Gate & Garden


H.U. Lee International Gate & Garden

On the grounds of the Statehouse Convention Center Downtown Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas


The H.U. Lee International Gate & Garden is an exquisite South Korean gate and garden, containing foliage, symbolic statues and structures, including a fountain and reflective pool. Its purpose is to educate people about the late Haeng Ung Lee’s (Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee) contributions to society, the country of South Korea and the Songahm Taekwondo style developed by Eternal Grand Master Lee. The gate welcomes people to Little Rock and Arkansas.

H.U. Lee

No individual in his lifetime did more to advance martial arts throughout the world than Eternal Grand Master Haeng Ung Lee. In 1977, Eternal Grand Master Lee followed his dream and created a fellowship of martial artists that grew into the largest martial arts organization in the world, the American Taekwondo Association (ATA). Since 1977, the ATA international headquarters has been located in Little Rock and now supports more than 1,200 schools in 20 countries and six continents worldwide. Eternal Grand Master Lee lost his life to cancer in October 2000 but his legacy is everlasting, continuing to change lives with more than one million men, women and children who have been positively influenced by the ATA.

Reason For Being

• Serves as a gift of appreciation from ATA and its international members and supporters to Arkansas
• Provides a lasting tribute to Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee
• Serves as an educational tool regarding Songahm Taekwondo
• Serves as a symbol of friendship between America and South Korea

Who Made It Possible?

• A combination of people:
• The Lee family, specifically Eternal Grand Master’s widow, Mrs. Sun C. Lee who is
Chairman of the American Taekwondo Association,
• Members of the American Taekwondo Association (ATA), and
• General public, through a public fund-raising campaign


Approximately $1.4 million

Structures Contained In This Edifice

All structures will have description copy to the side, explaining their significance.

1) Gate
Gates are common throughout Asia in palaces. Serves as a sign of welcome

2) Garden
To serve as a downtown respite

3) Two Korean Foo Dog statues
Located at entrance to Gate, to each side Symbolizing protection
South Korean hand-carved

4) Statue of an ATA male student and an ATA female student, both bowing
Located in area just behind gate, one of first things seen upon entering the gate Bowing represents greeting and respect
Each stand six feet tall
Uniformed in ATA attire

5) Reflective pool with seating area all around it
Reflective pool, in the shape of the Songahm star
27 feet wide

6) Fountain
Represents the spreading of knowledge
Nine feet tall (9 & 3 are significant numbers in Asian culture) Fountain contains three bowls
Top Bowl: Three dragon heads
Middle bowl: Six dragon claws
Bottom bowl: Nine Songahm stars

7) Bust of Eternal Grand Master Lee

8) Wall of Vision
Located behind bust of Eternal Grand Master Lee
Displays names of ATA Masters
11 feet tall
Made from Chinese black granite, built by South Korean artisans

9) Bee Ryong Bong
Staff of the flying dragon
Songham Taekwondo’s most valued artifact used in martial arts ceremony From bottom to top, contains pictorial history of Songahm Taekwondo
Sculpted in Hot Springs, Arkansas by David and Bre Harris of Arkansas Light & Time Design

10) Harubang Statues
These large statues will stand guard over the garden
Harubangs originally stood guard outside the gates of the Cheju Town Fortress in Cheju Island, South Korea, and these statues are a gift from the island
The Hurubang’s comical expressions with bulging eyes, long broad nose and slight smile can now be found everywhere on Cheju Island
Made from basalt or lava rocks

11) Statue of turtles
One big turtle and eight small ones
Made of polished granite
Two feet tall, three feet wide, four feet long
Symbolize long life. Nine turtles together symbolize the unity and strength of family

12) Brick pavers
Located in areas behind Gate
Made of various colors of Bluestone Names of donors engraved in English

13) Four benches
Made of polished and raw granite To be used as place of respite

Gate Specifics

Measurement, Other

Base approximately 25 feet long, nine feet wide and 30 feet high With walls (on each side), gate measures 39 feet long
Gate weighs 80 tons
Walls are made of Arkansas river rock and concrete.
Roof of gate is clay tile from South Korea
Gate is made of Douglas Fir
Painted in many primary Korean colors – considered to be closely related to the five cardinal elements of um and yang: blue with wood, red with fire, yellow with earth, white with metal, and black with water
The wood was purchased in the USA, sent to South Korea for cutting and shaping and returned to Little Rock, Arkansas for installation and painting. South Korean artisans came to Little Rock to build the gate (completion time: 2 months)
The South Korean team that built the gate has been together almost 30 years Team is well known in South Korean

Garden Specifics

Designed to provide color throughout the year

The following plants / trees / shrubbery are contained in the garden:
• Trident maple trees
• Kwanzan cherry tree
• Mugo pine
• Japanese bloodgood tree
• Bamboo
• Gardenias
• Azaleas
• Weeping Cedars
• Adagio grass
• Andola junipers
• Jasmine
• Pampas grass
• Persimmon trees
• Japanese maple trees
• Hinoki cypress trees
• Snowball trees
• Fescue sod
• Cypress mulch throughout
• Native Arkansas boulders used throughout

Gate & Garden Opened in downtown Little Rock, AR on June 22, 2007.