josh waitzkin a master of chess martial arts learning and life

Josh Waitzkin – A Master of Chess, Martial Arts, Learning, and Life!

When Josh Waitzkin was a young boy, he went to the park to play. But instead of playing on the swings or the slide, Josh decided he wanted to play something different – the game of chess. He had watched some men playing chess in the park, and his love of the game was born. Josh learned quickly, and by the time he became a teenager he was a national chess champion. A movie called “Searching for Bobby Fischer” was made about Josh, and suddenly Josh was known around the world for his amazing chess talent.

However, Josh’s fame took its toll, and he became disenchanted with chess. So he moved on to a new beginning, deciding to learn tai chi. Once again he learned quickly, and before long he was a champion of tai chi as well. But more importantly, Josh’s venture into tai chi and his ability to once again succeed gave him great insight about the process of learning. So Josh began to write and teach about the learning process. He then went on to create the JW Foundation to further help people reach their full learning potential. Today Josh is a renowned master of chess and tai chi and a motivational speaker and teacher, inspiring those around him to strive for the same great success he has achieved!

In this video, Josh tells his story.

Additional Resources:

  • Here is a link to Josh’s website!
  • Here is the trailer for Josh’s movie, “Searching for Bobby Fischer”.

Topics for Discussion:

  • How did Josh become so successful at chess at such a young age?
  • What made Josh move away from chess and start something new? What did he learn from it?

Take Action:

  • Visit the JW Foundation website to learn how you can bring Josh’s learning ideas into your classroom!
  • Visit the ChessKids Academy website to learn the basics of chess!

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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