permanence in life." [4]
  • 3rd Degree
    Black Belt – "Peace of mind and tranquility." [4]
  • 4th Degree
    Black Belt – "Crest of granite mountain." [4]
  • 5th Degree
    Black Belt – "Mastered all kinds of knowledge and utilizes this to do
    many things." [4]
  • 6th Degree
    Black Belt – "Long Life." [citation needed]

Belt and rank system

The American Taekwondo Association uses a rank system divided into two
series: the colored belt series, and the black belt series. The
purposes of a rank system include establishing a chain of command, and
measurement of student progress. Each series has nine ranks within it due to
the significance of the number nine as the highest attainable goal of a
measurable endeavor in oriental culture.[4][dubious

The use of nine levels in the colored belt and black belt systems, is rooted
in Korean numerology and has been explained by General Choi (nine is an
important number in Korean culture). The increased number of smaller goals
provided by nine levels of colored belt rank was designed "for added motivation
by giving many short term goals to achieve and eliminating having to remain in
a single color for several months at a time" and likely satisfies the need
of many American students for immediate gratification.[5]

Each rank from orange belt to second degree black belt may be held either as
a Recommended (R) or Decided (D) rank. The "decided" rank is a half
step above the "recommended" rank. Some schools denote this rank with
a piece of black tape around the end of the belt hanging on the student’s right
side. Other schools show the recommended rank with dual colored belts. The
higher rank would be worn as the top half of the belt and the lesser rank as
the bottom half of the belt. Decided ranks wear the full color belt. At
promotional rank testings, students may receive a "Full Pass,"
"Half Pass," or "No Change." In rare cases where students
have prior martial arts experience, they may be promoted by 1½ ranks or
"double test" and get a full two rank promotion. For example, a
decided Camo Belt (6D) could go half a rank to recommended Green Belt (Half
Green/Half Camo – 5R), a full rank to decided Green Belt (Solid Green – 5D), or
stay the same. And in extreme cases, if they go 1½ ranks, they would become
recommended Purple Belt (Half Purple/Half Green – 4R) or "double
Test" and achieve decided Purple Belt (Solid Purple – 4D).[citation needed]

Colored belt series

  • 9th Grade
    White Belt
  • 8th Grade
    Orange Belt Recommended (8R)
  • 8th Grade
    Orange Belt Decided (8D)
  • 7th Grade
    Yellow Belt Recommended (7R)
  • 7th Grade
    Yellow Belt Decided (7D)
  • 6th Grade
    Camouflage Belt Recommended (6R)
  • 6th Grade
    Camouflage Belt Decided (6D)
  • 5th Grade
    Green Belt Recommended (5R)
  • 5th Grade
    Green Belt Decided (5D)
  • 4th Grade
    Purple Belt Recommended (4R)
  • 4th Grade Purple
    Belt Decided (4D)
  • 3rd Grade
    Blue Belt Recommended (3R)
  • 3rd Grade
    Blue Belt Decided (3D)
  • 2nd Grade
    Brown Belt Recommended (2R)
  • 2nd Grade
    Brown Belt Decided (2D)
  • 1st Grade
    Red Belt Recommended (1R)
  • 1st Grade
    Red Belt Decided (1D)

Black belt series

  • 1st Degree
    Black Belt Recommended (1BR, Red/Black Belt)
  • 1st Degree
    Black Belt Decided (1BD)
  • 2nd Degree
    Black Belt Recommended (2BR)
  • 2nd Degree
    Black Belt Decided (2BD)
  • 3rd Degree
    Black Belt (3BD, 3rd-9th degree are "Decided" ranks – there are
    no "Recommendeds")
  • 4th Degree
    Black Belt (4BD)
  • 5th Degree
    Black Belt (5BD)
  • 6th Degree
    Black Belt (6BD) Eligible for the title Master
  • 7th Degree
    Black Belt (7BD) Eligible for the title Senior Master
  • 8th Degree
    Black Belt (8BD) Eligible for the title Chief Master
  • 9th Degree
    Black Belt (9BD) Grand Master[15]

For recommended Black Belt ranks, the student is required to successfully
pass testing for their next decided rank within 6 months of achieving their
current recommended rank. Failure to do so would result in the student being
returned to their next lowest decided rank (i.e. a 2nd Degree recommended would
be returned to 1st Degree decided).

The honorary rank of 10th Degree Black Belt, styled "Eternal Grand
Master", was bestowed upon Haeng Ung Lee following his death in 2000. The
rank was sponsored and awarded by Grand Masters of other major martial arts,[citation needed]
many of whom attended Haeng Ung Lee’s funeral.[16]


Upon attaining the rank of 6th Degree black belt, the next step is earning
the mantle of "Master Instructor"; this is not automatic. A 5th
Degree may only test for 6th Degree at the Songahm Taekwondo World
Championships, held in Little Rock, Arkansas each June. The new 6th Degree will
have new criteria which must be met in order to apply for Mastership, and
cannot be awarded until Worlds the following year. Similarly, there is a
minimum period of a year between earning a 7th Degree and the Senior Master
title, as well as 8th Degree and the Chief Master title. Mastership is only
earned after many years of dedication to the ATA,[citation needed]
which is why Masters are styled "Instructors of Instructors." [4]

Tiny Tigers

The Taekwondo for Tiny Tigers program for preschool students (2-6) uses
patches with animals on them instead of black stripes on the belt to denote the
half step graduations: Tiger for orange belt; Cheetah for yellow; Lion for
camo; Eagle for green; Phoenix for purple; Dragon for blue; Cobra for brown;
and Panther for red. [17]


A form (poome sae) is a series of kicks, blocks and other techniques put
together in a set pattern. The pattern becomes more complex as students
progress through the ranks. For example, the 9th grade white belt form contains
eighteen moves. The 5th grade green belt form has 34 moves, the 1st degree
black belt form has 81 moves, and the 9th degree black belt form has 99 moves.
If all of the forms (eighteen in all) are done in sequence, they form the
pattern of a nine pointed star (eight outer points plus a center point)
referred to as the Songahm Star. According to the ATA, when the outer points of
the Songahm star are connected, they form a circle which exemplifies complete
balance. The ATA claims that forms create a contextual application for new
material learned at each belt level.[4]

Colored belts

  • 9th Grade
    White Belt – Songahm 1 – 18 moves [5]
  • 8th Grade
    Orange Belt – Songahm 2 – 23 moves[6]
  • 7th Grade
    Yellow Belt – Songahm 3 – 28 moves[7]
  • 6th Grade
    Camouflage Belt – Songahm 4 – 31 moves[8]
  • 5th Grade
    Green Belt – Songahm 5 – 34 moves[9]
  • 4th Grade
    Purple Belt – In Wha 1 – 44 moves[10]
  • 3rd Grade
    Blue Belt – In Wha 2 – 42 moves[11]
  • 2nd Grade
    Brown Belt – Choong Jung 1 – 44 moves[12]
  • 1st Grade
    Red Belt – Choong Jung 2 – 46 moves [13]

Black belts

  • 1st Degree
    Black Belt – Shim Jun – 81 moves [14]
  • 2nd Degree
    Black Belt – Jung Yul – 82 moves [4]
  • 3rd Degree
    Black Belt – Chung San – 83 moves [4]
  • 4th Degree
    Black Belt – Sok Bong – 84 moves [4]
  • 5th Degree
    Black Belt – Chung Hae – 95 moves [4]
  • 6th Degree
    Black Belt – Jhang Soo – 96 moves [4]
  • 7th Degree
    Black Belt – Chul Joon – 97 moves
  • 8th Degree
    Black Belt – Sah Boo – 98 moves
  • 9th Degree
    Black Belt – Dong Seung – 99 moves [citation needed]

[One-step sparring

One steps are a short combination of blocks, strikes and kicks that serve as
a precursor to free sparring. The ATA aims to teach students to put moves into
combinations, focus their techniques at a specific target, learn distancing and
gain self control. There are three specific one steps for each belt level
starting at white belt and ending with green. As with the forms, the one steps
become more complex as a student progresses in rank.[5][6][7][8][9]


Students and instructors alike each wear a traditional white dobok with the
appropriate belt to all classes, promotional rank testings, and tournaments.
Each dobok has on the right breast an ATA shield patch with a school or
club-specific patch on the left. On the back of the uniform, instructors and
trainee instructors are required to have the word "TAEKWONDO" arching
over a red and blue ATA patch. Underneath the patch is the instructor’s name,
either as "JOHN DOE" or "J. DOE." Non-instructor students
may wear a uniform with "TAEKWONDO" and an ATA patch on the back,
however, these students do not wear their names on their backs. Instead of a
name, the student will have the location of the dojahng (dojo) he or she
attends, e.g., "Norman, Oklahoma." [4]

ATA Patch

ATA patch

ATA students wear a patch on the right breast that is in the shape of a
shield. At the top-left of the patch is the American Flag. The flag of South
Korea is next to it in the top-right corner. The lower two-thirds of the patch
is a white field with a large "ATA," the consonant in blue and the
vowels in red, tapering away from the center. The stitching around the flags
and the whole of the patch is blue.

The ATA patch worn on the back of the uniform is made up of large block
letters with the same color pattern as on the breast patch. The rear patch has
a white silhouette of a jump side kick superimposed on it.[citation needed]

Black Belt Club patch

Black Belt Club patch or Master Club patch

The Black Belt Club (BBC) or Master Club (MC) patch is worn on the top of
the left sleeve. The BBC patch is in the shape of an inverted triangle over top
of a circle. The MC patch is in the shape of a circle with the Songahm star
stitched into the center. These patches are worn by all members of the
respective club. The BBC and MC are where students may learn additional
material as communicated by their instructor for additional fees.[18]

ATA Leadership Program patch

Leadership Program patch

The Leadership Program Club patch is worn on the top of both sleeves. This
patch is worn by all members of the Leadership Program. The Leadership Program
is where students learn advanced training material and leadership/instructing
skills for additional fees.[citation needed]

Instructor collars

Black Belt students not certified as instructors nor enrolled in a trainee
instructor program may wear a one inch black ribbon along the edge of the
uniform jacket from the bottom of the jacket to the level of the belt.
Instructors wear a ribbon on the entire length of the collar with one half inch
of white showing on the top/inside of the collar.

Leadership students wear a 1" Red Ribbon and are eligible to work
toward instructor certification. The Certified Trainer wears a red/black collar
denoting the first rank in the instructor program. The Specialty Certified
Instructor wears a black/red/black collar as the second rank toward full
instructor certification. The Certified Instructor collar ribbon is solid

ATA School Owners may have additional collars denoting the number of
students under their instruction. A Blue Center Stripe (1 ½" black with
¼" blue center stripe) denotes a School Owner with over 200 active
students at a every testing cycle. Silver Center Stripe (1 ½" black with
¼" silver center stripe) is for a studio owner that has 500 active
students at every testing and a Gold Center Stripe (1 ½" black with
¼" gold center stripe) is for a studio owner that has 1,000 active
students at every testing.

The Solid Gold 1 ½" stripe is reserved for the Grand Master.

In addition, a 1 inch black stripe is added down the sides of the pant
legs after a student or instructor has reached 4th degree Black Belt. Any
individual attaining 4th degree Black Belt wears this pant leg stripe
regardless of instructor level or school ownership.[18]

Instructor dress uniform

At promotional testings and ATA tournaments, Level 3 Certified Instructors
have the option to wear navy blue suits in lieu of their doboks. Fifth Degree
Black Belts and up wear matching blue pants, while 1st through 4th degrees wear
grey pants. A special ATA patch is worn on the instructor’s left breast. The
patch is navy blue with all stitching being done in silver for 1st-4th Degrees
or gold for 5th and up. Underneath the shield on the patch is a silver or gold
banner (as appropriate) with the instructor’s title and name stitched in navy


Songahm Taekwondo Federation

The Songahm Taekwondo Federation is a branch of ATA established for South
America. It was founded in 1984 by H.U. Lee and Cesar Ozuna. This was the first
international chapter for the Songham style of taekwondo outside of the US.[citation needed]

World Traditional Taekwondo Union

Founded during the fall of 1990, The World Traditional Taekwondo Union
(WTTU) is a division of Songahm Taekwondo. While the ATA consists of taekwondo
schools in the United States and the STF consists of schools in South America,
the WTTU covers the remainder of the world.[citation needed]

ATA-Xtreme (Xtreme Martial Arts)

ATA-Xtreme is a hybrid of traditional taekwondo open-hand and weapons forms
and may contain acrobatics, and gymnastics, however it is based on the
traditional moves of taekwondo. The goal of its participants is to impress both
the audience and the judges with their skill and choreography. Common moves
include the butterfly roundkick,
backflip, 540
Crescent kick
, double jump front kick,
and Kip-up.[citation needed]

Korean Taekwondo Council

The Korean branch of the ATA.[citation needed]

Songahm Grand Masters

Within the Songahm system of taekwondo, there is at most one 9th Degree
Black Belt within the organization at a time. This individual holds the title
of Grand Master and is considered to be the leader of Songahm Taekwondo. Past
and present Grand Masters include:

Master’s Council

Upon being diagnosed with cancer in 2000, H.U. Lee decided the creation of a
council for the governorship of his organization was necessary. In September
2000, Lee formally created the Songahm Master’s Council composed of some of his
advisers. The first members of the Master’s Council included:

  • Soon Ho
    Lee (then 8th Degree/Chief Master, now 9th Degree Black Belt)
  • Robert
    Allemier (8th Degree Black Belt)
  • In Ho Lee
    (8th Degree Black Belt)
  • William
    Clark (8th Degree Black Belt)
  • G.K. Lee (8th
    Degree Black Belt)
  • M.K. Lee
    (8th Degree Black Belt)

After being unanimously confirmed by the Master’s Council as the next Grand
Master Candidate, Soon Ho Lee removed himself from the Master’s Council to
focus on his training to become Songahm’s second Grand Master. H.U. Lee holds
an honorary position in the Master’s Council.


Changing Lives
provides you with the best
Chesapeake karate, taekwondo a Virginia beach Martial Arts
School of Professional
Changing Lives Martial Arts and Master Instructor Tracy Lee Thomas teaches
karate, taekwondo, kung fu and krav maga to everyone from tiny tigers and kids
to adults and seniors and all levels from beginners to advanced.

disciplines, be it taekwondo, karate, or kung fu, can be practiced by people of
all ages, from the very young, to the elderly. For adults wishing to practice
these disciplines, the benefits of studying them are the same as for children.



About changinglivesmartialarts

CHANGING LIVES MARTIAL ARTS A Martial Arts, Karate For Kids, and Krav Maga school located in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Virginia. With his 30 years of vast martial arts experience, Master Tracy Lee Thomas, founder of Changing Lives Martial Arts has five locations and has been opertating the martial arts business since 1991 in Virginia Beach. Married to Kelly Thomas, they have to children and reside in Virginia Beach. Both Mrs. Thomas and Master Thomas have a strong passion for helping others and it is seen as both are very active in the business and within the community. CLMA is a family owned and operated business that thrives on family values and changing lives. Many of the Changing Lives Martial Arts students are attracted to CL Martial Arts because they want to learn to defend themselves, or how to manage bullies. Others come because they want to tap into martial arts’ vast power as a tool for personal growth and life skills. Still, others come merely because they are looking for a way to get in shape that's fun and spares them the tedious repetitiveness of the gym. Master Thomas has utilized his martial arts buisness model throughout the country with various business'. As a business coach and consultant, Master Thomas believes in working with others to succeed with their personal passion. This desire and passion of his is passed down to each of his instructors and students. If you want to know more about Changing Lives Martial Arts, Master Tracy Thomas, or the programs they offer, please feel free to contact the Changing Lives ATA Martial Arts Team by calling 757-471-9002 or visiting us on the Web at or
This entry was posted in Martial Arts. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s