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Willie Nelson Becomes a Fifth-Degree Black Belt

Go ahead: Make fun of those braids, joke about his legendary love of marijuana or disrespect his beloved guitar, “Trigger.” Just be ready for the consequences. Willie Nelson can take you down.

Of course, he probably wouldn’t, because he’s a nice guy. At any rate, two days before his 81st birthday, during a ceremony in Austin, Texas, Willie will receive his fifth-degree black belt in the art of Gong Kwon Yu Sul, a modern Korean martial arts system.

Willie has practiced martial arts most of his life, beginning with kung fu in Nashville when he was a songwriter and later adding in tae kwon do. He has been an athlete most of his life, participating in baseball, football and track (pole vaulting) during his school years.

According to, Gong Kwon Yu Sul is “a system which emphasizes the application of striking, locking and throwing techniques in practical, free-flowing fighting situations, rather than static situations.”

In other words, like the Red Headed Stranger suggests, don’t cross him, don’t boss him.

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