James Wild of Williamsville said he started practicing karate after hearing about a disabled 7-year-old boy earning a black belt, The Buffalo News reported Sunday.
"I thought at the time, if he could do it, so can I," Wild said.
Since starting karate, Wild has suffered a heart attack and had to undergo triple bypass surgery. After surgery, his doctor ordered him to give up karate for at least a year.
Wild said he followed the doctor's recommendation, but returned to the martial art as soon as he could.
His wife Virginia said she was not surprised he went right back to it.
"He really loves it," she said. "He always said if he died on the karate floor he'd die happy."
Wild said he feels "pretty good" about his recent accomplishment, but that he won't stop there.
"I'm going for the fifth," he said.