“Black Belt Willie”: the Mellow Minstrel is master of more than music

Willie Nelson ears his 5th degree black belt (photo courtesy of Austin American-Statesman, Ralph Barrera)

Willie Nelson earns his 5th degree black belt (photo courtesy of Austin American-Statesman, Ralph Barrera)

Art is art, be it musical or martial. After nearly 20 years of dedicated study, country music icon Willie Nelson was promoted to 5th degree black belt on Monday (4/28) in the Korean martial art of GongKwon Yusul. Not too shabby for a man who turns 81 today!

Though Nelson didn’t show off his skills during the low-key ceremony held at his dojang (training hall) in Austin, Texas, his instructor, Grand Master Sam Um, stated that Nelson could definitely hold his own and also pointed out that “he (Nelson) has more stamina than I do!” Of course, we all know that Willie has very effective ways of conserving his energy.

The “Red-Headed Stranger” joins an impressive list of celebrities and icons who have also earned black belt-status in their respective martial arts, including Ed O’Neil (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), James Caan (Gosoku Ryu Karate), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Taekwondo), and the late/great Elvis Presley (Chito Ryu and Kempo Karate).

Nelson with Grand Master Sam Um (courtesy Ralph Barrera)

Nelson with Grand Master Sam Um (courtesy Ralph Barrera)

We here at Karaoke Cloud congratulate you, Master Nelson, both for your promotion and the celebration of your 81st birthday. We hope you keep on kickin’ for many years to come!

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