The World Tang Soo Do Association

A True "World" Organization


Grandmaster Jae Chul Shin
(December 20, 1936 - July 9, 2012)

Robert E. Beaudoin


Studio of the Month

December   2015

True Balance Karate

Chief Instructor/Owner:

Paul Helsdon (Sam Dan) & Sue Helsdon (Sam Dan)

Other Instructors:

Kate McConnell—Cho Dan
Lindsey Daehnke—E Dan


406 Ogden
Downers Grove, IL 60515



Types of Classes:

Beginner classes
Group classes
Intermediate classes
Adult classes.
After School Program
Leadership Program


Web Site:







History of the School

True Balance Karate opened August 4, 2012 after Mr. Paul Helsdon attended the WTSDA Business Seminar. He had done some research into opening different types of programs (park district, full time studio,) and became inspired by Tang Soo Do Masters and Instructors to make the leap to open a full time studio. Between himself and Mrs. Sue Helsdon, they placed an emphasis on community, education, and family within the studio and their goal was to create an atmosphere of fun learning while instilling the ideals of Tang Soo Do.

History of the Chief Instructor

Mr. Paul Helsdon began his training in 1997 with Master Jansa at Eagle Academy. He moved away from Eagle Academy in 2001 and trained briefly in Shotokan Karate, Shaolin Kung Fu, and Tang Soo Do. In 2003 he and his wife, Mrs. Sue Helsdon, moved back near a WTSDA school and began training with the Masters Inoshita at Elmhurst Tang Soo Do. In 2011 he began to think about opening his own program and, after some research and attending the WTSDA Business Seminar, he opened True Balance Karate in Downers Grove.

Mrs. Sue Helsdon began her training in 2000 when Mr. Paul Helsdon brought her to a class at Eagle Academy. She has since followed the same path of training he has. Along with training in Tang Soo Do, she has been a special education teacher for the past 15 years. She has applied her knowledge of child development and passion for teaching to ensure that students at TBK have fun, engaging, and challenging classes. She is currently running the After School Program and developing leadership curriculum for their students.

What makes your studio stand out from the rest:

From the beginning True Balance Karate wanted to place an emphasis on balance. This balance could be within the family, work, home, or person. We have fostered a family based culture of having fun while learning. Students who attend classes at TBK will find instructors who will challenge them both physically and, at times, mentally.

Student Testimonials:

My 9-year-old son Ben and I have been fortunate to study at True Balance Karate for around a year and a half. I have a previous background of martial arts from my youth, having spent 10 years studying Tae Kwon Do in a traditional setting. When I met the Helsdons and saw their dedication to Tang Soo Do and the positive energy they have created in True Balance Karate, I knew that it would be a great opportunity for Ben and me to join. The Helsdons have a tireless positive attitude, an appreciation for martial arts, and the patience to teach children and adults alike. Their skills and communication styles complement each other, and they instill in their students the desire to be better martial artists and better people. The discipline, positive lessons, and challenges of studying at True Balance have had a definite and noticeable positive effect on Ben, and I have found a chance to go far beyond what I did in Tae Kwon Do. Ben and I have found great satisfaction in the hard work and accomplishments we've had so far, and we have been proud to represent True Balance Karate in tournaments and events. We look forward to many years of learning, pushing ourselves, and being healthier and happier. We are very grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Helsdon and their staff for their inspiration and all the hard work that they put into True Balance Karate. Tang Soo!
Samuels Family, 1st Gup and 5th Gup

I began training at TBK almost 2 1/2 years ago. I can't begin to describe how much I love it there. Mr. and Mrs. Helsdon are wonderful instructors who really encourage you to keep working on developing your skills and to get to the next level. I love that I am able to get real world application of things that I am learning, as well as some history of Tang Soo Do in class. Everyone at the studio is very supportive of each other. If you don't get something, they will work with you before or after class to help you. There is only positive reinforcement and encouragement here. I never thought I'd make it as far as I have or be able to do the things that I can do. I am stronger and more confident than when I started 2 1/2 years ago. I look forward to each class and continuing on my journey in Tang Soo Do.
Karoline Kellam, 4th Gup

Our family of four all started attending classes at True Balance Karate about 8 months ago. We are all more fit, have better focus, and more self-confidence. Mr. and Mrs. Helsdon and their support staff of additional black belts are excellent. The little dragons program rewards younger students in a positive way by allowing to test up more frequently. As the kids progress into the adult belts they enter the more challenging material with pride and confidence. In many of the classes adults and children are mixed with more advanced belts helping to pass their knowledge on to beginning students. This format has made it easier for us to attend classes together as a family. True Balance Karate fosters a welcoming community and hosts special events for more specialized training.
Ryan Family, 8th and 9th gups

Three years ago, my son participated in a True Balance Karate self-defense class as part of a PTA fundraiser. At the time, I saw a family business generously supporting its community, and patient instructors who would be a great fit for my son, who previously had received PT and OT for help with motor planning and sensory issues.

I might have imagined that today, Will, 12, would be working toward his first gup. He has found a sport that feeds his appreciation for history, and allows him to compete against himself as he learns every form and one step. He's a tenacious kid.

But I couldn't have imagined that our entire family would now be practicing karate at TBK: his sister Ellie, 9, who cried the first time she was invited to break an introductory board; me, his uncoordinated mother, who figured I was waiting through classes anyway; and his father, who decided he'd better make room in his running schedule because there must be something special about this karate thing.

We are not exceptional. We do not have some sort of genetic martial arts aptitude. What we do have, however, are our TBK instructors and our TBK family. The Helsdons and Miss Kate have taught us-and many other kids, adults, and families-with equal parts knowledge, skill, and enthusiasm, and genuine caring and concern that continues to make us feel we belong and can succeed at TBK.

Some of our favorite people are our friends we've made through karate, and the Helsdons are at the top of that list. We can't express how lucky we feel to have found TBK, or for TBK to have found us. We are honored and excited to share in the journey to Tang Soo Do mastery, and we're loving every minute of it at TBK."
Andrea Knudsen, 3rd Gup