Happy Thanksgiving 2018!!

I am so excited for this upcoming year and so grateful for the UpLevel Community. I want to share a few things that my family and I are grateful for this Thanksgiving!

Our Theme Song

There is not a lot to say about this. I am definitely NOT a rapper but I picked that line.

The UpLevel martial arts community has visions of impacting people all over the world with the life changing benefits of becoming a black belt leader.

This song helps us describe our values and mission in life.

Check it out…

Come join our movement.

Who knows, you might just get a spot in the next song. 🙂

Two of the biggest lessons from Ironman Wilmington

“Life is either a Daring Adventure or Nothing at all”

I had the opportunity to compete in the Ironman 70.3 Willmington, NC and set a tremendous personal record. I beat my last time by over an hour.

My largest lesson was this – if you put in the work – you will get the result. O, how I wish life was different sometimes.

It is funny. The harder you work – the ‘luckier’ (and faster) you get.

And of course – you need coaches if you are attempting something epicly big. Actually, that was probably lesson number two – why don’t we have coaches for every area of life we want to get better at? In my opinion, we should.

Patty Waldron, I cut 7 minutes off my last swim time. You rock!
Jeremy Walton, let’s just be honest – I have a love/hate relationship with you. 🙂 But seriously, thank you for making me stronger for this race.

I want to shout out to my friend David Berlant for friggin qualifying for the South Africa World Championships – it is well deserved. This guy is a rockstar.

Dan GriebManolo Sandoval (my epic training buddy) , Hector L Torres, Robbie, Manuel McGrinson, and Danny Postell – you are all beasts and inspire me every single day. Keep living big!

And of course, my beautiful and outstanding woman Ms. Rachel who supported me so much the last few weekends – thank you. I asked her the other day, “Rachel, how did I get so lucky in love and in life?!”

My family watched me on the Ironman tracker and cheered me on – I felt the energy. Love you all! Julia SansoneCharity JoanChris WegertAmelia LaVanchyTim WegertAbigail DysonWilliam Wegert. I raced for you all, my students, and team – I want to be an example of what is possible – Ironman says, “anything is possible’.

Much love.

Congratulations to all my other friends who absolutely crushed this race. See you at the next one.

Could UpLevel be an antidote to Las Vegas shootings?


This is how my month started – with this news article being written about the UpLevel team in Charlottesville, VA. (Mr. William Wegert looks so good on camera doesn’t he)


UpLevel Spreads Love to Charlottesville


Love month is over but I would like to request that we send our thoughts and prayers towards the victims of the Las Vegas shooting and that we continue to spread acts of kindness.


Every time I hear a siren, I stop and say a short prayer of gratitude for those that keep us safe. Today, I am especially grateful. I want to say a heart felt ‘thank you’ to our police officers, our fire fighters, our rescue teams, our military, and so many others that dedicate their lives to keeping us safe. We are incredibly grateful.


Being a person of action and not just talk, I always feel that UpLevel should ‘do something’ when horrific events happen. After pondering it for a long time, I want to encourage everyone in the UpLevel Tribe to keep doing what you are doing and to get even more involved in spreading the good news of martial arts to more people. Let’s do it with more heart and even more conviction than ever before.


keep going


I will tell you why.



UpLevel IS ALREADY taking a stand against the evil in our world. I have seen UpLevel Martial Arts give people something to live for, something to stand for, and a set of values to hold dear. Across our communities, UpLevel is positively impacting so many children when they are young and impressionable. We are teaching the way of being a leader. We are helping people feel better about themselves and their health. We are creating a community of people that is welcoming and that shows love to each person that walks in our doors.



You as our student help us in so many ways – you help us promote the values of a black belt leader. We promote health, confidence, integrity, and living by a code of conduct that includes respect and gratitude.



No one that lives by these values would ever feel like they need to take the life of another person.



I encourage all of our staff and martial arts teams across the world to keep doing what they are doing and continue to work with passion to raise up the next generation of leaders in our world.



Regardless if you are a student at UpLevel, a parent of a student, an instructor in training, or someone on our staff, each and every day you make a difference in the lives of every person that walks through our door. Think about the child that takes your class for the first time, we don’t know what path he is going down and we don’t know if he is going to be the next president of the United States or someone who is headed down a path of crime.



Could the impact of the UpLevel community determine the difference?



I believe it can.



Everyone that comes across our path is a person we get to impact.




Love month may be over at UpLevel as of a couple of days ago but would you continue show acts of kindness above and beyond what we would normally do this week and this month? Would you consider buying a fire fighter lunch, thanking a police officer, donating blood, or perhaps stopping for 5, 10, or even 15 minutes just to talk with a lonely soul.



Thank you in advance for responding and I look forward to how UpLevel will continue to make a difference in this nation for years to come.



As always, I am honored that I have the privilege of leading an organization such as this during times like this.



Unleash and UpLevel – never stop pursuing your better self.




Mr. Sam Wegert

Founder of UpLevel Martial Arts

5th Degree Black Belt

Don’t let your team get in trouble.


If you look back through history at the stories of great achievements, you will find a common theme: nothing great was ever accomplished alone. People who accomplish great things always have support: mentors, teachers, teammates, friends. The same is true for us as we train for our black belt, or 2nd degree black belt, or instructor status– We can’t do it alone. We have parents, friends, family members, class mates, and instructors who can all encourage us and help us reach our goals.

Here is the truth – everyone is a part of your team. At least, everyone CAN be a part of your team. Think about it: the person who serves you a double chocolate cone at the ice cream shop is on your team. Your spouse is on your team, the person who helps you bag your groceries is on your team. Everyone you interact with over the course of the day can be a part of your road to success, even when you don’t recognize it immediately. Even if they seem like they are the opposite of your teammate: maybe a driver who cuts you off on the road, or the librarian who fines you for turning in your books late — you can choose to let them be a part of your team by choosing to learn something from the situation they are making difficult. At UpLevel we take that belief to heart, and are very intentional about viewing everyone we encounter as a part of our team for success. We are all trying to live our best lives, and we will be able to succeed far more easily if we include others in our game called life and treat everyone as if they were a part of our team.

Watch this video about teamwork – good teamwork often means putting your own desires and wishes aside.


Exercise: Turn to the person next to you and tell them about 5 different people who you view as part of your team. Not the ones you would first think of – who else is on your team that you haven’t thought of before? And now that you have, how could you appreciate them for being on your team? Share one way.

10 Reasons Why Becoming a Martial Arts Instructor is the Best Job in the World


  1. Attire

You get to wear your pajamas (Need I say more? 😉 Just kidding. Seriously, though, if you have ever worn a martial arts uniform than you know it is one of the most comfortable outfits you could possibly wear. And this is our business attire!

  1. Movement

When I was growing up, it was difficult to get me to sit still. Don’t get me wrong, I liked learning …but I hated sitting at a desk. It was boring. I needed to move!  My mom always told me that if I didn’t study, I would end up getting a job digging ditches. I personally didn’t want to dig ditches, so working in a professional, clean, martial arts environment was a huge plus for me. I get to be active, interact with others, and work in a professional environment, all at once.

  1. Finances

As a martial arts instructor and after apprenticing for a few years, you can make the same amount of money as someone with a 4-, 6-, or even 8-year degree… but without the costs of education that go along with it. The national student loan debt has reached almost a trillion dollars. Why contribute more to it?

  1. Teamwork

There is something special about being on a team. You learn from each other, support one another, and make your best memories together. You’re all working towards a common goal – and you can’t beat the camaraderie and friendship you build in that environment.


  1. Mentorship

Another unique thing about working in the martial arts world is that it works like an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship is an ancient and extremely effective way to master a skill and pass on knowledge to coming generations. It works very differently than classroom learning – it is one-on-one, hands-on, and relationship-based. You can’t beat the model and martial arts is one of the only places you can find that model in today’s world.

  1. Credibility

As someone who runs a martial arts school and pours into my students, I can attest to the fact that your students love to give back to you. Just hang around an UpLevel instructor at Christmas or their birthday and you’ll see what I mean. It’s not about the presents…it’s about how much these people love you for giving to them in their life. They respect and admire you, and it shows.

  1. Impact

I get the privilege of going to bed every night knowing I have made a positive impact on the world. We just got this testimonial from one of our families in our school. Imagine getting to hear this on a weekly basis from your students!



Uplevel is the a family martial arts studio that challenges people from 3 to 83 to be the best they can be. The principle-based approach by the kind but firm staff resonates so much with people because it’s not just about the art of defense on the mat, but also in life. The motto is “training black belt leaders for life.” This philosophy compliments my wife and my efforts with our children at home. We’ve seen an increase in focus and confidence with our school aged kids, and have committed to earn our blackbelts as a family through this program. Oh yeah—it’s fun too!!


  1. Income

I believe a martial arts instructor who is really making a difference has the same level or impact that a doctor does and should get paid accordingly. This takes training, persistence, and hard work but our team has proven it is possible.


  1. Job Security

Tony Robbins said that often money is nothing more than a measurement of the value you add to people’s lives. In other words, if you add lots of value, then you can earn lots of money. In our business, there is no limit to your income OR your impact. As long as there are people who want to better their life (and there always will be) and as long as there are parents who want to set their children up for success, then you will have a job.

  1. Growth

People = job. When you are working with people and children and coaching them on martial arts and life, there is never a dull moment. You get to be in the moment as you serve your clients. The growth is nonstop…martial arts is set up so that you grow until you die and, let’s face it: growth is happiness. When we become stagnant then we start dying.

Not in this job! You get to keep moving up — in your martial arts, your income and your impact on others.


Does this spark your interest? My encouragement is this: try martial arts. If you or someone you know would be interested…let’s get connected! You can contact me at 434.944.5918.




Eat Salt


On May 6th, I completed the St. George Half Ironman, ranked as one of the most difficult half-Ironman races in existence. And boy, was it hard! I had trained and prepared the best I could, but sometimes you can’t know exactly how to prepare until you are in the middle of the event. So, all said and done, I want to share with you the five things that got me through the (name again) Ironman. Enjoy!


  1. Eat salt – Or your muscles will cramp up and you will die and get hit by a car. (At least that is what my coach Hector said! Maybe he was exaggerating…just a bit.) But for real though, when you are sweating profusely like you are during the half (or at least I was!) you lose a lot of electrolytes, the “spark plugs” for your energy. You need to replenish these stores or you will be out of the race before you know what hits you.

Life lesson: what do you need to maintain your momentum in the pursuit of your goals? Do you know yourself and what is sustainable for your own body, mind, and spirit? Are you taking the time to find rest, inspiration, and community – whatever it is you need to not experience burnout?  Are you willing to make those things a priority even if others think you’re “not working hard enough?” or “being selfish”?

  1. Check your ego at the door – and try YOUR best! People are going to pass you – people older than you, fatter than you, younger than you, less ripped than you — they will glide past you like you are a toddler trying to walk for the first time. Don’t think about that. Run YOUR race. No worries – keep your head down.
  2. That being said, be competitive!– win, beat, own, take others on! It’s amazing to see what happens when you stop worrying about your ego; you can give it your all no matter what. Guys twice my age are doing this thing 45 minutes faster than I was! Imagine if they had just said, “ah, well, I’m old. Just finishing it will be good enough.” No! Get after it with everything you’ve got!
  3. Do it for someone or something other than yourself – This is for when the demons start talking to you—when things get hard. If you’re only doing it for yourself, when the going gets rough, it will be all too easy to make excuses..slack off…drop out. To finish strong, you will need to call on your root systems –the people you love and care about — to get you through.

Tip: Note the name of the person or cause you are competing for before the race – keep your goal in front of your mind, or even write it physically on your arm or race tag. This is applicable to anything difficult you challenge yourself to in life.

  1. Have fun! – When you’re enjoying yourself, you get the most out of an experience you chose to train and prepare for. Don’t waste it! How could you make what you do more fun? (hint: see number 3 🙂

Would you still do this if you woke up blind tomorrow? 

Image that tomorrow morning you woke up blind. 

That is what happened to a black belt instructor friend of mine just the other day. 

He didn’t let that stop him from running his race. 

Remember, black belts never give up and black belts always follow through. 

Being a black belt is a way of life NOT a belt. 

Unleash and UpLevel