James’ 2nd degree journey

Master Helsdon: So James, you just earned your second-degree black belt. What’s it feel like?

James: It feels really good, honestly. It’s been a lot of hard work over the past two years since I got my first degree.

Master Helsdon: Now, a lot of people don’t make it from first to second degree. Most people give up after the first degree, but you’ve pushed through and made it to the other side. Tell us a little bit about your journey between the two.

James: Honestly, there have been times when I’ve been unmotivated. My parents helped me a lot during that time. I’ve been practicing most of the time at home and at the dojo as well.

Master Helsdon: Excellent. So having people to help push you through. Dad, what would you say?

Dad: He suits up on the weekends, probably here during the summer. Every morning on the weekends, he does the workout in the little gym I have at home. He gets completely dressed, does all his forms, and goes back and forth for about 45 minutes. He practices at home, and we encourage it, but we don’t really have to ask him. He just does it. He does get discouraged at times, but I tell him, life goes by fast. High school years are going to go by fast. Next thing you know, you’ll be working a job. This is something he can use to relieve stress from school and college. It’s something he’s going to benefit from in the long run.

Master Helsdon: Absolutely. What would you tell somebody at the first degree who is thinking about stopping?

James: Just keep going. Don’t give up. Try your best.

Master Helsdon: Excellent. And find a partner and listen to your parents, right?

James: Right.

Master Helsdon: Congrats, man.



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.