Tallahassee Martial Arts Trainer Wins Prestigious Grappling Title
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
He has a case of carpal tunnel and an assortment of other injuries that have been bothersome for most of the past decade.
That has slowed down Shane Weinischke’s pursuit as a mixed martial arts fighter, but not his dream to win a prestigious North American Grappling Association title. Not even the fact that he had to fight up a weight class and face much younger competitors could stop the 30-year-old Tallahassee martial arts instructor from taking his most recent shot at winning a NAGA belt.
He overcame the odds, winning the NAGA Southeast Grappling Championships in Atlanta.
The title win in the ju-jitsu-styled event completed a 10-year mission.
“Surreal,” Weinischke said, sitting in his office at World Triumph Martial Arts gym on West Tennessee Street. “It took a while (and) it’s actually still sinking in. It’s very exciting for me because I’ve coached a lot of people in MMA and kickboxing and saw them win a belt, but this is my first time.”
Weinischke didn’t begin to concentrate on ju-jitsu until after a few MMA bouts. He quickly discovered that it was the missing element in his fighting.
“When I did MMA, the wrestlers would take me down and lay on me,” he said. “Ju-jitsu gave me the ability to finish the fight.”
He then set out to become one of the best ju-jitsu grapplers. His quest has been an arduous one, though.
Since 2005, Weinischke has competed in almost 100 tournaments. The closest he came to winning was three years ago when he took the expert division at a regional tournament.
He had every reason to pass on this year’s national-level events. When he showed up at the competition venue, he realized there was no entry in his weight class (139-149 pounds). No one was entered in his age group (30-over) either.
Weinischke decided to fight up a weight class, putting him at a 10-pound disadvantage. He was approved for the 18-over division, too.
Never once did he second-guess his decision during the one-day event, although he knew he had to endure for at least three consecutive bouts.
“I knew I can deal with the stronger, younger athletes,” he said. “I actually enjoyed it a lot more than just going into my bracket.
“I trained and I felt I was prepared. We did exactly the game plan.”
Weinischke also put together a winning game plan for his 7-year-old protégé, Zach Cowan. He won a championship sword in the Nogi Division and silver medal for placing second in the Ghee Division.
Cowan, who competed in the 40-pound bracket, said he had no fear going into his first competition.
“No. Not when you’re in competition,” he said. “I’m doing something that I like so why would I be afraid. It was really fun because I got a lot of experience. I feel like a champion.”