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Forums > Social Discussion > Spinning and fire breathing

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:This thread :-



http://www.homeofpoi.com/ubbthreads/show...part=1&vc=1
br>


covers the dangers of fire breathing very well, and has links to other useful stuff like Peles 'A season in Hell'



One of the latest replies details an incident where fire breathing was taught to complete beginners, some of whom where drunk.



I've also heard of this happening where I am, and I'm sure it will continue to increase.



There have now been many nasty accidents involving fire breathing, some causing death and some involving children.



Fortunately, the facts about the dangers have been well discussed here and we are now aware of the toxic properties of fuel, the fact that serious accidents happen even to the most experienced performers etc.



However, none of this is well known to the general public who are prone take the word of those who claim it's safe if done properly.



In this thread I'd like to focus on one simple and clearly put question: -



Should spinners, as a community, disassociate themselves from fire breathing, and, where possible, endeavour to spread awareness about its dangers and basically do their best to discourage it?



Practical examples could be-



when asked to spin at events ask the organisers if they're going to allow fire breathing and, if they are, refuse to spin, or at least inform them of the safety issues and point them to the above thread.



if organising a gathering make it known that fire breathing isn't welcome.



i.e. not just the kind of education that is already ongoing and spreading the word amongst experienced spinners, but informing those who are most at risk (the non fire community).



I'd be good if we don't get distracted by the side issues- 'it's down to individuals to choose...', or 'nothing in this world is 100% safe...' etc, if only because they've been well discussed in other threads.



"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Quote:


Safety is a complex issue and I'm fed up with bureaucrats taking the simplistic approach, like put on a helmet and this solves all the safety problems.




I agree fully, bureaucrats and officials generally are not in a position to realistically assess safety issues in fire spinning/breathing.

We, as experienced spinners, are.

One thing to reflect on is that we are in danger of having regulations forced on us by bureaucrats in the near future, due to bad publicity arising from fire breathing fatalities, particularly when these involve under age people.

By the way, cheers for that helmet link, it will be of great interest to some of the people on unicyclist.com and I'll pass it on.





"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Tao Star


Tao Star

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 1662
Posted:although you said you weren't for a ban, the idea of completely vetoing all firebreathing would have practically the same effect.

i think there is a line to draw here too - some people are professional/very experienced firebreathers who are comletely aware of the risks they are taking and have had a lot of practice. Instead of booing these people, we just need to make clear that it is not acceptable to firebreath without the right experience in a public place. I certainly don't think that making even the experienced firebreathers feel unwelcome and dangerous is the right answer.



I had a dream that my friend had a
strong-bad pop up book,
it was the book of my dreams.

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Quote:

i think there is a line to draw here too - some people are professional/very experienced firebreathers who are comletely aware of the risks they are taking and have had a lot of practice. Instead of booing these people, we just need to make clear that it is not acceptable to firebreath without the right experience in a public place. I certainly don't think that making even the experienced firebreathers feel unwelcome and dangerous is the right answer.




Which is why I have specifically, and on several occasions, made it clear that I'm not refering to professional fire breathers.

Also, only a very few posts back I withdrew my comment that advocated booing and admitted that I was wrong to post it.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

MiG
GOLD Member since Apr 2004

MiG

Self-Flagellation Expert
Location: Bogged at CG, Australia

Total posts: 3415
Posted:well, a couple more points here:

the first is a reference back to the helmet link. I used to race BMX (pushbikes, not moto-cross), and i recall one particular crash that made me never want to race without a full face helmet. This was back in the day when open faced helmets, wtill with the side bits, however, were popular. anyways, i got nudged off a jump in one race at a race meet, and ended up hitting a tree, straight on, at about 30-40k's an hour. the force of this crash was enough to crack part of the metal tubing of the bike, not the weld, the tubing itself, and had i not been wearing a full face helmet, i doubt i'd have full use of my face ever again, and there is a definite possibility that i wouldnt be here. So, im all for full face helmets.

Anyway, back onto the spinning/breathing issue:

Do i take this - Quote:
Which is why I have specifically, and on several occasions, made it clear that I'm not refering to professional fire breathers.

as meaning that you are ok with professional firebreathers doing their breathes at meets?

How does one get to be a professional fire-breather? (I'll take professional to be really good, rather than mean the sole/major source of income)
The same way one gets to be professional at anything. practice, and lots of it. Isnt it better, then, for someone to practice breathing at a place where there are plenty of people around, just in case something does go wrong? Say you tell somone that you dsont want drunken breathers at your meet, and so they leave, and go breathe somewhere else, where there are not as many, if any at all, people around to help/drive to a hospital if necessary. Would it not have been better for that person to at least have someone that's aware of the risks, and the repairs, around?

Education is certainly the answer. banning, shunning, asking people to leave, that wont do anything - look at prohibition. People still drank, and likewise, if you dont want people breathing at your meets, then they'll breathe elsewhere.

I will, however, say that it should be peoples own choice to breathe at meets. If you dont like it, then go discuss it with the breather(s) in question. Honestly, telling someone not to do something because it's dangerous wont work in the slightest. Look at all the sports around- race car driving, downhill mountain biking, street luge, bungee jumping, skydiving. its all dangerous, an accident could occur, you could die. people still drive cars at well over 200 km/h, in the name of sport.

Should we try to tell people not to be soldiers, because they could die? What would world war 1 have ended up like in that case? (not much of a comparison, but meh)

It sounds almost like you're saying that you dont like breathers upstaging you, in one of the posts up there. cant remember which one, but its in there somewhere. Thats probably not the case, but it sounds like it.

There was a lot more that i was going to write, but i cant think of it at this point in time. Im going to go to bed nad sleep on it.

In a simple response to your original question, no. i dont think we should dissasociate ourselves from breathers. imagine a circus if all the other performers dissasociated themselves from the trapeze artists, because it was dangerous. or if they all spurned the clowns, cos they had small hands and smelt like cabbage. That, and we cant say to someone 'no, i dont want you to spit fuel in the air, but im gonna go stick a flaming torch in my mouth, because its less likely that i'll hurt myself.' well, you can, but oyu know what i mean.

Oh, and how would you feel, if you went to a meet of fire staffers, and started to spin poi (or vice versa), and they told you to bugger off, or started to tell you about the dangers of your chosen toys?


"beg beg grovel beg grovel"
"master"
--FSA

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"
--Rougie

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:OWD, I want to say that I really respect the place of caring that you are coming from. I think we all do. And we understand what you are saying about not wanting to ban it, or regulate it, but in truth, that really is what you are discussing at the core...and truth be told, I am not against regulation to a certain degree either.

I think there are definately lines that can be drawn. I agree with you there. There is a point where safety is compromised. Mike's infection example really didn't sit well with me. If he had have mentioned that not all of the fuel is actually burned and that there is fuel in the smoke we inhale whilst spinning, and that can cause respiratory issues, then I might have been more inclined to go along with it. wink However, death by poi has not happened but it has by fire breathing, and so there is a line drawn there. Just like with drinking. There is a point where it impares your judgement so at that blood alcohol level things become regulated, despite whether or not we feel in control. With driving there are roads that are labelled as unsafe for certain speeds. Sure we feel we are good drivers at higher speeds but sometimes the roads are not conducive to that.

Does that mean we have the right to put others at risk because we feel we can cross that line? Or is how far we cross the line and deal with the consequences a personal choice? I am still out on this myself, knowing how my decisions effected everyone else in my life.

When I say professional, I mean someone who meets the following criteria:

1. Has at least 300+hours of training and research, within a 6 month period
2. Follows a strict safety regime, preferrably approved by a local authority
3. Has at least one person who is a trained safety that works with him/her
4. Conducts themselves in a responsible, ethical and respectable manner
on and off the stage
5. Makes at least a part-time monetary living at their art


When I had my accident, I had all of that, and then some.

The 14 year old who died last year was tutored by a "professional".

Two months ago when I was consulting a troupe their "professional" fire breather (who was also trained by another "professional") was beyond dangerous and appalling with the fire breathing. He had no control over the fire or himself. He spat fuel on the audience because his aspiration was so poor and nearly fell on his arse trying to be showy. He didn't pay any attention to the audience and aimed straight at us, on more than one occassion.

One "professional" fire breather I know does a show 8 times a week in a club without a safety and where the fire marshal has already forbidden it strictly. He has someone looking out for the fire marshal but not for him.

I have seen "professionals" teach people to make torches that come unwound..one happened when it was in a mouth. Thank goodness it was a practice session.

I have known "professionals" to forget essentials and set themselves or something else on fire.

I have seen "professionals" shake off their torches on the edge of a stage...over the audience.

And I have seen novice fire players (note: not breathers) do alot worse, as I mentioned before. I am sure the spinner from a few years ago who suffered 3rd degree burns over more than 70% of his body because he thought he was being safe by layering dry clothes over wet ones would like to regulate all spinning now. He didn't die, but he came close, and where were the experienced people at the meet telling him he shouldn't do fire poi? Maybe over focussing on the breathers?

So someone needs to tell me again...where is that line and why does it make a difference? Professional/novice? Sure, some of the arts are proven to be more deadly, however, sometimes living through an injury is alot harder than dieing, and fire is fire, and anyone can be hurt using it.

If you are going to talk to one, talk to them all.
As for my opinion, I am still of the opinion that educating your audience and those wanting to hear it is worth alot more than attempting to educate those who don't want it or didn't ask for it.

Please don't take any of this thread personally Dave. We all understand that you are trying to protect people and have the best interest of the community at large in mind, and I am sure I speak for all when I say that we really appreciate that about you.
hug
Pele



Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Quote:


Do i take this - Quote:
Which is why I have specifically, and on several occasions, made it clear that I'm not refering to professional fire breathers.

as meaning that you are ok with professional firebreathers doing their breathes at meets?Like I said I'm not talking about professionals, I do have an opinion on that but I'm not going to discuss it on this thread because I really do feel the need to keep the number of issues at a level that I can actually respond.




As some of you have obviously percieved (cheers Pele for your understanding comments) I'm feeling very much on my own on this thread.

Whilst my continual requests to keep very tightly on topic may be annoying, the fact is that I can only keep track of a certain number of points.

So. I'm not going to say what I think about professional fire breathers at fire meets, it's not something I've ever seen over here and don't really expect to.

Quote:

Isnt it better, then, for someone to practice breathing at a place where there are plenty of people around, just in case something does go wrong? Say you tell somone that you dsont want drunken breathers at your meet, and so they leave, and go breathe somewhere else, where there are not as many, if any at all, people around to help/drive to a hospital if necessary. Would it not have been better for that person to at least have someone that's aware of the risks, and the repairs, around?


I see what you're saying, and, again, I don't feel that there's much point me expressing an opinion here; it's something I'm going to have to think about.

I will say, using a rather contrived example of me spinning with a friend, if someone came up and wanted to join us and practice a fire breath, I would explain the dangers and, if despite that they wanted to proceed, I'd ask them to leave. If they refused I would leave.

I realise that there is an issue here, that it's not cut and dried, and I would feel guilty.


However, in the example you give, of a drunk fire breather- I'm not going to lose any sleep. Anyone who gets drunk and fire breathes on a regular basis is probably as good as dead anyway. Also, there's the message it gives to bystanders, young spinners etc. Drunk fire breathing is, to me, not acceptable.


Quote:

Oh, and how would you feel, if you went to a meet of fire staffers, and started to spin poi (or vice versa), and they told you to bugger off, or started to tell you about the dangers of your chosen toys?



In the past I used to do a lot of busking with fire juggling.

Recently, for old times sake I went into the city center with my clubs and paraffin and started to juggle.

Times have changed, we've now got city center marshalls, and, within 20 minutes they appeared with the 'Sorry Sir, you can't do that here...'.

I was OK with it, I explained that I was experienced and safe, they explained that it didn't make any difference, that it was council policy etc.

No problem, much as I know that I'm no danger to passers by, the fact remains that others could well be (I know this because,looking back years ago to the first few times I did it, although I didn't realise, I was a danger).

If I went to a meeting of fire staffers and they asked me to leave on the grounds that fire poi are dangerous, my first reaction would be to ask why they thought that. My second would be to offer to demonstrate my spinning and show why it isn't dangerous.

If, after that they don't want me around then I'd go and spin somewhere else- I don't want to attend a group where I'm not welcome.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Quote:
OWD, I want to say that I really respect the place of caring that you are coming from. I think we all do. And we understand what you are saying about not wanting to ban it, or regulate it, but in truth, that really is what you are discussing at the core...and truth be told, I am not against regulation to a certain degree either.

........Just like with drinking. There is a point where it impares your judgement so at that blood alcohol level things become regulated, despite whether or not we feel in control. With driving there are roads that are labelled as unsafe for certain speeds. Sure we feel we are good drivers at higher speeds but sometimes the roads are not conducive to that.




Pele, like I said in my reply to MiG, thanks for expressing understanding of what I'm trying to say here.

I still maintain I'm not talking about a 'ban', but perhaps there is an element of 'regulation' in what I'm saying i.e. in some situations, members of the fire community take control of aspects and practices that they don't approve of.

I think that this thread has got very complex and there's a fair bit of confusion, it would be useful for me if perhaps a few of you would say to what extent they would be themselves comfortable at intervening in.

i.e.

Presumably, if, at a fire meet, a drunk started instructing passing children in fire breathing, the vast majority would intervene?

Whereas, if it's a competent, sober fire breather who is simply practising his/her art and not endangering anyone else, intervention would not be appropriate.

Between those two extremes, where do you draw the line?

I'm asking so I can get some idea of what exactly we're disagreeing on here.








"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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