Willie Nelson Turns 81, Receives Fifth-Degree Black Belt

Posted on April 28, 2014

Nevermind Shotgun Willie—these days it’s black-belt Willie, as country music icon Willie Nelson just earned his fifth degree in the highest-ranking level of the Korean martial art GongKwon Yusul.

In other words, kid him about his signature braided blonde locks at your own risk.

GongKwon Yusul is a modern martial art that emphasizes free-flowing movement, which the octogenarian singer has credited as being a good form of exercise “as you get older.”

It’s been a big week for the voice behind such country standards as “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” and “On the Road Again.” His black belt greets him on his 81st birthday on April 29, and on April 26 he was inducted as an inaugural member of the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame. Nelson’s many appearances on the country music TV show date back 40 years, when he performed on ACL’s very first episode in 1974.

Check out the above clip of Nelson performing "Georgia On My Mind" at the US Festival in 1983.

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