Willie Nelson is legendary for his live performances and his timeless songs. However, what many don’t know is that Willie Nelson has been practicing the Korean martial art of Gong Kwon Yu Sul for decades.
Nelson, who recorded songs such as “Always On My Mind” and “On The Road Again” will receive the high honor of a fifth degree black belt in a ceremony on Monday, just a few days before his 81st birthday. Generally known as the consummate hippie, Willie Nelson started his love affair with martial arts upon his embarkation on Nashville, TN. Since then, the martial art of Gong Kwon Yu Sul has been a major part of his life.
In his youth, Nelson played many sports including baseball, running track, pole vaulting, and football. His athletic childhood well prepared him for being active later in his life.
Speaking in regard to the martial arts, Willie Nelson explains, “It’s a good form of exercise, especially as you get older,” he told Men’s Health in 2013.
On Saturday, Willie Nelson received another high honor in the music biz. He had the privilege of being inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame, part of the first ever inductee class. “There would be no Austin City Limits without Willie Nelson,” said Academy Award winning actor Matthew McConaughey.
The long time running television and concert series is entering its 40th year and it all started in 1974 with Willie Nelson as the festival’s first ever performer.
Nelson was short on words speaking of the award, “It means a lot,” Nelson said. “It’s Austin City Limits and Austin, the music capital of the world.”
Willie Nelson has a strong connection with his fans old and new. Just about anybody can relate to one of his songs, or many of them. Twitter twits have expressed their feelings toward Nelson in full force after recent news of his recognition.
I grew up thinking Bonnie & Clyde were friends of my parents, George Burns was my grandpa, and that I was somehow related to Willie Nelson.
— JennFantastic! (@QuirkyPickle) April 25, 2014
— Just Chill Out. (@JustChillRecs) April 2, 2014
Willie Nelson to receive a fifth degree black belt tomorrow. He is officially the oldest guy who can kick our ass!
— American Fatass (@FatassPodcast) April 27, 2014
Earlier this year, Willie Nelson brought the house down with a seemingly impromptu resurrection of the legendary country act The Highwaymen with Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton. Haggard and Shelton sitting in for Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings who have passed. Nobody kicks butt on and off the stage quite like Willie Nelson.