Willie Nelson Is A 5th Degree Black Belt In The Korean Martial Art Of “GongKwon Yusul”

Willie Nelson country music
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There might not be anyone on planet Earth as unique and interesting as legendary country music artist Willie Nelson.

Nelson is 90-years-old and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, and that might have something to do with his enthusiasm about exercising.

Willie has a new album coming out tomorrow called Bluegrass, which will bring fresh, bluegrass-styled spins to some of his most famous songs like “On the Road Again,” “Yesterday’s Wine,” and “Good Hearted Woman.” The project will be the 99th studio album he has released during his storied career.

Reaching 99 albums at 90 years of age is quite the feat, and is almost as impressive as the fact that the red-headed stranger has 5 black belts and is a certified martial artist. It may be hard to believe, considering that Willie has seemed pretty “mellow” throughout his career (I can’t put my finger on the reason why).

But it is true, and the martial arts achievement actually took place nine years ago on Nelson’s 81st birthday. At the time that this piece was done by USA Today, Willie had been practicing a Korean martial arts discipline called “GongKwon Yusul” for 20 years.

When speaking to the reporter about why the master of country music also dabbled in mastering martial arts, Nelson said:

“It’s a lot of fun, (there’s) a lot of confidence when you accomplish something. I recommend it to anybody and any age.”

Clearly he is living proof that anyone at any age can do it, and I’ll go ahead and say that Willie Nelson has never steered me wrong before.

I guess I’ll have to look into taking some martial arts classes…

And if you are like me and were wondering how you obtain such a staggering amount of black belts, Willie broke it down in plain and simple terms in the interview:

“For every belt you do, you have to… there’s certain requirements. You break one board, then when you get up to a black belt, you might have to break three or four or five boards.”

Got it, just break a bunch of boards. It might even help for motivation to say “if Willie can do it, I can do it” before breaking wooden boards with your bare foot. That is if you took Nelson’s advice and decided to sign yourself up for martial arts classes…

Nelson credits the “GongKwon Yusul” with keeping him in shape and helping him continue to perform and sing, saying:

“I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it if I didn’t do something, you know? Diet, exercise, all those things. This just happens to be my favorite way of exercising.

It’s good for you physically. Your lungs, your breathing, the more you exercise, the better you are going to feel.”

I’d say he’s right about that, considering that he’s still plugging along at 90-years-old.

Is it considered “plugging along” if you are putting out two albums and headlining festivals at the age of 90? Maybe I should instead say he’s still “thriving,” and we’re all better off because he is.

Take a look at Willie Nelson talking martial arts and black belts below:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock