4th Degree Black Belt Hopes Third Time’s the Charm
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.
Wegert 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.
”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.”
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.
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.
The 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.