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:


Marie R

Marie R

A freelance writer from Puerto Rico with a love for psychology and graphic design, Marie R. also enjoys sampling food from Asian countries and remembers blueberry-flavored Japanese KitKats quite fondly. Some of her musings can be found at radio-acerola.org.
Marie R

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