Adding one more weapon to the Russian arsenal, President Vladimir Putin now holds the highest rank in Taekwondo — despite not practicing the sport.
As a new ninth-degree blackbelt and honorary Taekwondo grand master, Putin officially outstrips the eighth-degree ranking of the legendary Chuck Norris. Putin was given the Taekwondo belt and diploma by the head of the World Taekwondo Federation, Choue Chung-won, on an official visit to South Korea.
Putin accepted the honor modestly, stating that he wasn’t sure he deserved such a high honor. Historically, honorary black belts have been given to other world leaders, including President Barack Obama.
Although Putin isn’t an active Taekwondo practitioner, he has participated in judo since his youth, when he won a judo championship in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Putin even has an instructional video on YouTube called “Let’s Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin.”