Elvis Presley was a popular musician well known for his swiveling hips, but he could be almost as famous for his karate kicks. That’s because The King of Rock and Roll earned a seventh-degree black belt in the early 1970s.
Elvis became interested in karate while stationed with the U.S. Army in Germany in 1958. After receiving an honorable discharge from the army in 1960, Elvis continued to pursue the martial arts. He trained with Kenpo master Ed Parker before turning to Hank Slemansky when it was time to earn his black belt. Parker advised Elvis to train with the notoriously strict Slemansky because people in the martial arts community felt other celebrities were “earning” their black belts too easily at the time.
Elvis continued to study karate and eventually earned his seventh-degree black belt from Master Kang Rhee. Elvis was so dedicated to the martial arts that he helped open the Tennessee Karate Institute and participated in martial arts training videos.