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.


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!


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!

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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.


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.


Dealing with Fear like a Black Belt


I am completing a challenge week called Hell Week from the book named the same.
One of the many challenges during hell week is to name your fears and call them into the ‘ring’ with you. You do this by listing them. Actually writing them down and then facing them.
I wrote this in my journal today or yesterday (it all blends together during hell week). I want to share.
“Today is the day you jump into and speak your fears. Today is the day you get in the ring with your fears. When you are in the ring with them, you can actually fight them. Most fears are actually legimate concerns but thye grow and fester because we don’t deal with them or address them. Fear is just another feeling – another thing.
Tony Robbins calls emotions ‘action signals’. He suggests that we ask, ‘what is this fear signaling to me?’ What is it trying to tell me?
Should I change my perception or should I change my procedures?
So I spoke them – I wrote them down. I am not magically free of them. I think that might be too easy but just by writing them down they felt smaller and I felt more empowered to face them head on.
I even found myself doing this while I was in the shower this morning at 5am (another challenge of hell week is bed by 10 and up by 5am). I started to get that feeling you get when you get in your head and just start repeating the same problem over and over again. It sounds like this.
I could do this, but then that would happen, and then that person might not like that and then this would happen and then….
And it goes on, and on, and on and…you get it.
So I stopped and spoke the fear – I did it out loud.
I am actually afraid of ‘this person not liking a decision I believe is best for everyone involved.’
Much more manageable now. It made me feel better instantly. I realized I have no control over other people and I have to do what I believe is best.
I had lots of fears to write down
Fear of committing to this. Fear of this person taking something from me. Fear of not being who I know I can be. Fear of losing money. Fear of not making enough money. Fear this person will leave me or that staff member will quit or people not liking me or not accepting me.
Here was a good one though – I fear I will not live up to being a ‘great person’ like Steven Furtick or Tony Robbins.  (two amazing men I admire)
As soon as I wrote it, I wrote next to it. You won’t be – you will be SAM WEGERT.
A fear can be so unfounded and it can be so irrational and like the example above – just kind of silly.
One of my mentors and friends gave me this perspective today around 430am (another challenge of hell week is a 41 hour stint with no sleep).
I offer you a great analogy for how fear acts. It is sneaky. It is very sneaky. My suggestion – call it out. Don’t resist it, no, no – it won’t go away. Call it out and address it head on. You know what to say to it once you get it written on the white board. Trust me – trust you – there is a piece of you that knows exactly what to say when that fear comes spilling out to paper. Ah, at least now you know what it is.
According to the Bureau of Standards, “A dense fog covering seven city blocks, to a depth of 100 feet, is composed of something less than one glass of water.” So, if all the fog covering seven city blocks, 100 feet deep, were collected and held in a single drinking glass, it would not even fill it. And this could be compared to our worries. If we can see into the future and if we could see our problems in their true light, they wouldn’t tend to blind us to the world, to living itself, but instead could be relegated to their true size and place. And if all the things most people worry about were reduced to their true size, you could probably put them all into a drinking glass, too.
Things that never happen: 40 percent. That is, 40 percent of the things you worry about will never occur anyway.
Things over and past that can’t be changed by all the worry in the world: 30 percent.
Needless worries about our health: 12 percent.
Petty, miscellaneous worries: 10 percent.
Real, legitimate worries: 8 percent. Only 8 percent of your worries are worth concerning yourself about. Ninety-two percent are pure fog with no substance at all.
Crazy, right?
Alright, now go crush some fears like a black belt.
To black belt and beyond,
Mr. Sam Wegert

Can you beat my score? Try this Black Belt Workout

I believe part of living the Black Belt Way is to maintain a high level of health. This requires you to do something consistently to UPlevel some aspect of your body. I like challenges and here is one I would like to share with you.

Do this fitness test and let me know what your score is. If you beat me, I have a very special gift for you. Go for it!

Here is how it goes.

1 minute of burpees – your must jump off the ground for each one.

1 minute rest

1 minute of super planks – 6 step process = 1. Elbow, elbow, knee, knee, hand, hand – see the video.

1 minute rest

1 minute of sit ups – your hands must touch the floor and then your heel

1 minute rest

1 minute of push ups

1 minute rest

1 minute squats – must touch chair

Take your total score and add it to your age and that is your total score.

This video is sped up to 2x. Enjoy!


Live the Black Belt Way



US Marine Shares his story and struggles

22 veterans commit suicide everyday!
I was in a Super Kicks Karate staff class the other day and someone asked me if I had been tagged in the 22 pushup challenge yet. I hadn’t been tagged but I began to think about how I could help bring awareness to the fact that 22 veterans commit suicide every day.
In my mind, 22 is just too many – one would be too many.
I wanted to find out how we could help so I interviewed Sergeant Dolly of the United States Marines who is a two time purple heart recipient.
The purple heart award is given in the name of the President of the United States and is awarded for anyone wounded or killed in battle.
Sergeant Dolley has an incredible story. He has found over a dozen land mines (including stepping on one himself) during his time overseas. He has also personally dealt with the struggles of having four friends who were veterans commit suicide.
Matthew Vinny Dolley credits the organization Charlotte Bridge Home for helping him get settled back into civilian life. You can see the work they do and get involved at
Everytime you share this video Super Kicks Karate Ballantyne will donate $5 per share up to $1000 to Charlotte Bridge Home.
Share this and let’s get the word out on how we can all help veterans who are struggling.
To black belt and beyond!
Sam Wegert
Living the Black Belt Way




Martial arts is recommended by Psychology Today and the U.S. Military Academy


Great article written about me and my schools. This tells a little bit of my story and how much martial arts helped me. It is also a great testament to how many people have supported me along the way especially my mother. I am very grateful.

It is commonly known that children do better with high self-confidence. With it, kids get better grades, excel in athletics and after-school activities, attract more friends, become leaders and do well on the job. In short, they are successful in life!

For many parents and youngsters, though, the road to high self-confidence is filled with potholes.


How many times have you heard your child say….

  • “I’m not any good at sports – I’m never allowed to play!”
  • “I can’t do this homework assignment – I just don’t understand it…”
  • “I’ll never get my grades up…”
  • “I’m just not very smart…”
  • “I’ll never be as good as…” – even though you know that they’re so talented!

Or….have you ever heard your child downplay his or her abilities or refuse to engage in new activities?

It’s something that nearly every parent has experienced.

What can you do to help your child overcome these obstacles?

The key is to get your child involved in an activity where he / she can succeed. It could be dance lessons, a sport, music or another activity.

Many parents have found that martial arts is an after-school activity that not only does their child enjoy, but also builds their confidence. Kids love it because it’s fun – but what’s really happening is they are building confidence, getting in shape and acquiring life skills!

In martial arts, everyone participates. And it’s OK if your child doesn’t get a move right the first time. What matters – and what our instructors emphasize – is that they do the best they can.

Martial arts is also very effective at building character and self-control in your child – as students learn how to defend themselves in any situation. Super Kicks Karate, a martial arts academy in Charlotte, NC, goes even farther in helping develop self-discipline by handing out chore charts and having kids hand in report cards to ensure they do their very best in school, keep up with their chores, show respect to their parents and act with integrity.

Dr. Ruth Peters, a world-renowned child psychologist featured on the Oprah Show, CNN News, Good Morning America and other national media outlets, said, “I recommend sending children to a good martial arts school to increase their focus, to get them to concentrate better, and to gain more self-control.” [1]

A research paper published by the U.S. Military Academy says that it helps people control their negative emotions, such as fear, doubt and anger, which frequently carries over to everyday life. [2]

Psychology Today agrees. “Carleton University found that children in martial arts have a lower level of anxiety; an increased sense of responsibility; a decrease in the willingness to take foolish risks; a higher sense of self-esteem; and a higher level of social intelligence (January 1985 Edition).

How does martial arts build confidence?

There’s far more to martial arts than just kicks & punches. It teaches your youngsters how to deal with stress, failure, adversity, setbacks and develop their talents in a whole new way – and build valuable life kills.

Sam Wegert, a professional martial arts instructor in Charlotte, has successfully worked with over 1,500 kids, teens & adults. And he explains the many ways that martial arts helps build self-confidence.

“Karate helps students work their muscles together in new and exciting ways.”

“A lot of times, kids get discouraged and don’t try new things because school teaches them that failure is not OK. But we tell kids that it’s OK if you don’t get a move right the first time – as long as they keep doing their best.”

“They also remain calm under pressure, even in life or death situations and can stand their ground when they get bullied. It also helps them handle stressful situations more easily.”

“Parents also notice a huge difference in conversations with new people. They start to say “Yes, sir”, “Yes, Maam”, look people in the eye, model and emulate their confident posture and carry on a conversation with their peers. As their confidence improves, they begin to stand up straighter, look at strangers in the eye, stand up for themselves when picked on (which causes bullies to respect them a lot more), etc.”

They also begin to work harder academically. “We reward kids for hard work, setting goals for themselves and doing their very best in school. Teachers are very happy because our students become more attentive in class.”

In addition to this, it helps kids overcome their fears. “Many kids have very deep fears about trying new things, while downplaying their abilities. We continually encourage them to do their best and tell them it’s OK if they don’t get a move right the first time. The result is that they see these challenges in a whole new light and it plays a huge role in helping them overcome their fears.”

Most importantly, martial arts build character. “Students train with both older students and instructors who serve as excellent role models to the younger students. The entire atmosphere in our academy is one of strength and honor.”

25-year old Sam Wegert, the founder of Super Kicks Karate in Ballantyne, has witnessed the transformative power of martial arts in his own life.

“When I was 12 years old, I was surrounded by good role models. I wasn’t drinking or smoking, although I did have a number of challenges. I had a lot of difficulty looking someone in the eye, introducing myself to people I didn’t know, and trying new things – I would sometimes get so concerned about doing things the right way that I would be afraid to try new things.”

“Also, I felt like I didn’t really fit in. I had big goals – I wanted to be the President of the United States as a kid. Later on, I told people I wanted to be a millionaire. Sometimes, I would get criticized because people thought my dreams were crazy and that I could never do it. As a result, I would sometimes get discouraged instead of pursuing my passions.”

His mother, MariLou Wegert, indicated Sam was well-behaved, although he did struggle with self-control. “When he was playing soccer for a recreational club in Amherst, he was so aggressive that his two front teeth were knocked out were knocked out on the first day of practice. Not long after that, he broke his wrist being too aggressive on the snowboard.”

So she enrolled Sam in 3 martial arts lessons after being impressed with a sharp young martial arts instructor she met while working at the local library.

“He was incredibly respectful, well-groomed and friendly and thought he would be a good role model for Sam. When I realized that martial arts isn’t all about just kicks & punches, but also builds valuable life skills & character, I signed Sam up for martial arts classes.”

“When he walked into his first class, he actually trembled – his body shaking as they put on his uniform. Afterward, he said to me, “Mom, I don’t want to go back there ever again!”

“But I insisted that he go back, because I had already signed up for three classes and he willingly stuck it out.”

“By his third class, though, his attitude toward martial arts started to change, and with that, the beginning of a life-long passion and career.”

MariLou Wegert recounts, “He used to come home at 11 p.m. after class, practicing his moves with the back porch lights on outside. He was hooked.”

“Those classes caused him to mature at a rapid rate. He started introducing himself confidently to strangers and looking them in the eye, stood up straighter, and didn’t take it personally when he made a mistake.

“It led to him becoming more independent (moving out of the house at age 15) and wise beyond his years. We have a very close relationship and he’s incredibly polite and respectful as well.”

“I learned that it’s OK to fail – as long as I get back up and improve, and do my absolute best. That really transformed my confidence. I started to realize that I am capable of so much more than I originally thought – as long as I keep working hard, persevere and learn from my mistakes. We teach those same things to our students.”

“It also helped me with meeting new people. When I was younger, I had difficulty introducing myself to people I don’t know and was very shy. Now, I feel like I can strike up a conversation with anyone – and my Mom would say I’m one of the most outgoing people she knows.”

“Another thing my instructors taught me to do is to practice a move 1,000 times. Once I mastered it and received the “Perseverance” patch, my confidence improved greatly. We do similar things with our students.”

High self-confidence led to Sam Wegert becoming one of the youngest chief instructors in the United States and growing his first martial arts school into one of the fastest growing schools in the United States, earning “School of the Year” by the American Freestyle Karate Association.”

“This would not be possible without the confidence that my instructors helped me develop.”

Now, Sam Wegert is using Super Kicks Karate as a way to give back to the community. He is focused on helping kids develop more confidence – so they do their very best in school, become leaders and make a difference in their communities.

“We’ve seen some inspiring transformations at our academy, says Sam. “We had one parent that recently moved into the Charlotte area and enrolled her daughter here at Super Kicks. As a result of her daughter’s growth in confidence, she won the “Courage Award” at her school for meeting new friends and attempting the extra credit problems on her test.”

“Another parent from Ballantyne, Kristin C., enrolled her 4-year old son at Super Kicks Karate. Soon after, she reported that he started picking up his toys without being asked. She was amazed at the transformation!”

“We often enroll shy kids unable to talk to adults or look them in the eyes. Through our program, they transform into young adults who can easily carry on conversations with people they don’t know.”

Super Kicks Karate offers a free month of classes, so you can experience the many ways that martial arts helps kids build confidence.

During the free month, your child will be taught life skills, in addition to learning kids and punches:

Your child will get to break boards and use other cool weapons, as well as experience a fun workout!

Your child will also be taught self-discipline, and it’s reinforced with chore charts. We’ll reward your child for making his / her bed, doing chores, putting dishes away after done eating, putting clothes away and brushing teeth at the end of each day.”

Thirdly, we’ll focus on character development. Your child will be encouraged to treat you with respect, get along with siblings, treat teachers at school, other classmates and older people with respect, say “Yes, Sir” and “No Maam” and sit still in class, without getting distracted.”

Finally, we’ll help your child speak loudly and clearly, look someone in the eye, and feel comfortable meeting new people.

Kicks and punches only scratches the surface of what your child can learn at our academy!

The one month trial is a valuable way for you to bring your kids to several classes, get acquainted with our instructors, experience the sport and have tons of fun. You can even get a great workout with your youngster! Many parents have enrolled with their child for a great family bonding experience.

Many parents, after taking their kids to classes at Super Kicks, find that their kids have so much fun that they can’t wait to come back to the next one!

There’s no pressure to sign a contract. And if you decide that it’s not right for you, your kids are always welcome to come back to Super Kicks Karate.

We’d love to meet you and your family! To sign up for a free private lesson, as well as 1 free month free classes, click here.