Combat Hapkido Senior Instructor

Image 17 December 2018, Copyright East Coast Combat Hapkido Academy.

Joan Helson
Women’s educator, writer, speaker, cancer survivor

Joan is a 4th degree Back Belt and certified Senior Instructor in Chon-Tu Kwan (Combat) Hapkido. A women’s self defence teacher for almost 2 decades, she is the senior ranking female Combat Hapkido practitioner in Canada and the head of women’s programs at the East Coast Combat Hapkido Academy. Joan is an apprentice instructor for the ICHF’s Tactical Pressure Point program and continues to study toward additional certification.

Joan began her formal martial arts journey in 1996 with the Korean martial art of Taekwondo, earning her black belt in 2001 (Kukkiwon certified, ITA certified). A local and Atlantic sparring champion, Joan enjoyed the competition opportunities in the sport, but soon found herself cross training in martial arts that were focused on realistic, practical self defence skills.

In 2002, she attended her first Combat Hapkido class at the Alderney Drive location of Self Defence Canada, where she first met Master Mike Fournier and Master Eric Rushton. She walked in off the street and joined the class in her street clothes. She was hooked.

Joan earned her black belt in Combat Hapkido in May 2008, just 3 days before her first breast cancer surgery. She attributes her perseverance through cancer treatment to the support of family and friends and the ferocious spirit developed through her martial arts training.

Women's Self Defence

For over 18 years, Joan has been creating and refining effective women’s personal safety and self defence programs, drawing on her martial arts training, experience as an instructor of psychology and her extensive work as a research analyst. In 2006, encouraged by Master Mike Fournier, Joan founded Sisu Women’s Self Defence. In 2013 Joan was honoured to be a recipient of the prestigious Canadian Progress Club Women of Excellence Award for contributions to her community through her empowerment-based self defence programs.

After 13 years running workshops and providing corporate training programs across Atlantic Canada with Sisu, Joan decided it was time to change things up, both as an educator and martial artist. Joan was very pleased to accept an opportunity to head up East Coast Combat Hapkido Academy’s women’s program. She hopes to empower women to claim their space and develop the mental and physical skills to be their own first line of defence.

Joan is excited to be a part of the East Coast Combat Hapkido Academy family and encourages women and men of any fitness level or ability to join her on the mats and discover why this martial art is called “The Science of Self Defence”.