Professional climber and fitness influencer Magnus Midtbø has taken on a wide array of physical challenges on his YouTube channel, including a series of fitness tests used by the U.S. Navy SEALs, Marine Corps and FBI respectively. But his most recent challenge might just prove to be the most grueling physical experience of his life.
In the latest of his recent videos training with the Norwegian Armed Forces, Midtbø subjects himself to a hand-to-hand combat test in which he must face off against no fewer than five highly-trained military instructors. But first, he learns the proper technique. During these exercises, closed-fist punching is off limits, due to the danger of a soldier injuring their knuckles, and so instead Midtbø learns how to properly strike with an open palm, aiming to hit with the heel of his hand. Essentially, a really hard open-handed slap.
He also gets schooled on his kicking technique, as well as wrestling and grappling, and learns that this training has parallels with martial arts, boxing, and MMA, with a few key differences. “It’s about life and death,” says Midtbø’s instructor, “and you don’t have any rules in hand to hand combat.”
One of the most important elements Midtbø must remember during the test is forward drive. “If you’re passive and moving backwards, you’re going to lose the fight,” says the instructor. “Be aggressive, and move forward.”
After a couple of hours of drills and sparring with his instructor, Midtbø is as ready as he is going to be, and begins the test. “I must remember to pace myself, otherwise I’m going to get my ass kicked,” he says.
Throughout the test, Midtbø is surrounded by five instructors from across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Special Forces branches of the Norwegian military, each of whom takes it in turns to attack him, forcing him to defend himself and subdue his opponent before turning to fight the next one. While the experience only lasts a matter of minutes, it is one of the most physically taxing ordeals that Midtbø has ever gone through. Once he has finished the test and caught his breath, he continues to dry-heave from the exertion.
“I’ve never thrown up before because I’m tired,” he says. “I feel like I’m so naive when it comes to these things. I always underestimate how hard it’s going to be. And this is the first time I threw up, so maybe this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
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