Shirtless North Korean soldiers break bricks with their heads, lay on glass and nails for Kim Jong-un

A video of North Korean soldiers — some of them shirtless — performing extreme martial arts for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has gone viral on social media.

What’s going on: The performance, which originally aired on North Korean TV, was part of a “self-defense” military exhibition held on Monday. The rest of the event included a formal ceremony, a weapons display and flight stunts by combat pilots, according to KCNA.

  • The event marked the latest show of force from Pyongyang’s military. State media said it aimed to showcase the soldiers’ “iron fist” in protecting the country.

  • In the video, soldiers can be seen smashing bricks with their bare hands, bending an iron rod with their necks, and throwing knives at each other, among other stunts. Kim is seen clapping with other officials in the background.

  • Kim previously called out the U.S. for alleged hostilities and vowed to arm his hermit state with “invincible military capacity,” as per AP News. However, he pointed out that Pyongyang aims to increase war deterrence instead of engaging in war itself, according to Reuters.

Reactions: The video was first shared on Twitter by Martyn Williams, a journalist and researcher who is focused on covering North Korea. As of this writing, it has received 2.5 million views and a mix of reactions from users.

  • Some compared the soldiers to lethal fictional characters. “This looks like folks from District 1 in the Hunger Games,” one user wrote.

  • Meanwhile, some claimed that there was nothing impressive about the stunts. “To anyone who understands the physics behind this, it's not impressive at all. Laying on a bed of nails or broken glass won't puncture your skin so long as you don't slide across it, and all breaking concrete shows is [that] the soldiers have good abs,” one noted. “Hardly ‘invincible.’”

  • Others simply responded with sarcasm, with one writing, “Wow! North Korea are [sic] gonna totally kick a** in the great ‘sticks and bricks’ war of the future!”

Featured Image via Martyn Williams

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