Inspiration From Walter Perfahl

At age 75, Walter Perfahl can perform feats that few at any age will ever replicate. He can be seen below demonstrating some of his moves for a group of onlookers in Germany.

At first glance, you may assume that Walter is a former gymnast or circus performer, but neither is true. He’s actually a former miner. He’s always been physically active however and regularly preaches the importance of fitness while performing his informal shows.

A brief article about Walter can be found at the link below. It is written in German but can be converted through the Google Translator.

Walter Perfahl


  1. Ross,

    These are gems. In some ways it is both inspiring and sad. Inspiring – keep moving. Sad – there are so few examples.


  2. Was he performing for the blind? The applause for this guy should’ve been deafening! I barely heard a clap.

  3. Below is a translation to the German article that was recently emailed to me (thank you Jesse):


    Unbelievable: A 74 Year-Old Doing a Handstand on a Bottle

    “He definitely used to be part of a circus,” a spectator whispers to her friend. “Otherwise he wouldn’t be able to do those things.” Wrong. Walter Perfahl was never with the circus (not even in a gymnastics club), even though the 74 year-old certainly could perform his number in any arena. Instead, he prefers to present it in the old center of Nuremberg, mostly somewhere between the Church of St. Laurence and the Museum Bridge. At first, those who see him don’t believe their eyes: here is this senior smoothly performing a one-armed handstand on a champagne bottle, rotating himself in a circle on top of it as if break-dancing, or running around it on his hands. Unbelievable! The passersby stand there, fascinated, paying respect to the elderly man: “Crazy, huh?” Some ask him his age and are surprised when he says “74.” Children try to reproduce his feats without the bottle; they realize how hard it is. Many people throw small coins into the cup Perfahl has placed in front of himself. Then he approaches them, takes a small bow, and says every time, “I thank you. I wish you good health!”

    Health is also the motive for what he does. Again and again, the former miner from the Sudetenland makes the point to speak on the importance of physical fitness. “Most people destroy themselves through laziness or alcohol,” he says.

    To show how fit someone can still be at his age – this is the reason why he performs in the city’s center. The applause of the spectators makes him happy and spurs him on, as does, naturally, “the little bit of money,” with which he supplements his small pension.

    People have been encountering Walter performing his feats in the center of Nuremberg for two years now. He says that he was already able to do them as a small boy. And some things you don’t forget: he’ll surely be able to perform the handstand until the infirmities of old age set in. With the more demanding feats, however, it’s easy to fall out of practice. With some pride he points out the fact that, due to safety reasons, he can’t perform the most daring feats here in the pedestrian zone at all. At Zeppelin Field by Dutzend Lake he does a handstand on three beer mugs stacked on top of each other with coasters between them. And how does someone stay so fit at his age? “Oh,” he sighs, “earlier I was able do a lot more.” And then he swings himself back up onto his bottle.

    Stefan Brunn

    *Caption under photo: “Walter Perfahl says that he’ll be able to show off his feats until old age weakens him

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.