United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was treated to an impressive, yet unnerving display of the Indonesian military’s unique skills during his recent visit to Jakarta, Indonesia.
The local soldiers went all out with their performance, which included death-defying exhibitions and martial arts techniques in the routine military demonstration event on Wednesday, marking the end of Mattis’ three-day visit in the country.
Instead of a mere hostage rescue drill the media was expecting, Indonesian troops showed off how they roll in broken glass, break bricks with their heads, walk on fire, and drink snake blood, Reuters reported.
During their martial arts demonstration, soldiers used their heads to break concrete bricks and then smashed stacks of burning blocks with their hands. One knife-wielding, blindfolded soldier was also showcased slashing at a cucumber sticking out of his another man’s mouth.
In one of the more dangerous stunts, a blindfolded soldier missed a shot after attempting to shoot out a balloon held between the legs of one of his colleagues. Fortunately, no one was reported injured.
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The main event of the circus-like program was definitely the demonstration which involved live snakes, including one King Cobra. After scattering the snakes on the ground, the soldiers began cutting off the snake heads and then fed the snake blood to each other. During the performance, one soldier even bit a snake in half.
After the show, the Indonesian forces then carried out the scheduled hostage rescue operation, which involved the use of helicopters and police dogs.
While Pentagon chiefs are accustomed to seeing foreign forces carry out more routine military demonstrations during foreign travel, Indonesia’s unique display of might is certainly made to both impress and entertain the audience.
Mattis, who seemed to enjoy the demonstration, praised how the Indonesian soldiers smartly wore the snakes down before going in for the kill.
“The snakes! Did you see them tire them out and then grab them? The way they were whipping them around – a snake gets tired very quickly,” he was quoted as saying.
Mattis, who is seeking to deepen military ties with Southeast Asian nations, said the demonstration showed the intensity of how the Indonesian forces train.
“You could imagine how much training went into each individual there, that they were able to do that,” he said. “When you watch a force do that, many small things, perfectly, you can imagine that they can also put the bigger things together.”