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Sunday May 3rd, 2015 1:55PM

Willie Nelson to receive 5th-degree black belt

By The Associated Press
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Red Headed Stranger is getting his fifth-degree black belt.

Country music icon Willie Nelson is scheduled Monday to achieve another level of mastery in the martial art of Gong Kwon Yu Sul. He'll show off his fighting chops at an Austin studio before the easygoing songwriter celebrates his 81st birthday this week.

Nelson has spent decades practicing martial arts while building a career as one of the most celebrated musicians of his time.

The black belt is a quieter honor than usual for the lionized singer. Just this past weekend, Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey inducted his fellow Texan into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame with a blowout concert.

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