In North Korea, military men receive blows to amuse Kim Jong Un

A shirtless soldier smashes two glass bottles together as they fall onto a pile of helmets on the floor, while North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks on smiling.

The man is lying on the rubble and a comrade places a concrete block on his chest, which he then breaks with a mallet.

The scene was part of a display of acts that defy pain in charge of the North Korean army, at the opening of a military exhibition on Tuesday that showed the country’s nuclear warheads.

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The soldiers, some in uniform and others without shirts, broke concrete blocks with their fists or with their heads.

Others endured blows to the arm or hand and one lay down on a bed of nails while a block was smashed across his chest.

The North Korean dictator watched as he clapped and smiled, surrounded by officers and with his sister and counselor, Kim Yo Jong, by his side, according to images released by state television KCTV.

Korea has a long tradition of martial arts, and breaking things is part of taekwondo, developed by a South Korean general who later fell out of favor with then-local dictator Park Chung Hee, and became a frequent visitor to Pyongyang, where he died in 2002.

Taekwondo is often used by the North to symbolize its might military. “These soldiers, welcomed and raised by our party, have demonstrated to the world the strength, courage and morale of the Korean People’s Army,” popular news anchor Ri Chun Hee said as the images were flipped.

The weapons show, in which Kim blamed Washington for tensions on the Korean peninsula and accused the South of hypocrisy, was part of commemorations of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party.

This is the video from the military demonstration in North Korea: