Fire breathing resources?

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Postby mrgoat » 01/06/09 07:40 AM

A friend of mine is interested in learning fire breathing. I do card magic so cant really help but I thought someone here might know of some good resources to learn from?

Thanks in advance for any pointers

Damian
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Postby Ian Kendall » 01/06/09 08:15 AM

I'll give the standard response. Learn from another person. Find a breather and politely ask if they will give lessons.

There are a couple of books and videos, but they are no substitute for a real person.

Finally, I feel I should quote the opening sentence to Dan Mannix's excellent book Memoirs of a Sword Swallower:

'I probably never would have become America's leading fire eater if Flamo the Great hadn't happened to explode that night in front of Krinko's Great Combined Carnival Side Shows.'

Note the use of the work 'explode'. Just a caveat.

Take care, Ian
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Postby mrgoat » 01/06/09 10:53 AM

Right, I thought that might be the case, but equally, thought it worth asking here.

Thanks for the reply.
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Postby Jeff Haas » 01/06/09 02:04 PM

Haven't read it, and I don't do fire eating, but this is probably worth a look:

The Professional's Guide to Fire Eating by Brian Brushwood

http://www.shwood.com/books.html
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Postby Ian Kendall » 01/06/09 02:19 PM

Nope. Not the thing to learn from a book.

Damian - what part of the world is your friend in? You may want to look into a local juggling club.

Take care, ian
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Postby Dick Christian » 01/06/09 03:01 PM

I did a self-taught "fire-eating/fire-breathing" act briefly while in college in the late 1950s. It's amazing what one will do at the age of 19 or 20 when one is fearless and doesn't know any better. I was lucky and suffered no serious mishaps. Having said that, I second the advice that this is something that is NOT to be learned from a book, but should be personally taught by someone who has years of experience. Todd Robbins (of Monday Night Magic fame) in New York City is a master of the sideshow stunts -- including fire-eating and sword swallowing as is Tyler Fyre (also of Coney Island fame) now residing in West Virginia not far from Washington, DC. There are others as well, but those are two well qualified experts that I know and can recommend.
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Postby David Alexander » 01/06/09 03:41 PM

Damian,

Ian's advice about finding an experienced teacher is very good and is probably the best way to learn something that is quite dangerous. You should tell your friend that no matter how careful he is, it is a certainty that he will be burned. While the severity of the burn cannot be predicted with any precision, the inevitability of being burned can.

I had a friend who did the fire breathing bit: taking a mouthful of flamable liquid and then blowing it out towards an ignition source. He did it for years without incident and then, one day, had a slight spasm of his diaphram and he accidentally inhaled a bit of burning liquid. Seared the upper portion of his lungs and was in hospital for some time.
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Postby Magic Newswire » 01/06/09 03:47 PM

Another book reference would be Brian Brushwood's "The Professional's Guide to Fire Eating "

http://www.amazon.com/Professionals-Gui ... 0971364605
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Postby Ian Kendall » 01/06/09 07:07 PM

I've known and hung out with a number of fire eaters and breathers during my stints as a street performer, and often the horror stories come out. If anyone has the urge to learn this from anything other than a living person (preferably without too much facial scar tissue) please reconsider. I have a couple of books on the subject, and they are thought of as somewhat of a liability by people I've met.

It reminds me of a quote from Day of the Triffids; I've crashed three already. Every tried learning to fly a helicopter from a book?

Take care, Ian
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Postby Diego » 01/07/09 02:18 AM

The above is true, ALL fire eaters/breathers get burned...also they often loose the enamel in their teeth. Remember it has always and will only be a street or sideshow act, you won't get rich doing it. Is it worth the risk/loss, in comparison to the low compensation?
Long-time sideshow operator Pete Kortes, stopped booking them, when a fire breather, burned a huge hole thru the top of his tent!
Do yourself a favor and leave it alone.
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Postby Dan Wolfe » 01/07/09 09:23 AM

As a former Fire Eater (four years with a sideshow), I can second all the motions and concerns listed above.

There is one advantage that most folks wouldn't know. Eating Fire on a regular basis does keep your moustache nicely trimmed.

Dan Wolfe
Smoky Mountain Magic
http://www.SMMagic.com
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Postby mrgoat » 01/07/09 11:26 AM

Ian Kendall wrote:Nope. Not the thing to learn from a book.

Damian - what part of the world is your friend in? You may want to look into a local juggling club.

Take care, ian


He is in London, so could easily get to some of the juggling clubs there. I never thought of the relation between juggling and firebreathing. I'll ask my brother as he is quite a juggler...

Thanks again, and to everyone else who has posted such useful comments.

I do love this forum.
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Postby McKitterick » 01/08/09 09:22 PM

The Surgeon General-designate of the United States makes it look easy enough:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9buzKIjYOg&eurl

DISCLAIMER: This link is provided for informational purposes only ... I am not - repeat, I am not suggesting that anyone should attempt to learn fire breathing techniques by watching youTube videos.

Maybe how to be a human blockhead ... but not how to breathe fire ...
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