Russian president Vladimir Putin has been presented with a black belt and made a grandmaster of taekwondo during an official visit to South Korea, state media said.
Despite not actually practicing taekwondo himself, Mr Putin has achieved the elusive ninth Dan – meaning he now ranks higher than famous US martial artist Chuck Norris, who is stuck on the eighth.
In a letter to Putin, the federation said the Kyokushin-kan International Honbu decided to award him an eighth-dan, or eighth-degree, black belt for his
“contribution in promoting Kyokushin-kan karate in Russia.”
Putin, known also for his judo skills, had already been awarded a fifth-degree black belt in 2001, according to the federation.
Kyokushin-kan is a full contact form of karate in which no protective gear is worn and in which striking an opponent in the head with hands is not permitted.
Putin in 2013 also received the highest rank in taekwondo, the ninth-dan ranking, giving him honorary grandmaster status, according to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass.
Source: The Independent