Senior couple earns black belts

Miri, Reuven Michaeli started mixed martial arts 4 years ago

LIGHTHOUSE POINT, Fla. - At an age where most seniors are kicking back and relaxing, a Lighthouse Point couple earned their black belts.

Miri and Reuven Michaeli started multi-style martial arts classes about four years. They train and spar with other students, some of whom are their grandchildren's age.

"I'm 74 and he's 14," said Reuven.

Miri just turned 69 and decided to try Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) after a broken wrist healed. 

"One evening, I came home with my husband and said, 'You know what,  let's go in and see what happens. I feel I need to do something,'" she said. "So we walked in and the rest is history."

The couple worked and sweated up the ladder of belts. The recently earned their black belts. 

"I think what they are doing is really, really incredible and the time they dedicated to this and have they improved their flexibility, their strength, their skill, their balance -- absolutely," said master instructor Craig Haley.

Not surprisingly, they are getting mixed reactions from their friends. Some worry about broken bones. 

"They said the doctor said don't do it. I told them always change your doctor, that's all," said Reuven. 

"Some of them say more power to you, some of them will say you're crazy, some of them say why are you beating yourself up," said Miri.

But to the other two dozen students also seeking their black belts, Miri and Reuven are an inspiration.

"I think we all hope that when we are in our 70s we can be doing this as well," said student Ellen Schulman.

"We keep young. We don't act like old people. We certainly don't," said Miri Michaeli.

The couple will get their black belts at a special ceremony on March 1.

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