Willie Nelson to Achieve 5th-Degree Black BeltBy: Mike Fossum - April 27, 2014
After being inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Friday night to much fanfare, country music legend Willie Nelson is also set to receive his 5th-degree black belt in martial arts at the age of 80. Nelson will achieve the high honor in the modern Korean martial art of Gong Kwon Yu Sulon on Monday in Austin, right before his 81st birthday on Tuesday.
Nelson began studying martial arts decades ago in Nashville, and his training had remained a constant in his life. Nelson told Men’s Health in 2013 that “It’s a good form of exercise, especially as you get older.” As a youth, Nelson was involved in various team sports, and commented, “I went through school playing all kinds of sports. I played shortstop, I ran track. I played football. I was a pole-vaulter.”
As Nelson was inducted into the ACL Hall of Fame, fellow Texan Matthew McConaughey gave a small speech – “There would be no Austin City Limits without Willie Nelson,” the Academy Award-winning actor said.
Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett then accompanied Nelson on stage for renditions of On the Road Again and Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.
Here Nelson does his part in helping to explain the zany antics of philandering, lovelorn males everywhere, with his 1982 Grammy-winning rendition of Always on My Mind:
Commenting on his ACL induction, Nelson stated, “It means a lot. It’s Austin City Limits and Austin – the music capital of the world.”
Nelson combines variety of music styles to create his own distinctive amalgam of country music, a hybrid of jazz, pop, blues, rock and folk, which has been highly influential to the new country, new traditionalist, and alternative country movements of the 1980s and 1990s.
Image via Wikimedia Commons