He got a kick out of this honor.
Former President Donald Trump was presented with an honorary ninth dan black belt in taekwondo over the weekend by the head of one of the sport’s governing bodies at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
Trump was presented with the honor by Lee Dong Seop, the president of Kukkiwon, the world taekwondo headquarters located in South Korea.
A South Korean living in the US organized the meeting, the Korean newspaper Dong-A-Ilbo reported on Monday.
“I heard that Donald Trump is highly interested in Taekwondo,” Lee was quoted as saying by the outlet.
The 45th president posed with Lee while wearing traditional taekwondo garb in several photographs that were posted on Kukkiwon’s Facebook page. The photos were accompanied by a disclaimer saying that the ceremony was “not related [to] any other political issues.”
“It is my pleasure and honor to receive this honorary certificate. Taekwondo is a great martial art for protecting oneself in these times (when COVID-19 prevails),” Dong-A-Ilbo quoted Trump as saying.
The former president reportedly added that he will wear the taekwondo outfit to Congress if he is elected president again and invited the Kukkiwon demonstration team to the United States to perform.
Following the ceremony, Trump and Lee posed in front of a photo at Mar-a-Lago showing the former president shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their meeting at the Korean demilitarized zone in 2019.
Trump is not the first prominent world leader to receive a ninth-degree black belt. Russian President Vladimir Putin was awarded the honor during a visit to Seoul in 2013.
Like Trump, Putin never practiced taekwondo. However, the Russian leader does have a black belt in judo.
A ninth dan black belt is the highest level that can be achieved by professional martial artists. Trump and Putin outrank martial arts expert and “Walker, Texas Ranger” star Chuck Norris, who only has an eighth-degree taekwondo black belt.