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.