Putin becomes eighth-degree karate black belt

Putin becomes eighth-degree karate black belt

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Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a Persian leopard cub at a breeding and rehabilitation center in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Perhaps the most important vote in Russia's public selection of a new Olympic mascot was cast when Putin said he wanted a funky leopard to represent the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Browse through for more photos of Putin trying his hand at different activities.

(CNN) — That Vladimir Putin, he’s a baaad man.

The muscle-bound Russian President rides horses while shirtless. He catches massive fish and gives them a kiss. He tranquilizes tigers.

He also is apparently pretty good on the mat.

Putin, 62, has been awarded a karate black belt, the Russian Kyokushin-kan Karate-do Federation said Friday.

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.

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