North Korean soldiers put on a series of martial arts stunts to accompany the country’s exhibition of nuclear missiles on Monday.
Footage of the demonstration shows shirtless men performing a variety of stunts, including placing their forearms or hands on stacks of tiles for their comrades to smash with hammers. Soldiers also bent metal rods with their necks and laid on broken glass with a slab of granite on top of them, which their colleagues would similarly break with a hammers.
The displays were done in front of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, his sister and a cheering crowd as part of efforts to create national pride and instill fear in enemies, The New York Times reported. Video footage of Koreans throwing hand axes and knives was also released in 2012 during a tense period with South Korea.
“If the enemy dares to encroach upon our land, these soldiers will turn into cast-iron fists and lightning-speed monsters to protect the peace of the motherland,” a female announcer said on the North Korean state-run television broadcast of the videos, the NYT reported.
The stunts remain one of the most popular forms of propaganda in the regime, the NYT reported. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife were invited to a similar performance when they visited the country in 2019.
These programs are typically performed by those assigned to guard Pyongyang, Kim and his safe houses and villas around the country, the NYT reported. “It is said in the North that each of these soldiers is trained to fight and beat as many as 10 men at the same time in a hand-to-hand battle,” An Chan-il, a North Korean defector, said in 2019.
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