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Zhengzhou, China, 2004

These men hanging upside down are actually Shaolin monks. The monastery was built in the 5th century as a way to protect itself and develop this sort of martial arts against marauding tribes, thieves and bandits. Now, martial artists come from all over the world to pay homage, and to make donations for the upkeep of this historic monastery. The Shaolin monks exhibit amazing feats of strength, flexibility, pain endurance, and they’ve developed a worldwide reputation as the ultimate Buddhist warriors.

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