Mateo’s Journey to Black Belt

Master Helsdon: Alright Mateo, so we just earned our black belt. How does it feel?

Mateo: Feels good.

Master Helsdon: Feels good. Excellent. So, let’s go back in time when you first came in. When you started karate. What were you looking to gain?

Mateo: I feel like generally strength, being able to defend myself and also a lot of stuff that came with it, like flexibility and all the other stuff that comes with this.

Master Helsdon: Absolutely. Mom, dad, what were you looking for him to gain when he first started?

Dad: Confidence.

Mom: And I just liked that he was interested in it on his own and took it on and supported him doing it.

Master Helsdon: And what did you find now that you’re there?

Mateo: It’s not easy for one thing. But if you do it, it feels good.

Master Helsdon: Awesome. And did you find that he gained confidence and what you were looking for?

Mom: Yes. Absolutely.

Dad: Absolutely. And commitment.

Mateo: I think everyone who went through covid is committed.

Mom: Yeah, and I think he had some obstacles, but he overcame them and here’s the success.

Master Helsdon: Absolutely. I’ll never forget you being DJ on zoom. DJ on zoom classes. Now that you’re here. What would you tell somebody who’s struggling? So, students along their path will all have a point where they struggle. Noone ever regrets getting a black belt though. So, what would you tell somebody that might be struggling how to get through?

Mateo: I would tell someone, if you’re struggling, remember that you’re not always going to be struggling. If you keep at it, the highs will come. It’s just a matter of time.

Master Helsdon: Excellent. Thanks. Congrats.

Mom: Congratulations.



True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon. We offer specialized karate lessons for children and comprehensive fitness programs for adults, tailored to meet the unique needs of each age group.

Kids Karate Lessons

Our kids’ karate lessons are designed for:

  • Pre-school children ages 3-6
  • Elementary age kids ages 7 and up

These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Adult Martial Arts Training

Our adult martial arts training provides a complete fitness and conditioning program for those who want to:

  • Lose weight
  • Get and stay in shape
  • Learn self-defense in a supportive environment

About Master Sue Helsdon

Master Sue Helsdon is a certified instructor with the World Tang Soo Do Association and a certified judge. Her diverse training includes Tang Soo Do, Shotokan Karate, Kung Fu, and Qi Gong. With a background as a certified special education teacher and two master’s degrees in education, she brings extensive classroom experience to the training floor and our instructor’s education.

Master Sue is also the author of Inspired by a Black Belt; Lessons in Focus, Self-Confidence, Respect, and Self-Control. You can find her book on Amazon and visit her author page. She has written all the supplemental curriculum used in True Balance Karate’s advanced leadership training program and the comprehensive character program, True Character.

Contact Us

Our instructors are available to answer questions 24/7 at 630-912-0592. Visit us at: https://truebalancekarate.com/contact-us/  or stop by in person at 406 Ogden Ave, Downers Grove, IL 60515 (next to CVS)

Check out our Facebook page to stay connected!

True Balance Karate proudly serves the communities of Downers Grove, Westmont, Oakbrook, Woodridge, and Lisle. Join us and experience the benefits of martial arts training in a supportive and empowering environment.