About Us

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About Our Business

True Balance Karate provides a warm, welcoming, fun atmosphere for both the most reluctant and motivated students. Its owners and instructors share their passion and expertise in the art of Tang Soo Do, helping individuals gain skills to grow physically and personally.

Whether you consider yourself a natural athlete or athletically-challenged, the folks at TBK see your potential, and support you in accomplishing your goals. Physical fitness and self-defense are typical benefits of practicing martial arts. But students also experience the transformational effects of building confidence, focus, respect, cooperation, resilience, and leadership skills that last a lifetime, on and off the mat.

Every student becomes part of the TBK family and part of the greater Tang Soo Do community. We challenge each other, inspire each other, and encourage each other. We learn to be good partners without hurting each other. And every student makes us stronger, whether 3-years-old or 83-years-old!

Join TBK and take part in a martial art spanning more than 2,000 years. Discover your inner martial artist and become a fierce warrior, a determined competitor, and a knowledgeable steward of an ancient tradition that lives on through each of us.

Black Belt Students

Learn More About Our Owners

Master Susan Helsdon

Master Susan Helsdon

Master Susan Helsdon, co-owner and head of curriculum development, began her martial arts training in Tang Soo Do in 2000, and was awarded fourth degree master in 2019.

To help differentiate from her husband, students refer to her as Master H, following the tradition of instructors Masters I (Masters Holly and Michael Inoshita of Elmhurst Tang Soo Do).

Master H is a certified instructor with the World Tang Soo Do Association and a certified judge. Along with Tang Soo Do, she also has trained in Shotokan Karate, Kung Fu, and Qi Gong. Her teaching experience comes directly from the classroom: she was previously a certified special education teacher at the primary and intermediate grades and holds two master’s degrees in education.

Educating and inspiring students continues to be her passion, and she regularly applies her classroom experience to the training floor through engaging lessons, thoughtful questions, and positive instruction.

Master Paul Helsdon

Master Paul Helsdon

Master Paul Helsdon, co-owner and head instructor, began his Tang Soo Do martial arts training in 1997, and was awarded his fourth degree master belt in 2018.

Master Helsdon is a World Tang Soo Do Association certified instructor, as well as a certified judge. He has trained in several other martial arts including Hapkido, Shotokan Karate, Kung Fu, and Filipino Martial Arts, and is proficient in many martial arts weapons including staff, sword, short sticks, knife, and rope.

A life-long learner, he continues to train with masters from all over the world. This unique experience, as well as his positive energy and extensive martial arts knowledge—and enjoyment sharing both—helps him keep students of all ages engaged and interested in a variety of lessons.

Why Choose True Balance Karate?

Positive and encouraging environment for everyone to learn and grow in martial arts and in life.

Here at True Balance Karate we are so much more than punching and kicking. We concentrate on the whole person, building the students confidence and discipline from the inside out. Our students of all ages feel safe, welcomed, and challenged to be better people. From our SEL program, True Character, to our weekly black belt attitude word (like black belt focus), to our fast paced and exciting lesson plans, you will learn from the beginning of class until the end(and sweat too). True Balance Karate offers programs for pre school kids, school age kids, and teens and adults. Fill out a form or give us a call to find the class that fits you best.

Building tomorrows leaders one black belt at a time

"Everything rises and falls on leadership" - John Maxwell

Leaders are not born, they are created. We incorporate leadership lessons and opportunities right from the start. Then by the time our students are in middle school they can confidently lead a room full of adults. We have a firm belief that everyone can be a leader if they are motivated to learn. Schedule a time to meet a True Balance Karate instructor and start your leadership journey today!

Circle of Power

Our Martial Arts Team Takes Great Pride In The Reviews We Receive

See What Our Community Members Say About Our Programs

Lani Nashi

I recently relocated to this area of Chicago and was looking to get back in to the study of martial arts. I had been searching for quite some time for the right studio. I had questions on transferring my previous experience in a different style, curriculum, testing requirements, etc. My questions were more than answered during a phone conference with one of the owners. Later on, my daughter joined TBK and loves every minute of it. They teach more than just karate - character development, discipline, humility, respect, customs, traditions, and history, all in a safe, supportive, non-aggressive family and training atmosphere. COVID-19 has also presented a host of challenges, all of which TBK overcame with originality and in compliance with the ever changing set of rules. Highly recommend!

Apollonia Ponticiello

Our daughter has now been going to TBK for almost a year and loves it! She’s progressed to Level 1 since starting. And it’s all to the credit of the studio and the Masters, other instructors (shout out to Ms Lola) and staff. Besides the obvious karate instruction the character growth, respect and personal development taught and learned has been impressive. In addition to karate classes there is always something FUN like drop off summer Fridays and parent date night. Overall we’re very happy and we would highly recommend TBK!

Jamie Caldwell

“My daughter started karate at True Balance Karate in the spring. Within a couple of weeks we noticed she was more respectful, better focused, and more confident. I cannot say enough wonderful things about the instructors and positive family atmosphere here!”