13 November 2013, 15:02

Putin tougher than Chuck Norris: call him Grand Master or Sasung

Grand Master Vladimir Putin

Grand Master Vladimir Putin

Grand Master Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been awarded honorary taekwondo grandmaster status after receiving a black belt and a diploma signifying the much-coveted ninth Dan ranking. Now, his official sport title in this martial art is Honorary Grand Master or Sasung.

Only chosen few have so far been awarded the highest taekwondo rank, known as "dan." Among them are presidents of the US, Indonesia, Honduras, Spain, Croatia and Pakistan.

By way of comparison, famed US martial artist Chuck Norris, who sparred with Bruce Lee in the 1972 movie Way of the Dragon, holds an eighth Dan in taekwondo.

Although Putin does not do taekwondo, he does regularly practice judo, despite his 61 years. His work to promote the sport earned him an eighth Dan from the International Judo Federation a year ago.

A Dan is a level of proficiency on a scale that ranges from one to ten.

putinawardninedan

Screenshot: Youtube

putinawardninedan02

Screenshot: Youtube

Putin, who was in the Korean capital, Seoul, to promote a pet project for a new Asian-European rail trade route, accepted the title modestly.

"I don’t think I have earned such a high Dan," he said, promising that Russia would strive to contribute to the development of martial arts.

Putin was judo champion of his home town Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, in his youth and starred in the instructional video "Let's Learn Judo With Vladimir Putin" in 2008.

Judo and taekwondo are the only martial arts in the Olympic Games program. An estimated 70 to 80 million people practice taekwondo in over 200 countries around the globe.

Many world leaders and celebrities have been bestowed with honorary titles in martial arts, including US President Barack Obama, who holds a green belt in taekwondo also recieved an honorary taekwondo black belt from his then-South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak in 2009. 

Filmmaker and screenwriter, Guy Ritchie, who is probably best known for being the ex-husband of Madonna, has a black belt in Judo and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Putin awarded highest taekwondo rank

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has been awarded the highest, ninth rank in the Korean martial art taekwondo.

The rank, along with a black belt and a corresponding certificate, was granted to the sporty Russian leader by Choue Chung-won, the head of the World Taekwondo Federation, during his trip to South Korea.

Mr. Putin appeared flattered as he confessed he hadn’t deserved such a high rank. "Let’s call it our campaign to popularize this wonderful martial art," he said. "Russia will do its best to contribute to its popularity at home."

Only chosen few have so far been awarded the highest taekwondo rank, known as "dan." Among them are presidents of the US, Indonesia, Honduras, Spain, Croatia and Pakistan.

The Korean sensei, Choue Chung-won, said his organization was aware that the Russian leader was fond of and actively practiced martial arts. He said Russian martial artists ranked very high globally.

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art which combines combat and self-defense techniques with exercise. It is popular among 70 to 80 million practitioners in 205 countries.

Voice of Russia, Interfax,TASS, RIA

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