A recently surfaced video that documents North Korean elite forces in absurd displays of prowess has belly-chopped the Internet with its sheer insanity. In “gyeok-sul,” the martial arts training undergone by the elite forces, the trainees spar with each other in order to achieve iron fists and unflinching leaps.
Im Cheon-Yong, a former captain of the North Korean Special Forces, explains that a basic yet fundamental part of the training involves training the fist. “You wrap a tree trunk with ropes, and keep punching it. You throw 5,000 punches day and night — do that for a month, the inside of your fist swells up until you can barely curl your fingers.”
He added, “Then you open a tin can and set it up on a stand. You keep punching the sharp part. When your hand turns into mush with blood and pus, you start punching a pile of salt. Repeat it, and your hands become like a stone.”
Though the actual sharpness of the axe seen in the video is unknown, you can view a snippet of the training here: