Student achieves international recognition in martial arts

John Schaeffer

John Schaeffer’s love of learning has led him down a very unique academic path.  At the spry age of 79, he’s pursuing his fourth college degree, a bachelor’s degree in health and human performance from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. It’s a university Schaeffer knows well. He has already earned a pair of bachelor’s degrees from UW-Platteville in biology and medical technology. He also received a master’s degree in microbiology from the University of Arizona.

But Schaeffer’s love of learning extends outside the classroom as well. After taking advantage of some of the classes offered through the UW-Platteville Confucius Institute, Schaeffer recently participated – and placed – in two different international video competitions for Ba Duan Jin, a popular traditional Chinese mind-body exercise.

He placed third in the First Cloud Health Network Online Competition in Sichuan Province.  He also placed third in the First China-UK Health Qigong Baduanjin Video Competition 2020, in which he also earned the People’s Choice Gold Certificate.

Schaeffer has been active in martial arts for roughly four years and is very interested in Chinese culture.  This interest took him on the Confucius Institute’s Delegation Trip to China in 2019, an experience which he highly recommends to others.  “The Chinese people I met were very friendly and helpful. Visiting and learning about the history of the Great Wall was a highlight for me,” Schaeffer said. “I would recommend the trip to anyone who has an interest in traveling and learning.” 

Schaeffer expressed his gratitude to UW-Platteville and the Confucius Institute for the opportunities to pursue his interests.

“Without the opportunities, I wouldn’t be a lifelong learner,” he said. 

For more information on the variety of programs offered by the Confucius Institute, visit