Willie Nelson On His Black Belt Martial Arts Training: “All We Know How To Do Is Fight, F*** & Throw Rocks”

Black belt willie nelson
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Willie Nelson is obviously a country music legend, weed connoisseur, and all-around cultural icon, but fans of his might not know that when he wasn’t perfecting his songwriting and guitar plucking, he has practiced a lot with the martial art of self defense.

Nelson is now around two weeks away from his 90th birthday, but the “On The Road Again” singer shows no signs of slowing down and prefers to stay busy. In fact, on Willie’s special day (April 29th), he will be playing on stage for his fans at the Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90 concert weekend at the Hollywood Bowl.

The celebration for 12 time Grammy-award-winner will also feature some of country music’s biggest names, including Chris Stapleton, Sheryl Crow, and Kacey Musgraves, among others.

So how is Willie Nelson still doing it all? Touring and performing is definitely keeping his iconic voice sharp, but when it comes to his physical health, it could very well be his extensive martial arts training.

Willie Nelson: Martial Arts Master

Some might find that hard to believe, but I think it par for the course for the country music legend.

In a recent interview with AARP, Willie Nelson opened up about hitting the big 9-0 mark, why he loves to continue to work, how important naps can be while touring, and (most importantly) his martial arts training.

Nelson was asked about why he chose to partake in self-defense training and how he managed to reach 5th degree black belt status (which can take over 10 years of training to obtain).

Willie told AARP:

“I grew up in Abbott, Texas, where we didn’t have much except comic books. We had Charles Atlas and Bruce Lee, judo and jujitsu.

Excuse my language, but in Abbott, we had a saying that all we know how to do down there is fight, f*ck and throw rocks. I grew up fighting one thing or another.

I’d go out on Sundays and fight bumblebees and come home with my eyes swollen shut and tell everyone how much fun I had.”

Sounds like that same “outlaw attitude” that Nelson’s music catalogue is known for applies to his martial arts training as well.

As to why the legendary artist decided to hone in on self-defense for his black belt specialty, Nelson added this in his interview:

“Mainly it gives you enough confidence where you don’t have to jump out there and get into trouble. If they bring it to you, you feel confident you can handle it.

It’s not anything I worry about, because I’m not really afraid of it. I don’t really think I’m afraid of anything.”

Willie Nelson isn’t afraid of anything.

Hell no he isn’t.

And he certainly isn’t afraid to step out on stage and play festivals at the age of 90 years old. He announced last month that he would be the headliner for his own Outlaw Music Festival, which kicks off at the end of June.

God bless Willie Nelson.

We can all strive to be like him, and as to how we can all be as active as the age-defying country music star when we are all around at the 9-decade mark, we might just need to follow his advice in his cover of Pearl Jam’s song “Just Breathe.”

Willie Nelson Throws Crane Kicks At A Punching Bag

And speaking of Willie Nelson and martial arts, Luke Combs has an all-time great Willie Nelson story.

Luke was in Maui or a songwriting festival when he was asked if he wanted to go play poker at Willie Nelson’s house later that night.

Having only briefly met Willie one time, Luke jumped at the opportunity to go, and when he arrived, it doesn’t take long for Willie to whip out his signature accessory:

“So we get in there, we’re talkin’ for a minute dude, he rips the piece out, dude, you know what I mean? The peace pipe.

And I’ve heard the stories… Toby Keith literally has a song called “I’ll Never Smoke Weed With Willie Again,” you know what I mean?

I’ve heard the song, I’m aware of the moment, you know. And I go, alright man, when this thing comes, you only got one, dude, you can’t go twice on this deal.”

He hit it again… HARD. He also noted that he was the youngest guy there by 30 years, but stoned out of his gourd, he moved to sit at another little table in the room, where he’s the only one who can see down an adjoining hallway:

At one point, Luke watched Willie get up and head down that hallway where only he could see from his perch at the little table:

“And I remember Willie getting up, and he walks down, I’m sitting at this table, he doesn’t say anything to anyone, he gets up, these guys are playing poker.

He gets up, he walks right past me, all the way down the hallway, and there’s this punching bag at the end of the hallway.”

And what does he do?

The red headed stranger starts full-on punching this bag, crane kicks and all, thinking not a single soul can see him or knows what he’s doing…

“And he stands there, arms out, like full karate kid and starts just kicking this punching bag.

Tossing crane kicks, dude, he’s 84… just hammering this punching bag. And I’m looking at the poker table, and I’m like, what is happening? Nobody sees this happen.

He goes out, is out for five minutes, could’ve been five hours, I don’t know the difference at this point… comes back in, stops at the thing, hits one more crane kick, walks back in, doesn’t say a peep about it.”

For Luke, it really felt like he’d finally had his moment with Willie… watching him attack a punching bag down a hallway in Maui in the middle of the night while he’s high as a kite:

“Sits back down like nothing happened, and I’m like, that’s my moment. I’ve had my moment with Willie Nelson, and it was him doing the crane kicks at God knows what time it is in Maui baked out of my gourd at his house.”

It’s the kind of story you’d hope and pray for if you ever really got a chance to hang out with Willie, but seems too good to be true.

Really, Luke summed the entire debacle up best:

“It was wild. It was absolutely wild.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock