At 88, Donald Weiss, an avid martial artist, continues to practice and learn jiu-jitsu at a dojo in Wellington, where he has found a sense of community. Weiss, originally from Brooklyn, moved to Palm Beach County to be closer to family. Despite his age, he actively participates in martial arts classes, earning respect and admiration from his instructors and peers.
Weiss has a rich history in martial arts, having trained in numerous styles and winning championships. He began with wrestling and transitioned to martial arts after an enlightening encounter with a judo practitioner. His dedication saw him earn a black belt in judo and later, a championship title in the Army. As an art teacher and assistant principal, he continued to explore various martial arts, and at 80, he took up Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
After relocating to Florida, Weiss struggled with isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. He set up a home gym but missed the camaraderie of sparring partners. Eventually, he found a welcoming dojo in Wellington where he was encouraged to wear his black belt and share his expertise. Despite suffering from a lung disease, Weiss remains determined to practice and views jiu-jitsu as a strategic game similar to chess.
The dojo, run by Eric Monahan, emphasizes the importance of technique and strategy over brute strength in martial arts. Monahan, inspired by Weiss and his own experiences, aims to create a community-oriented environment in the dojo. Weiss’s story exemplifies perseverance and the pursuit of passion regardless of age, as he intends to continue practicing martial arts for as long as possible.
- At 88, Donald Weiss actively practices Brazilian jiu-jitsu, demonstrating the sport’s accessibility and his commitment to lifelong learning.
- Weiss’s involvement in martial arts at his dojo has inspired both the youngest students and the owner, highlighting the impact of intergenerational exchange in sports communities.
- Despite facing challenges such as a lung condition, Weiss continues to engage in jiu-jitsu, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and adapting to physical limitations.
“I am just an old guy doing his thing. I plan to do it as long as I can,” Weiss said. “You can’t give up. You just got to keep doing it the best you can.”