Topless North Korean soldiers displayed a bizarre show of strength to Kim Jong Un by performing dropkicks and lying on glass shards

Kim Jong Un meets fighter pilots at a defense development exhibition on Monday. There, martial artists displayed their strength to the Supreme Leader. Korea News Service/Korea Central News Agency via AP
On Monday, North Korean soldiers without shirts faced off against a bed made of concrete blocks, nails and swords to honor their Supreme Leader.

They displayed their strength as part of a defense development exhibition to showcase North Korea's military capabilities.

One man was placed on top of glass shards, and had a concrete block placed on his abdomen crushed by a sledgehammer.

A shirtless man is pinned down by soldiers charging him. He spins kicks two at the time and throws his enemies over his shoulder, while being accosted by them. He tense up and the soldiers wailing on him with their poles. He roars in defiance.

The Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un smiled in approval as he clapped on the bleachers. He was surrounded by a hundred uniformed officials who applauded non-stop.

According to state media KCNA, the staged fight was part a defense development show in Pyongyang that took place Monday. It included combat pilot flight stunts and weapons displays, as well as a display of North Korean military strength.

The soldiers at the exhibition shouted war cries while they plowed through concrete slabs and split rows of bricks with their elbows. They also performed sprinting dropkicks during a Tuesday state broadcast.

Martyn Williams, a Stimson Center researcher who studies North Korea, tweeted a video of the broadcast. The soldiers can be seen performing acts beyond martial arts like bent a rod with their necks.

A group of men in shirts lay down on a stack of tiles and had their hands and biceps hammered by sledgehammers. This cracked the tiles beneath. The men strike fighting poses, apparently unharmed.

A man lies down on a bed made of nails. Then, a block of concrete is placed on his stomach and hammered in half. Another has swords placed on his abdomen, which receives the same block-and-sledgehammer treatment.

The video ends with a man breaking two bottles and placing a blanket of glass shards on top. He then lies down on top. The concrete block is also smashed against his abdomen.

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A continuous stream of shouting can be heard throughout the event, but it is unclear if these are soldiers screaming for help or were just added to the broadcast. The BBC reports that this is the first such event since Kim's 2011 election.

Kim, the dictator, accused the US of provoking hostilities and creating tensions. He claimed that North Korea is only trying to defend itself.

Kim said that the United States had repeatedly sent signals that it was not hostile to our country, but its behavior provides no reason why they should believe them." Kim spoke during the exhibit, which was dubbed "Self-Defence 2021" by Rodong Sinmun, state media.

Kim Jong Un addresses officials at an intercontinental missile ballistics launch. Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

According to NKNews, the regime also displayed its nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistics, which included its new hypersonic weapon.

People on social media are making fun of a parachutist wearing a skin-tight, blue suit while he stood among the pilots at an exhibition. They call him "Captain North Korea," or "human cannonball."

- The Korea Times (@koreatimescokr), October 13, 2021

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