Meet 63-year-old Sun Jifa from Guanmashan village in Jilin province, or as he has become more popularly known over the years, “Sun Iron Arms.” After losing his arms 36 years ago, he has devoted his time to developing a pair of “iron arms” for himself, which he has used to build more DIY devices to help others.
Back in 1974, Sun joined the PLA and served as an artillery specialist. Ever since then, he has taken up an interest in explosives.
Sun retired from the army five years later and returned home to get married. One day in September 1980, he wanted to get some fish for his pregnant wife to eat. Rather than use a fishing rod, he used a self-made detonator to blow the fish right out of the pond.
Unfortunately, the detonator went off while he was working on it, severely injuring his arms and hands. At just 27 years old, Sun had to get his arms amputated at the elbow in order to survive.
In an interview for a documentary film about his life, Sun admitted that the accident put him in a dark place, and he even attempted suicide. However, with the encouragement of his family and friends, along with his iron will, Sun refused to be a burden to his family and set about making himself a new pair of arms.
According to CNTV, Sun crafted his first pair of arms in 1984. They were made of plastic, rubber and iron. Unsatisfied with them, he has continued to improve on his design over the years. In total, he has developed four generations of functional mechanical hands, which have enabled him to brush his teeth, saw wood, weld, farm, play chess and harmonica, answer phone calls and drive a tractor.
Because of his success, hundreds of disabled locals have flocked to him for help, asking him to build something similar to help them.
To meet this high demand, Sun has established a workshop to build iron arms for those in need.
So far, he has helped more than 1,000 disabled people.
Sun told reporters that he will continue to improve his creations to help more people in the future.
Watch a short documentary film on this man’s extraordinary life here:
By Lucy Liu
[Images via Tencent / hxsd.com / China Daily]