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Chechen Leader Ramzan Kadyrov Awarded Black Belt in Karate

Following in the footsteps of martial-arts-loving President Vladimir Putin, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov announced Monday that he had been awarded a black belt in karate.

"My sporting career was marked by a big event today," Kadyrov wrote in an Instagram post. "The legendary Shokei Matsui, the president of the International Karate Organization, decided I would be awarded a fifth-dan [rank] black belt."

Kadyrov, who wrote on his Instagram page that he has been practicing karate for "a long time," did not specify whether he had taken the required exams to earn the distinction or had received it on an honorary basis.

Putin, who holds an eight-dan black belt in judo, was made a grandmaster of taekwondo during an official visit to South Korea in 2013, even though he does not practice the sport.

Kadyrov, who has headed Chechnya since 2007, is best known for being an avid boxer. In 2013, the Chechen president summoned the republic's sports minister, Salambek Ismailov, to a boxing lesson to teach him how to start "using his head."

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