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

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Associated Press

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 29 at 5:00 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — 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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