Sam’s Journey to 2nd Degree Black Belt


Master Helsdon: Alright, Sam just earned her second-degree black belt today. How does it feel?

Sam: I feel great! It’s a difficult goal to get from first to second degree. Most people don’t make it through.

Master Helsdon: Tell us a little bit about your journey. What struggles did you face, and how do you feel now that you’ve achieved this milestone?

Sam: As someone who does multiple things outside of karate, it’s kind of hard to make sure that I’m getting in here and getting the classes I need. But I have a wonderful community and family around me that helps me with everything I do. So that really helps. And then just persistence and the desire to get the belt keeps you going.

Master Helsdon: Absolutely. Mom, dad, how has she grown since earning her first degree? It seems like she was just a little kid, and now she’s grown up. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t taller than you before!

Parent: No, I think her commitment and dedication to this, her passion, and her pride in staying true to what she believes in are amazing. She really wanted this.

Parent: Absolutely. And just like you said, perseverance. When she broke her ankle, that was a really trying period. To see her persevere through that and not only achieve her first degree but go on to her second degree with dedication while attending high school and facing other challenges—very proud of her.

Master Helsdon: Awesome. What would you say to someone with a first degree who is struggling and not sure if they should keep going? What would you tell them, Sam?

Sam: Just keep going. No matter how long it takes you, no matter what gets in your way, just always keep going. It’s something that happens on your time and is solely dependent on you. If you have to wait a little bit longer, that’s fine. But you’ll get there and you’ll find the boost you need. You’ll make it.

Master Helsdon: Awesome. Thanks, guys.


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)

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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.