Chief Master Tammy Harvey-Stauber of Little Rock has earned her ninth-degree black belt, making her the highest-ranking female within ATA International (ATA).

A ninth-degree black belt is the highest level of rank achievement within the ATA. Chief Master Harvey-Stauber has trained in the art of taekwondo for more than five decades, demonstrating leadership and active involvement within the organization, an exhibition of ethical conduct and contribution to the growth of Songahm Taekwondo. Following her newly earned rank, she will enter a one-year intensive training program to pursue the Grand Master title in 2024.

“Chief Master Tammy trained under the instruction of my father, Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee, and then served as my instructor,” said Senior Master Taekwon Lee, CEO of ATA International. “She is an inspiration to many and honors her title and skill level by instilling greatness into every student she teaches. She is extremely deserving of this elite honor within our organization.”

“Chief Master Harvey-Stauber is an excellent martial artist. Over the years, she has become my martial arts ‘sister’ and always pushes me to train harder – a testament to her commitment to excellence, the values of our discipline and the deep bond that is forged between all of us in the martial arts community,” Presiding Grand Master of ATA International, MK Lee, added.

A native Arkansan, Stauber has been an icon for all martial artists around the world, men and women alike, for the past five decades and has been regarded as a top instructor and athlete. By 1977, at just 16 years old, Chief Master Harvey-Stauber became the youngest person to become a certified instructor in ATA. During that time, she taught at ATA Headquarters’ school, eventually opening her own, Benton Karate Academy. She continued to dominate in the martial arts world by becoming Regional Instructor of the Year in 1989 and opening ATA-Karate for Kids pilot locations in both Little Rock and North Little Rock.

In 1990, she was the only woman competing in the Men’s 5th Degree Division after earning her fifth-degree black belt. By 1994, she had become the ATA’s first female master and joined the ATA Hall of Fame in 1996. Her leadership within the ATA has spanned decades while serving as an International Judge from 1984-2023, a member of the Leadership Camp Staff since 1979 and holding significant roles since 2021 in coaching and instruction for the world champion title-winning Team USA-ATA. Additionally, she became the Chief Ambassador for ATA International in 2021 and has directed the H.U. Lee Memorial Foundation since 2022.

“Tammy Harvey-Stauber stands as a beacon for martial artists, regardless of gender. Both female and male black belts revere her equally,” said Chief Master Betsy Stevens, International Chairwoman of ATA Tournaments. “Her technique is impeccable, and in the realm of martial arts, her power remains unparalleled.”

Harvey-Stauber attributes her passion for taekwondo to her instructor, Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee, founder of ATA International, and is dedicated to preserving his original vision and devotion to the sport. She currently serves as Chief Ambassador for ATA International at the global headquarters in Little Rock.

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