Instructional Leadership

G. Joe Vassar

Hi, my name is Joe. 

I'm the lead instructor here at the Self Defense Studio, in Stger IL. As a student of the arts for over 25 years, my martial arts training has had a deeply profound impact on my life, both personally and professionally. I began my formal training in the art of Tai Chi in 1989 while attending the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago. 

In 1994, I continued my studies under Master Hyun B. Hu, in the Korean fighting style called Hapkido. I was promoted to the rank of 1st Dan in 2001 under Kwon Seek Hyun and taught regularly at The Academy of Self Defense in Chicago. 

My desire to evolve, explore, and expand as a Martial Artists, led me to a certified system called Kenpo Karate. In 2013 I was promoted to the rank of SANDAN (3rd Degree Black Belt).

As a public school teacher I witnessed first hand how the arts provide a dynamic and engaging learning environment while teaching the character skills needed to achieve long-term academic success. Character Education through the Arts has become my passion. And as a Self Defense Instructor I have the unique opportunity to promote the core ethical and performance values of integrity, discipline, respect, leadership, responsibility, and compassion:  Ethical and performance values that bridge and encompass every aspect of every community.

Student Leadership

Jacob Vassar - Ernesto Ayala

Fitness Coordinator


Event Coordinator

Ana Ayala

Hello, my name is Ana. I am the Event Coordinator here at the Self defense Studio in Steger IL. I became a member of the studio two years ago with my two beautiful, Butt-kicking children, Ernesto and Evelyn. We fell in love! I feel as though karate is more then karate, we are family. I want to help our students bridge community and demonstrate how important it is to give back. I enjoy planning our Family events such as our annual Back to School Picnic, various fund raisers and holiday gatherings. As a Dual-language Instructional assistant, I love working with children and being an active part of the community. Stop in, say hello. I would love to meet you. 


Contact Us

I look forward to meeting you.

 Feel free to stop in or call to schedule your interview. 

Kenpo Ki Do Karate

16 E. 33rd Place, Steger, IL 60475, us

(708) 755-4400



Monday - Friday

4:00 - 9:30 pm

11:00 am - 3:30 pm

(by appointment)


(by appointment)


10 am - 4:00 pm

Sunday: Closed

Drop us a line!