19 incredible photos of some of the most intense military training regimes in the world

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A trainee leopard crawls along a 50-meter-long path of jagged coral and rocks as part of the Taiwan Marine Corps frogmen.
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Nicky Loh/REUTERS

The physical and psychological rigors of combat are intense, and militaries have the challenge preparing their soldiers for the worst of what they may face on the battlefield.

The world’s militaries require their personnel to go through grueling training to equip them for life in the field, and to make sure that soldiers who might not have prior combat experience are still in a state of readiness.

Here are photos from around the world of some of the toughest training imaginable.


In mainland China, paramilitary policeman face an intense regimen. Here, the policemen take part in a training session in muddy water.

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China Daily/REUTERS

Later in the training, the paramilitary police also have to crawl under fire obstacles …

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China Daily/REUTERS

… and hone their hand-to-hand combat skills.

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China Daily/REUTERS

Training is sometimes aimed at pushing troops to their absolute limit: Here, paramilitary police in China train at holding their breaths underwater.

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China Daily/REUTERS

Meanwhile, in far northern China, soldiers train in temperatures as cold as -22 degrees Fahrenheit.

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China Daily/REUTERS

In South Korea, members of the country’s Special Warfare Forces also train in icy conditions.

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Kim Hong-Ji/REUTERS

A Canadian soldier in Latvia takes part in ice-plunge training as part of NATO exercise Operation Atlantic Resolve.

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Ints Kalnins/REUTERS

During joint exercises, US and South Korean Marines train together in the South Korean mountains.

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Lee Jae-Won/REUTERS

US Marines also take part in annual joint drills with their counterparts in Thailand, in opposite climatic extremes. During the jungle-survival exercises, Marines have the chance to drink cobra blood.

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Athit Perawongmetha/REUTERS

Here, a US soldier in the 10th Special Forces Group jumps off the ramp of a Chinook helicopter with his military working dog during an exercise.

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Manuel J. Martinez/US Air Force

Over in Japan, members of the Ground Self-Defense Forces practice holding onto a rope dangling from a cargo helicopter.

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Yuya Shino/REUTERS

In Taiwan, in order to pass the final stage of a nine-week Amphibious Training Program, a trainee crawls along a 150-foot path of jagged coral and rocks on his belly.

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Nicky Loh/REUTERS

In Belarus, servicemen must pass through an extensive and difficult obstacle course before becoming members of the elite “Red Berets.”

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Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

The Red Berets stage annual displays of skill where some troops head butt flaming concrete blocks.

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Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

Militaries around the world make use of endurance challenges. In Israel, soldiers from the Golani Brigade must complete a 43-mile march to finish advanced training.

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Baz Ratner/REUTERS

Enemy forces in the region have clearly taken note: In the Gaza Strip, Palestinian militants from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades train in anti-Israel military drills.

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Suhaib Salem/REUTERS

In Syria, members of the Kurdish YPG train on monkey bars and fire obstacles.

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Rodi Said/REUTERS

Like the YPG, Iraq’s Shia militias are one of the major ground forces fighting ISIS. Here, members of a militia demonstrate close-quarter combat skills at a graduation ceremony.

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Alaa Al-Marjani/REUTERS

Other Shia militias in Iraq require their members to take part in desert field-training exercises before graduation.

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Alaa Al-Marjani/REUTERS