'Master' Willie Nelson gets 5th-degree black belt

FILE - Willie Nelson takes the stage during "Fire Relief, The Concert For Central Texas" at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, in this Oct. 17, 2011 file photo. Country music legend Willie Nelson was expected to help unveil an eight-foot statue of himself in downtown Austin on Friday April 20, 2012, which happens to be a national day of protest for the legalization of marijuana. (AP Photo/Erich Schlegel, File)

April 29, 2014 8:51:24 AM PDT
Some advice for when Willie Nelson slides off his sneakers personalized with the word "Texas" on them: Don't mess with him.

The country music icon who turns 81 this week received his fifth-degree black belt Monday in the martial art of Gong Kwon Yu Sul. He cinched the personalized belt around a black robe at an Austin studio.

Nelson didn't show off his chops but Grand Master Sam Um assured a packed room, including fellow Texan Lance Armstrong, that the "Red Headed Stranger" could hold his own against anyone.

Nelson's birthday is Wednesday - though he's claimed before that the date is really April 29, a day earlier.

He credits two decades of martial arts for keeping him physically and mentally fit.

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