The American Teachers Association of the Martial Arts was founded in 1981 in San Francisco, California by Raymond “Duke” Moore, one of the most influential figures in the history of martial arts in the US. The original plan was to expand Zen Budokai, a credentialing organization and promote the top ten Black Belt members to their next ranks. A meeting was held at the Sutro Cliff House Restaurant in San Francisco. It was attended by not only active members of the Zen Budokai, but also by instructors of independent schools scattered throughout the bay area. The instructors of the schools represented Kenpo, Kempo, Tai Kwon Do, Shotokan, Zen Budokai, Aiki Budokai, and self-defense schools who taught a mixture of Karate, Kung Fu, and Jiu jitsu.
This meeting created an entirely new model for martial arts organizations – the concept of teachers of every system of the martial arts working together to disseminate all elements of the martial arts through the media of local and national seminars. It was to be a democratic teachers organization whereby the arts and techniques of each school would be mutually shared. Two weeks later, on December 19, 1981 the American Teachers Association of the Martial Arts – ATAMA – was born.
Raymond "Duke" Moore