Willie Nelson earns fifth-degree black belt ahead of 81st birthday

By Kyle Johnson,

Country singer Willie Nelson received his fifth-degree black belt on Monday, just ahead of his 81st birthday.

According to KVUE, Nelson has been practicing GongKwon Yusul for 20 years and he finally received his fifth-degree black belt in the art.

"It's just good for you physically. For your lungs. The more you're breathing, exercising, the better you're going to feel," Nelson told KVUE.

Ahead of the ceremony, Nelso spoke with The Associated Press saying, "Honestly, I was surprised to be getting this degree. I don't know what else is out there. I never thought about anything beyond second-degree black belt."

Grand Master Sam Um said that he initially was worried about whether Nelson would be able to do martial arts, but said after 20 years, "He has more stamina than I do."

The 81-year-old Nelson, who is celebrating his birthday on Tuesday (the AP says his birthday is really Wednesday he just says its the 29th), also received another honor just a few days ago. He was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame on April 26. Nelson became part of the hall's inaugural class.

Fellow Texan Matthew McConaughey attended the celebration and honored Nelson, saying, "There would be no Austin City Limits without Nelson."



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