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.

 

AnitraPhotography-UpLevel-website-9307

 

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.

 

 

Sincerely,

Mr. Sam Wegert

Founder of UpLevel Martial Arts

5th Degree Black Belt

Advertisements

Black Belts have bucket lists – here are a few items I checked off recently and how you can, too!

I just got back from one of the most amazing adventures of my life with some amazing people!

Three months ago, I told my beautiful and all around rockstar girlfriend I was taking her someplace…where she needed a passport and a bikini. It was November. Just to prove my point on how rockstar this girl actually is, I have to tell you that she played along. And not just a little bit! She even brought earplugs along so when we checked and the lady put our luggage check all the way to ___________ she wouldn’t hear. It was great!

She was surprised when I told her we were going to Cabo, Mexico a city at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula.

20161107_1222540

The plan was to knock off four bucket list adventures in just one trip!

First, we got to to swim with whale sharks (no, they don’t eat people and no you shouldn’t be scared). It was a magical experience.

Imagine this – you board a small boat on a balmy, sunny day and it takes you out to where the whale sharks are feeding on plankton. From the surface they look quite small. Your guide tells you to swim and you swim – as fast as you can – towards these animals. As you approach, you make out the shape of a fish…A VERY large fish. The largest fish you’ve ever been close to! HOLY CRAP – one is coming right at you!

fb_img_1479166879792

Bucket list item. Bucket list: checked.

That same day, we also had the chance to take on a tamer creature:  puppies of the sea. Sea lions. (Why do all of these gentle creatures have such dangerous names?) We were allowed to play with them – and play they did! Dozens of these things swimming alongside of us as we played with them. They would bite our hands, let us tickle them, let us dive and swim next to them. This was even more magical than the whale sharks. I felt like a fish for a whole minute… until my goggles started leaking! Note to self: salt water burns…badly!

Screenshot 2017-01-18 01.19.06.png

Bucket list item: checked!

We also went scuba diving for the first time ever. It was epic.

This country has a weird way of ‘training’ you. You watch a movie for about 25 minutes that depicts people learning to take their regulator on and off in a nice pool of water with big smiles on their faces. I only learned to swim just last year and that was panic-inducing enough, let alone going 50 feet under water! Needless to say, I was excited about the pool trial.

Well, that never became a reality – at least not the way I pictured it! Their version of the ‘pool trial’ was to put a tank on my back that weighed SO much more than it looks like it does in the movies … and told me to ‘fall back’ into the ocean. Mind you, this was not some nice clear water that was four feet deep. Oh, no – I suppose I was too advanced for that because they took us a half-mile from the dock! And that’s where the ‘training’ began.

I’m good at doing what I am told, but this was a new experience for sure: I immediately sank and landed on the ocean floor. That and one minute of ‘here is how you take this off and share it with your partner if they need air’ was all I got for my ‘pool trial’.

Once my nerves calmed —  and they did, eventually — I looked around and realized that I was in an underwater world of pure beauty. The fish, the plants, the shark that swam by… It was magical.

It was interrupted every minute or so by Rachel squeezing my hand and pointing to her regulator to which I would look and give her two thumbs up. (I think she was worried about her air running out. )

What an adventure!

The fourth bucket list item was one that has been on the list for quite some time. :we bungee jumped!. I think I signed a waiver. Actually, I’m not sure. I AM sure that I got exactly zero training on how to bungee jump other than something to the effect of ‘when I say THREE you jump and don’t hesitate or the whole thing might get messed up!’ I’m not even sure what they mean by messed up. I didn’t ask.

I’m not sure if this was scare tactic to try to ensure that I didn’t hesitate, but it worked!

Rachel went first.

fb_img_1479882272079

I will be totally honest – I didn’t want to jump after I watched her. It just looked…well, too…scary. But of course I couldn’t let my girlfriend show me up even if it was in a death-defying stunt! She is so brave.

I’ve been skydiving before, but this was totally different. You were DIVING straight towards a stream surrounded by rocks! Radical even for a 4th degree black belt, in my book

These experiences taught me some very valuable lessons that I wanted to share with you.

  1. Have a bucket list. It is fun! At UpLevel Martial Arts, we believe in the value of #injoyment –which is our way of spelling enjoyment. It stands for enjoying each and every moment of our lives and making them an epic adventure. On our team of staff, we actually hold each other accountable to knocking off at least one item off of our list each year. It goes right on the yearly review. So I ask you, what item are YOU going to cross off this year?
  2. Going on this trip was possible because of #income. Are you investing in something that will provide income for you while you are enjoying your life? I coach all of my staff on our value of #income. To us, it means we are working to a point to where our passive income exceeds our current expenses – we call this financial freedom. At UpLevel Martial Arts, we are all working towards this. Not so we can sit on our hands and ‘retire’. Heck, most of us are in our 20’s and 30’s! We want to work because we love to, NOT because we have to. I am proud of the opportunities I provide for my team to make money in martial arts in this way.
  3. Educate while you vacate. On our team we also value #improvement which means that we NEVER STOP LEARNING. The real purpose of my trip was to improve my relationship with my girlfriend Rachel and to improve our communication, love, and passion. It was set up as a couples retreat. It was SO worth it. So how about you – how will you find a way to constantly improve, even when you are on vacation?

I wish you all the best life. Let’s keep unleashing and upleveling.

Sam Wegert – 4th degree black belt

P.S. I have a goal in 2017 to add several schools to our new brand – UpLevel Martial Arts. If you know of anyone who wants to work in a position where we change lives every day, move our bodies, and are a part of a great and growing culture and vibe, then please message me personally at 434.944.5918.

P.P.S. A special thank you to my tribe of healthy, wealthy, and generous men who choose to lead epic lives and their women who have inspired me on this journey and who made this trip possible. Shout out to Sam and Pat Cullinane who put so much work and love into making this a truly epic, black belt, bucket list adventure.

For a full picture of the amazing trip – check out the recap video we put together including some other ‘must do’s’ when you make it to Cabo.

 

3 things I learned from my martial arts instructor…and what you should look for in one.

Me at 1st Degree Black Belt Test! IMG_7819

I am going to assume that you are looking for a martial arts instructor. Should you be? Well, only you really know the answer to that question but I would highly recommend it and perhaps after this article you will be more inclined to invest in one. Having an instructor like I had growing up can change your life and for me it changed not only my life but thousands of others.  I’m only 25 so that number is going to grow. That is unless I get mugged in a dark alley sometime soon – again not likely to happen seeing that I DID have a martial arts instructor.

My instructor, Master David Clements, is a 5th degree black belt in American Freestyle Karate and is ranked in a million other styles (always good to exaggerate a little when talking about someone who changed your whole life). He was truly a godsend to me in so many ways; in many ways he probably doesn’t realize. This article is meant to help him realize that and also hopefully help you realize a little bit what you should look for in the people you allow to influence you or your kids.

Master Clements, as we called him, made a business decision to open a beautiful 6000 square foot studio in a town of 2000 people. It was a very optimistic decision.  To give you perspective, I now own a martial arts school that is 2500 square feet in a town of 2.5 million and growing. But I truly believe he was there to give me a future, and that God had a divine appointment for me when I walked in his door and my mom made me enroll even though I was scared out of my mind and literally cried my first class (give me some grace though – I was only 10).

My instructor taught me many things and I would like to share three of them with you right now.

  1. Do the right thing….always!                                        
  2. Family is important
  3. Relax.

 

Do the right thing.

This one sounds so simple but the truth is, it isn’t. It just isn’t. Our brain gets in our way and wants to rationalize this, and give you leeway in that. Look – it’s simple – there is a right, and there is a wrong. Stop ‘thinking about it’ and make the call that would be in line with character. Now, I’m not so blind to realize there aren’t some decisions that are more complicated than that, but most of the time we make it more complicated than it is worth.

Master Clements taught me this over and over again! It was drilled into who I was as his student.

One time he had a student who enrolled and then came back in that very day and asked for their money back. They knew there was a no refund policy but the right thing was to just go ahead and give them their money back. He did it even though he had the ‘legal’ backing to not go through with it.

He was always firm on doing the right thing by each person and for him that meant asking ‘what would be best for the other person?’ and not only himself.

 

Family is important

I had the opportunity to attend the funeral for my instructor’s mom. She was an amazing woman and the caretaker of the karate school I grew up in. She was the one responsible for calling me the day I played hookie from karate and scolded me gently and asked me when my next class was. I didn’t skip class again.

My instructor, Master Clements, had a thing about spending time with and committing to family. It isn’t something you see a lot of these days (how many of us even have family meals together anymore, I mean really?)

One of my friends has a tattoo that says ‘love is spelled t-i-m-e’. Master Clements knew this and was always there to make his family the most important. He didn’t mind driving either. If there was an event or a family member (and a lot of times his students became like adopted family to him) that was in need he was there. This taught me a lot about the importance of relationships in your life.

I’ve learned that relationships really matter – more than adventure, more than money. Think about it – the last time you had an epic adventure by yourself – the story afterwards was just never as cool or exciting as you would have hoped. And let’s be really real – making money is amazing but no one in their heart wants to be the richest man in the world and completely alone. Relationships are important. Um, really important. Invest in them.

Another mentor always told me – ‘Sam, anything you want is just a relationship away.’ I’ve found that to be pretty true in my life.

Mr. Clements taught me this and modeled it so well with his family. He was always there for his mom and even committed to support her later in life. He paid a monthly sum to support her until she passed on. In a day and age where most people are trying to ‘get rid’ of their parents this spoke a new language and gave me a new foundation on how to look at family.

 

Relax

Ok, for those of you who know me, this is definitely not the one I model the best. There are so many people who can relax better than I can. If I’m not sleeping (for the 5 hours average I seem to get each night) than I am busy – busy with something or someone. I like this but there is just that time when you need to tell your somewhat overbusy and perhaps slightly annoying self to slow down and relax.

Master Clements modeled this. He would kick back – throw his shoes up on the desk and actually have a real conversation with you. You know, one of those conversations that last longer than 2 minutes and ends with ‘I’ve got to go but good to talk with you’. (wow, I think I’m convicting myself here) For a 10 year old boy trying to find his way in the world and trying to be different this was the most important thing anyone could have done for me.

Studies show that children who simply have someone in their life they can talk to, who actually, truly cares, are much more likely to stay out of trouble and create a meaningful life. Translation – you can help create meaning in the world simply by caring and talking to someone. Yes – YOU. Even if you don’t know or have all the answers, or even if it’s been a very long time since you have been a teenager.

Share and care. Perhaps that is the message of this post. The real message is a heartfelt ‘thank you’ and ‘happy birthday’ to one of the people who inspired me to UpLevel my life in so many ways.

I am forever grateful.

Thank you sir.

Your student,

Sam Wegert

4th Degree Black Belt

 

 

Are you courageous?

Image

A letter I just received from godaddy.com. It is worth reading.

I am so thankful that I have so many people in my life that demonstrate this. This paragraph sums them up ever so well.

“One of the clearest lessons we’ve learned is that the one word to describe you best is ‘courageous.’ You go after what you really love, you chart your own course, and you create something (often from nothing) that usually makes the world a better place. Whether it’s a neighborhood pizza shop, an organization to help those in need, or a company poised to launch a new industry, you believe where others don’t. You have the guts to strike out on your own to make your dreams — however bold or humble — a reality. That’s courage, and it’s worth every ounce of support we can give.”

Here is to being courageous! Back to work-let’s make a difference.

To Black Belt and beyond.

Ahhh….the secret to life.

I am inspired by a couple of things this evening and I wish to share.

My first little revelation today came from when I saw a person walking into food lion in front of my Amherst Studio today. I immediately recognized the person as someone who had their family in our program several years ago and who I had the privilege of influencing. This person was in the exact same shape she had been in when I last saw her-defiantly no improvement there! She was smoking a cigarette-no improvement there. The more I thought about it the more it sunk in-this person probably hadn’t changed one BIT! What a tragedy! How is this possible?! Why doesn’t this person change and take control of their life and make it better?! Why?! Why?!?! Why?!?! This solidified in my mind that I want to learn and know what it would take to get people to change their lives right now!

What this experience also made me realize though was that there is no “secret” to life. So much of my life is spent trying to get to a certain point where I can relax and be happy. I think, “when I just round the next corner I can relax, when I just hire the next staff member, or just get the right girl, or just get through this transition than I will be able to take a breath and be happy, or if I was just in Colorado where everything is all pretty, or if I just had more free time or if I just had more money, more time etc”….the list goes on and on and on. This is a LIE! Complete and utter lies!

Maybe the “secret” to life is to realize that we are living it RIGHT the freak now! It is not in some magical place in the future. No, no, no-maybe I’ve had it all wrong. Life is about being present in the moment! Life is about taking a breath right now and soaking up all of the amazing things that are around me RIGHT NOW! There is no tomorrow! There is no yesterday! Use the future and past to have a more powerful experience in the NOW but don’t live in those places. Live right now, right here and for crying out loud – live it to the fullest! Give! Love! BE! Have fun! Smile! Daydream! Touch someone’s life! Be yourself! Own who you are right now-a person with amazing qualities and a beautiful work in progress! Own it!

This was really huge for me! Maybe the secret to life is this: there is no secret! Life is right now right here and it is slipping away one moment at a time. The words of someone famous who I can’t remember right now come to mind—ahh…Michael Landon: here it is.

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.

Michael Landon

So the call to action is this! Snap out of your funk and begin to look into what is around us happening right now and ask some questions that will change your life.

What opportunities are in front of me right now?

What am I grateful for now?

What am I excited about right now?

What in this moment is beautiful if I really looked or even cared?

What do I have right now in this moment that I could share with someone? What would that be? Who would I share it with?