Lone Warrior Wegert is Driven to Become NBL World Champion

4th Degree Black Belt Hopes Third Time’s the Charm

By Brett Hart

It’s the third go ’round for 24-year old martial artist Tim Wegert in his quest for a National Blackbelt League world title. The American Freestyle Karate 4th-degree black belt competitor and instructor’s first two attempts were cut short due to ankle and ACL injuries, respectively, but his focus toward the goal of becoming a world champion has not wavered.

Tim Wegert Grand Champion Infinity National Championships Karate 2017 GreatmatsWegert recently traveled from his home in Charlottesville, Virginia, to compete at the Greatmats-sponsored Infinity National Championships at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin and returned with two forms division championships and one grand championship title.

”I’m excited to be back in the circuit,” Wegert said.

While it’s challenging enough to accomplish such a feat at a national level, the test to Wegert’s dedication is ramped up to yet another level, considering he does it all on his own.

Tim Wegert handspring Infinity National Championships Karate 2017 Greatmats”I train myself entirely,” said Wegert, who instructs at his brother’s school, UpLevel Martial Arts. ”I don’t have anyone to train me here.”

Despite the challenge, Wegert placed first in Open Musical Forms and Limited Forms divisions and was second in choreographed musical forms before earning the Adult Contemporary Forms Grand Championship at 2017 Infinity National Championships May 12-13.

”I’ve always been a very competitive person,” Wegert said, noting that he’s also been successful in soccer and dance.

In fact, soccer was his first love. However, after competing in his first karate tournament as an orange belt, he reached a turning point where he transitioned to more karate and less soccer. He remembers thinking after that in-school tournament, ”Whoa! This is pretty cool. I could be pretty good at this. I could compete.”

Tim Wegert backflip Infinity National Championships Karate 2017 Greatmats

Family Inspired
Wegert began his martial arts journey 11 years ago when his father and a couple older brothers took some classes in Isshin-Ryu under heavy encouragement from his mother.

A couple of years later, Tim’s brother, Sam, borrowed money from their parents and purchased a school of his own at the age of 15.

When he took over the school and started teaching, that’s when the rest of the family started to support him as students.

By the time Tim graduated from high school at the age of 16, he was doing karate professionally full time. In fact, of the 10 members of his family, six are are now black belts, and four have turned karate into their full-time career. Sam now owns four UpLevel Martial Arts schools in Virginia and North Carolina.

Tim Wegert Infinity National Championships Karate 2017 Greatmats

Lofty Goals
Now with a NBL World Title in his sights, Tim is looking to expand not only his personal but is family martial arts legacy in his own right.

”I’ve been really good at a lot of things in my life, but I’ve never be the best at something at a competitive level,” Tim said. ”I really want to be able to say I did this, and I went all the way, and I came out on top.”

Part of that process is positioning himself as a favorite at the NBL World Games, which allows competitors to earn points through national and regional competitions as a form of seeding process.

“Whoever has the most points goes last in the division,” Tim said. ”Therefore, not only do the judges tend to see the better competitors last, but also it helps to go last as well.”

”I’m doing five tournaments before the world games,” he added.

Tim Wegert sidekick Infinity National Championships Karate 2017 GreatmatsThe Infinity National Championships was a big step in the right direction for Tim who said the venue was great and it was nice to go up against a lot of new competitors he had not seen before.

”They obviously have great schools up here with high levels of competition,” Tim said. ”It was neat meeting the Infinity people and competing against them.”

Keeping his eyes on his target, Tim Wegert is well on his way to achieving his goal of winning a world title.

”I appreciate the platform that the NBL and other tournament hosts have put into it… working towards a world title,” he said. ”It’s neat. It’s inspiring, and it’s fun to be a part of.”

Greatmats is the official mat supplier of the Infinity National Championships. Learn more about the Infinity National Championships and other Greatmats-sponsored martial arts events.

Tim Wegert
UpLevel Martial Arts
Charlottesville VA 22901
For more on this topic please review our Martial Arts Mats product page.
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2nd Annual Wisconsin State Taekwondo Championships

Meira Domash Sparring, iTiger Forms Highlight USA Taekwondo Tourney

USA Taekwondo Wisconsin State Championships Greatmats
Greatmats is a proud sponsor of the Wisconsin State Championships, sanctioned by USA Taekwondo. The 2017 state championships, which took place on April 2 at UW-Parkside in Kenosha, WI, featured approximately 250 competitors, ages 5 and up, and marked the second annual running of the event.

The Wisconsin State Taekwondo Championships included competition in the areas of sparring, forms and a demonstration team.

Medalists from the event, which is also a member of Kukkiwon and the World Taekwondo Federation are eligible to compete at the national level. It also opens the door to possible Olympic competition.

Wisconsin State Taekwondo vice chair Tyler Northern said, ”Meira Domash’s sparring match was a very high intensity match,” and added that there were a few girls from iTiger who put together phenomenal forms performances.

”We pride ourselves on the training and achievement of all of the athletes competing at the Wisconsin State Tournament, especially those who come from our school,” Northern said.

The USA Taekwondo Wisconsin State Tournament was equipped with Pro Martial Arts Mats Sport 20 mm mats from Greatmats.

USA Taekwondo Wisconsin State Tournament Greatmats
USA Taekwondo Wisconsin State Tournament referees Greatmats
youth USA Taekwondo Wisconsin State Champion Greatmats
USA Taekwondo Wisconsin State Champion Greatmats
Wisconsin State Championships
USA Taekwondo
Kenosha WI 53144
Discover and learn about other Greatmats Sponsored Events.
For more on this topic please review our Martial Arts Mats product page.

A quick guide to martial arts flooring: Which is best for your discipline?

Karate Mats

1 thick Karate mats are designed as a top quality interlocking martial arts mat for Karate and Taekwondo. This interlocking Karate mat is a firm, high density polyethylene (PE) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foam tile with a smooth leather surface finish specifically designed for barefoot and soft shoe foot work and striking moves.

If you’re gaining interest in the exciting world of martial arts and are looking to take your commitment to the next level by setting up your own home or commercial training facility, knowing where to begin can be intimidating. With hundreds of different martial arts disciplines originating from dozens of countries, how can you be sure you and your training space are speaking the same language when shopping for the safest, most durable and most appropriate flooring for your needs.

The first thing to keep in mind is – where does your discipline originate? Are you creating a dojo, dojang, gym or kwoon? While all of those terms may refer to a similar space, each has a different origin and possibly a different intent. Knowing the terminology is important. Not all martial arts are created equal as each has a different focus.

Here’s a quick reference to some of the most popular forms of martial arts studios, their origin and some common disciplines performed in those spaces.

Common Training Hall Names

  1. Dojo: training place for Japanese martial arts such as Karate, Judo, Aikido or Jiu-Jitsu
  2. Dojang: training space for Korean martial arts such as Taekwondo or Hapkido
  3. Kwoon: training facility for Chinese martial arts (aka Kung Fu)
  4. Gym: general term for an American training hall for martial arts such as Western Boxing or Wrestling

Factors for proper martial arts flooring

When considering flooring for your training facility, material and construction can make a big difference in comfort, safety and ease of movements. Most martial arts flooring is made of an impact-absorbing foam material. Thickness, density and surface texture play vital roles in selecting the proper flooring for your discipline.

For striking martial arts such as Taekwondo and Karate, a high density foam is needed. If training with soft shoes a barefoot, a smooth, non-slip surface serves best to allow for proper footwork. Hard or slippery flooring can and will cause injury. A 1 inch thickness of high density foam will provide the ideal cushion and support for striking martial arts. Thatch top textures can increase the versatility and add resistance to wear and tear from shoes and boots for combat or aerobic training, but are not as gentle on bare feet. Greatmats Martial Arts Karate Mat Premium 1 Inch

When the majority of your sport takes place on the ground, such as in grappling or Mixed Martial Arts, you will want a slightly softer, thicker and more durable material that has a fall height rating of at least 4 feet. The surface texture should also be one that does not cause rug burns. A 1 5/8 inch thick EVA foam mat with a tatami texture is ideal for these situations. It will provide excellent support for grappling, take downs and ground work without burning the skin.Greatmats Grappling MMA Mats 1-5/8 Inch

For high impact landings, you’ll want a crash pad with a thickness of at least 2 inches. Crash pads are often available in thicknesses up to 12 inches with durable vinyl covers. The greater the impact, the thicker the mat you’ll need. These are ideal for practicing rolls, falls and takedowns. Greatmats Pro MMA Mats Smooth 1x2 Meter 2 Inch

All martial arts flooring should be non-absorbent, chemical resistant and easy to clean. Martial arts flooring can come in many forms including, rolls, tiles or fold up mats. Generally speaking, rolls are the most inexpensive option, but can be the most cumbersome to install due to size and weight. Interlocking tiles proved the most versatility for both design and installation. They are great for permanent or temporary installation and do no call for tape or adhesives. Fold up mats are good for crash pads.

Below is a quick guide to the top 15 forms of martial arts today.

Top 15 Martial Arts

  1. Wrestling: Dating back to the Bronze Age (3300-1200 BC) in France, wrestling is the original form of martial art which involves throws, takedowns, grappling holds, clinch fighting and joint locks. The goal is to end the match by way of a pin.
  2. Boxing: Born in the Iron Age (1200-550 BC) in Mesopotamia, boxing is a martial art in which all contact occurs using the upper body – almost entirely through the use of punches. The goal is to knock down or knock out the opponent
  3. Jiu Jitsu: A Japanese martial art of close combat that began during the Sengoku period (1467-1603) using no weapons or only a short weapon. Jiu Jitsu is known as a gentle martial art. Its strategy is to manipulate the opponent’s force against himself/herself using grappling techniques joint locks, throws and pins.
  4. Judo: A Japanese martial art with the objective of immobilizing or subduing an opponent with a pin or forced submission. Established in 1882, Judo uses throws, takedowns, joint locks and chokes. Hand and foot strikes and thrusts are involved, but not in competition. Judo is one of two olympic forms of martial arts.
  5. Muay Thai: Originating in Thailand in the 16th century, Muay Thai, originally known as Siamese-Style boxing, uses stand-up striking along with clinching techniques using fists, elbows, knees and shins.
  6. Karate: Primarily a striking art using punches, kicks, knee and elbow strikes, Karate also utilizes open hand techniques such as palm-heel strikes, spear hands and knife hands. Karate is believed to have begun secretively in the late 1300s in Okinawa, Japan, under a fighting system know as te.Fumio Demura The Real Mr. Miyagi Karate Kid Greatmats
  7. Hapkido: Primarily used for self defense, Hapkido is a Korean martial art that utilizes numerous forms of attacking methods, including kicks, punches, weapons, joint locks, grappling and throws. Weapons can include various sticks, swords, knives and ropes. Hapkido is believed to have begun in the 1940s.
  8. Taekwondo: Also a Korean martial art, Taekwondo places heavy emphasis on kicks, but also includes hand strikes. Believed to have originated in the 1940s or 50s, it has also been known as Tae Soo Do.Infinity Martial Arts Taekwondo Greatmats
  9. Aikido: A Japanese martial art, beginning in the 1920s, Aikido is used for self defense that also avoids injury to the attacker. Its techniques redirect the momentum of the opponent’s attack and finish with a throw or joint lock.
  10. Krav Maga: A martial art developed in Israel for self defense, Krav Maga is derived from street fighting skills and combined those from Aikido, Boxing, Judo and Wrestling in the 1930s and 40s to focus on counter attacks in real world situations. If confrontation cannot be avoided, the goal is to end a fight as quickly as possible by attacking the most vulnerable parts of the body. There are no rules in Krav Maga.
  11. Kung Fu: While the term Kung Fu refers any skill acquired through practice, it is commonly used as a general term for Chinese Martial Arts intended for self defense, hunting and military training using hand-to-hand combat and weapons. Legend has it, Chinese Martial arts began more than 4,000 years ago.
  12. Kickboxing: This form of martial art comes in two styles, Japanese kickboxing (started in the 1960s) and American Kickboxing (started in the 1970s), but in general includes all stand-up combat sports that allow both punching and kicking.
  13. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ): A martial art that focuses on grappling and ground fighting, BJJ’s roots are in Kodokan Judo ground fighting. It emphasizes the use of leverage and ground fighting to even the playing field between unevenly sized opponents. Opponents are defeated by applying joint locks and choke holds.Rodrigo Comprido on MMA MAts Smooth 1x2 Meter 2 Inch Thick Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Greatmats
  14. Jeet Kune Do (JKD): Founded by Bruce Lee in 1967, the premise behind his martial art is that it has no form or patterns, making it unpredictable and flexible. It is based on minimal moments with extreme speed, adjusting techniques for the given situation. JKD does use kicks, punches, traps and grappling techniques.
  15. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA): MMA leagues began in the United States in 1980, but were originally known as Tough Guy Contests. They really gained popularity in 1993 with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). These leagues allow various martial arts styles with both striking and grappling techniques using both standing and ground attacks.

Karate mats on sale while supplies last

Take advantage of Greatmats’ limited time offer on reversible Karate mats. While supplies last, all orders of at least 100 red/blue 40x40x1 inch interlocking Karate floor tiles will receive a discounted price of $16.50 per tile (originally priced at $24.95 per tile.) Orders typically ship within 1-3 days. Call our customer service team at 877-822-6622 for more details.

Our 1” thick Karate tiles are made of high density PE and EVA foams and feature a smooth, leather-like surface specifically designed for barefoot and soft shoe footwork and striking moves. Red on one side and blue on the other, the reversible tiles provide lasting quality and a variety of design possibilities for your Karate or Taekwondo training or competition area. These Karate mats are also non absorbent and easy to clean.

These 1” thick Karate tiles are made of high density PE and EVA foams and feature a smooth, leather-like surface.

Take advantage of Greatmats’ limited time offer on reversible Karate mats. While supplies last, all orders of at least 100 red/blue 40x40x1 inch interlocking Karate floor tiles will receive a discounted price of $16.50 per tile (originally priced at $24.95 per tile.) Orders typically ship within 1-3 days. Call our customer service team at 877-822-6622 for more details.

Taekwondo Mats

Excellent for tournament competition or practice, our 20 mm Taekwondo mats are built to last in professional TKD studios.  Double checker top surface pattern is incredibly durable and can withstand years of abuse even with athletes in athletic shoes and other types of footwear.

Designed to the standards of other, more expensive competition martial arts mats, these TKD mats are an inexpensive alternative.  A one-year manufacturer’s warranty accompanies these top of the line interlocking foam puzzle mats.
Taekwondo mats can be custom ordered in any color combination with a 200 mat minimum order (approx 2000 square feet).  Each mat is shipped with four border strips attached for ship protection and installation convenience.  This mat is ideal for wall-to-wall installation but does not require adhesives.   This interlocking puzzle mat is also great for tournament use.
These foam mats are also excellent for other activities including boxing, aerobics, or even play areas for kids.  Lay them in your basement directly over concrete for a soft, more usable living space in your home.
Each tile measures 40×40 inches.  They are waterproof and lightweight for easy maneuverability.  Bring these TKD mats anyplace you’d like to practice or compete. 
As a rule, you will want to keep this flooring in an area that does not get lots of direct sunlight as this will cause the high density EVA foam to expand and contract.
Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.