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Forums > Social Discussion > Should Children Spin with Fire?

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Hairy Tait
Hairy Tait

member
Location: Back in the Future
Member Since: 24th Aug 2004
Total posts: 109
Posted:I have a Niece who i would like to Introduce POI To....Obviously I'm not going to give her a set of Lighted Fire Poi and say:
"off you go then"
But i just wanted to get some Opinions on whether Minors should or should not use Fire.....
If they have the skill and they are supervised....is it ok......?


It's a very interesting story, Future Boy....!

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roarfire
roarfire

comfortably numb
Location: The countryside
Member Since: 8th Jul 2004
Total posts: 2676
Posted:How 'minor' are you talking about?

Surely it can't be good for their lungs. Not that it's good for ours...but I'm thinking that they might be worse off in the long run if they have been brought up with fumes around them so young? But I don't know


.All things are beautiful if we take the time to look.

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Hairy Tait
Hairy Tait

member
Location: Back in the Future
Member Since: 24th Aug 2004
Total posts: 109
Posted:It wouldn't be for years yet...i.e. until she could confidently spin in control....but for arugments sake...lets say Ten.......??

It's a very interesting story, Future Boy....!

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roarfire
roarfire

comfortably numb
Location: The countryside
Member Since: 8th Jul 2004
Total posts: 2676
Posted:Even if they were confident and could spin well....I don't know if they'd properly understand the true danger of spinning fire.

You know what. I have absolutely no idea. I started spinning when I was 16...I don't have kids....I don't know kids interested in it....so yeah...it's a little out of my area of expertise! smile


.All things are beautiful if we take the time to look.

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Hairy Tait
Hairy Tait

member
Location: Back in the Future
Member Since: 24th Aug 2004
Total posts: 109
Posted:Thanks anyway.....

It was pretty much just a Hypothetical question anyway....


It's a very interesting story, Future Boy....!

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:I think it depends on the kid. If the kid's responsible, a really good spinner and good safety precautions are in use, I don't see why not. On the other hand, it's also prefectly appropriate to say "Nope, not until you're 18."

-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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pineapple pete
pineapple pete

water based
Location: melbourne
Member Since: 20th Sep 2004
Total posts: 5125
Posted:id go with lightnings 1st statement, to wait until she's old responsible, a good spinner and knows her safety is perfectly reasonable. but i feel that to not let her spin until age 18 in unreasonable. would you not let a 17 year old spin?

cheers, pete biggrin


"you know there are no trophys for doing silly things in real life yeah pete?" said ant "you wont get a 'listened to ride of the valkyries all the way to vietnam' trophy"

*proud owner of the very cute fire_spinning_angel, birgit and neon shaolin*

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Icarus
member

Member Since: 30th Sep 2003
Total posts: 165
Posted:I remember reading on this site that childrens lungs are not fully developed untill they are 14? Just repeating info i read. I also think that they may be unable to comprehend the long term effects of fuel...
Does depend on the kid though smile


... simplify ...

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Skulduggery
Skulduggery

Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
Location: Wales
Member Since: 12th Aug 2004
Total posts: 8428
Posted:I would say that 10 is too young to spin fire. The fumes that come off fire poi aren't good for any of us, but at 10 you are still growing and those toxins may do you more damage than if you are adult(?)

Let them spin because spinning is excersie and good for you but just get them nice glow toys to play with instead of fire. Or UV reactive poi and clothes and a nice big black light. Being a poi spinner does not automatically mean you have to be a fire spinner. Some of the really good spinners I've met never seem to spin fire. It just doesn't interest them.


Feed me Chocolate!!! Feed me NOW!

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Konsti
Konsti

lovable smart-ass
Location: vineyards, Vienna, Austria
Member Since: 16th Oct 2003
Total posts: 785
Posted:why not? if the kid knows how to spin confidently without burning themselves, i dont see a problem in letting them spin.

i would make them start with sock poi with paint on them. If they can spin for 10 minutes without painting themselves, they are ready to hit the fire....IMO


"is optimism in austria just a lack of information?"
-Alfred Dorfer

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Anna-pananna
Anna-pananna

Thinking...
Location: Oxford
Member Since: 13th Sep 2003
Total posts: 179
Posted:There are group of about 5 children, aged between 9 and 14 that I have been teaching poi to over the last year or so (I only see them a few times a year, but they seem to practise a lot in between time). Recently, they all begged me to let them have a go with fire, and as they all seemed to be spinning confidently I let them- but under very controlled and supervised conditions. I only allowed them to do the moves they felt completely confident with (someimes this meant just doing weave, and nothing else), and each one only spun for about 20 seconds, just to get a feel of it.

In doing the basic moves I don't see that anything could go terribly wrong, because the flame isn't hot enough to burn unless it has prolonged contact with the skin.

Of course, I also made sure that they were wearing suitable clothes, and did all the dipping and shaking off myself. I also spun the poi a bit to start with until the flames were smaller.

I suppose there is the issue of fumes...but if they don't do it much- if it's just a kind of taster, then I don't think it could do much harm.

I started spinning fire when I was 15. Now at 17 I am still officially a minor- yet I do fire poi 'proffesionaly'...so age isn't always the best indication of whether or not someone can use fire.

Maybe wait until she asks you, wait until you know she personally feels confident enough to use fire, as that's very important.


Practice as if your hair was on fire...

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strugz
strugz

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Southampton - Possibly...
Member Since: 6th Mar 2002
Total posts: 3964
Posted:Personnaly if the kid is confident and more importantly you are confident in the kid i dont see why not - as long as you are there all the time smile

I let a 10 yr old spin fire, hes been practicing with me since i started spinning when he was only 7!

Like Anna said - i burned the staff for a bit to let the flames die down - gave him a hat a long sleeve tshirt and watched him go!

It was agreat feeling for me and him, its nice to watcxh things you have taught and passed on, do put an age limit on it............... just be sure in the person.

Obviously this doesnt go for everyone as you need confidence in them, i know Spud wouldnt spin unless i was there as he is aware of the dangers, some kids though sadly dont get this education.

Be safe either way smile

Oh and have fun! ubbrollsmile


"...We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing......."

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Fine_Rabid_Dog
Internet Hate Machine
Location: They seek him here, they seek ...
Member Since: 26th May 2004
Total posts: 10530
Posted:ubbrollsmile I started preety early.. at 11... span a bit of staff...

if the kid is confident and capable and willing, i say go for it.... but, goes without saying, take all the neccassery saftey precautions... fire blankets etc...

and be reassuring ubbrollsmile


The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."

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flid
flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire
Member Since: 27th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3136
Posted:I've seen kids spin fire, I've also seen kids perform circus acts. If I had a child (which i don't) I'd let him/her spin fire IF they had been practicing for several years and completely competant at the moves. No way otherwise. Same goes for adults actually, you just can't stop a stupid adult who insists they use fire after spinning for only a few hours.

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Trickswop.co.uk
newbie

Member Since: 26th Apr 2005
Total posts: 7
Posted:Well... I agree with the lungs and fumes issues, so when we work with kids we generally have signed consent form adults, (along with all the insurance etc) and give full explanations to all the kids and adults about inherent dangers berore allowing the child to perform thier chosen piece or tricks... but i think our youngest has bee a girl of 6 who was amazing!
the work with 'kids on fire' is usually a part of an annual gathering of kids such as a festival where the kids practice from one year to the next to be able to show off theire skills at this one occasion... i highly recommend that alll the years practice is done without fire.. and when kids beg its a great way to motivate them to get a really good performance together which can be done on fire as a reward on special occasions....

i really think regular fire spinning should be left til 16... ciggarettes etc are legal so i assume the lungs are fully developed by then...


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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:I actually think it's pretty horrible to hear that 7 and 8 year olds are spinning fire.

Then again, parents are so irresponsible in so many other areas, why should I expect them to parent any more when it comes to firespinning?

frown


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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psycho44
psycho44

member

Member Since: 30th Jan 2004
Total posts: 56
Posted:I have six children ages 8, 8, 10, 10,11,and12. They all spin fire. When they use fire their father and I are both right next to them. I won't let them spin lit poi. It is too unpredicable for them. They use fans and staff with fire because of the fixed flame. They do have practice poi and my 12 yr old son is getting pretty good and will probably get to spin fire poi within a year. I don't look at their age to determine whether they use fire or not, but rather their skill. They always have to practice and show me each time. Sometimes I will say no because sometimes they just seem to be off. We all have those days.I feel that I am a good parent. I am very responsible and I know their limits and what they are capable of.We are safe and are teaching them safety also.

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Anna-pananna
Anna-pananna

Thinking...
Location: Oxford
Member Since: 13th Sep 2003
Total posts: 179
Posted:Written by: NYC

I actually think it's pretty horrible to hear that 7 and 8 year olds are spinning fire.




Why?? Perhaps if they're being FORCED to spin fire, and it's a regular occurence, and they're buring themselves to bits, and choking on the fumes...... But if they're using it occasionaly, in a controlled and supervised environment, and ONLY when an experienced fire spinner can see that they are confident enough to deal with it....how is this 'horrible'?? I think it's a shame that we distrust children so much, yes they need more supervision etc.- but they are not half as dangerous as some crazy adult fire spinning drunkards you can come accross! Introducing certain children to fire can really help in the development of their respect and awarenss of it- which even some adults really don't seem to have.


Practice as if your hair was on fire...

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newgabe
newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali
Member Since: 3rd Mar 2005
Total posts: 4030
Posted:Good for you, 44!

I have seen some very good young people spinning... one boy in partiuclar who was about 12 who was as smooth as could be...was so clean and careful... not in any more danger than an adult would be, and very much his choice to be doing it. My son started with fire when he was about 14 and is now a professional. I have a young lad living with me now who is just starting, and is such a fast learner. After 8 years of martial arts he has great coordination and a great sense of his own body and placement. It has been brilliant for him to find spinning.. it's a fascinating physical expression that doesn't involve hurting anyone. Or being hurt.
Plus I am convinced that the right/left brain communication is really helped by juggling/ spinning etc... he has had trouble reading, now his literacy has improved with no apparent effort at all....


.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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polythene
veteran
Location: London/ Surrey
Member Since: 15th May 2003
Total posts: 1359
Posted:I probably wouldn't let any child I was responsible for spin fire. Trust/ skill/ safety common sense would not be factors- I wouldn't expose a child to cigarette smoke or varnish fumes (hooray for DIY!) and consider the principle to be the same with parrafin fumes/smoke. *shrugs*

The optimist claims that we are living in the best of all possible worlds.
The pessimist fears this is true.

Always make time to play in the snow.

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Cody
Cody

That guy from Reno
Location: Reno, Nevada USA
Member Since: 3rd Sep 2003
Total posts: 556
Posted:My youngest pupil was 12 when she started, (Leah, Lightning meet her at burningman, there's a pic in my pictures) Heres how it went.

First she only spun without fire untill she mastered many basic moves.

Second, her mother never left her side and made all the decisions.

Once I felt she was ready we put together a small routine including how to start and stop spinning while on fire.

Then I put them both through rigorus fire safety training. Rigourus means putting out props, performers, and yourself. This builds understanding and fire confidence.

We got her geared up in the proper clothing and she spun with lamp oil because it doesn't transfer.

She had a perfect first burn and had a first rate education in fire.

I understand NYC's concern, but both sides can be argued. I was a gymnast for 8 years starting at 10 years old. I had a Chineese coach who didn't know what pain or fear was. You would cringe to see what I've gone through, but I would not have it any other way. Yes children are fragile and need to be protected, but they need to live too. Many great people started what they are great at doing at a young age. Lea's working isolations now in prep to blow everyone away agin this year at burningman. smile


Cody Canon
Controlled Burn, Reno Nevada

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:I don't agree with it at all. I am a parent. My son has been around spinning and fire his entire life (he is now 10). I have also taught and performed at countless schools and youth activity groups.

First of all for health reasons. It is not healthy for them to be inhaling the fumes and smoke. They are still in developement and it is potentially detrimental.

Second of all, no fire is predictable. I really don't care what tool you put it on. I have seen professionals have accidents doing basic moves with staves or fans just as readily with poi.

Thirdly, in many areas the dept of health and child services does, in fact, view this as a dangerous activity which can effect the health and well being of a child. What this means is that *one* incident and the parent will be under investigation for negligence.

Fourth, they are usually not mature enough to understand fully what it means to use fire, the incredible responsibility it comes with. Alot of adults do not understand it, so I do not expect children to (and for what it is worth, I don't think those adults should spin fire either). I do not feel that overall children are mature enough to handle themselves with a level head in an emergency situation (they get tangled, wrapped or caught up), etc.

Fifth, I refuse to take the health and well-being of another persons child, their love and life, into my hands for something so completely extraneous. There is no need for fire. There is no demand for fire. You can spin without it. It is absolutely unnecessary. Even liability waivers won't protect a teacher in the case of a child injury, or if the child loses control and something else catches on fire, because quite frankly, it is hard to understand the reprocussions of this until you are in it. It isn't like tap or gymnastics where you can break something, and *everyone* knows it. It isn't like when you take a child in the car and you know that you might get into an accident. It isn't a reasonable risk with limitations.

The side effects of fire spinning are quite unlimited really and most people don't even comprehend what kind of damage a 3rd degree burn does. And I can garuntee, that no matter how close you stand, a 3rd degree burn can happen in less time than it takes to help them.
The idea that people find it okay for children is absolutely ridiculous to me, and that others concider it fine to allow children *not* their own is even more absurd.

And lastly, I think it instills the wrong set of principles in the child. They should learn to love the art. The richness of the history. The joy of spinning and not be taught that fire is a goal in it. I feel that for any spinner actually. I think "fire is the primary" is a bastardization of something much more complex and wonderful and that to give kids fire because they want to puts emphasis in the wrong place with the art.

For the person who asked why 18 and what the difference is between 18 and 17. Legalities. At 18, in most places, you are concidered old enough to be held responsible for your actions on your own.

I apprentice people for many of my performance arts, and one of the *major* is that they need to be at least 18 (and generally still they have to sign a waiver).

And I don't compare this to circus, which is completely different and for has specific, legal, guidelines for children to perform.
In circuses children are not asked to inhale noxious fumes which can damage thier lungs and their health permanently (I've spoken with my sons pediatrician about him being around my fire stuff).

I have waaaay too much conviction in my beliefs on this to go any further, and in fact will probably not even check this thread again (I will ask another mod to), because, quite frankly, if I knew that someone was allowing a child to spin fire in my area, I would call the fire marshall on that person and let the law take it from there (and our fire marshall here does not condone that at all...it is part of an agreement that we came to actually). That is how vehemently against it I am.


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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Cody
Cody

That guy from Reno
Location: Reno, Nevada USA
Member Since: 3rd Sep 2003
Total posts: 556
Posted:WOW Pele, I'll respond to whoever mediates this thread for you. You have many good points, but I have a few to argue. I wouldn't write off other sports as comparisons. Fire is fire but it is compareable to other factors parents and children can and cannot choose to be arround. For instance gravity, kids can play it safe and not take gravity related chances, or they can become gymnasts, downhill skiers, or pole vaulters. To be fair you should call child protective services for all these sports.

Having experienced a broken back from gymnastics and a third degree burn from fire arts I feel a little qualified here. The 3rd degree burn was really bad and painfull for a long time, but now all I have is a scar, a big scar, but only cosmetic rammifications. The broken back however constantly plagues me and always will, and then it'll get worse as I age and put me in a wheel chair. For this analogy, gymnastics injuries are much worse than the fire injuries.

This is kind of like the argument Pele and I had a long time ago about fire breathing. She felt it should be abolished and wiped off the planet because it's not safe, I felt it is an art that people should be able to decide whether or not they want to do it. Neither one of is is right or wrong. This decision I feel is up to the parent. If that choice is yes, then I am charged to teach it correctly. I will not report a parent to child protective services for this type of decision. There is as much reason for them to do fire arts as there is to do other sports that are widely accepted as ok as long as both are done right.


Cody Canon
Controlled Burn, Reno Nevada

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MissEgyptology
MissEgyptology

officially expelled from BYU
Location: Southern California
Member Since: 21st Feb 2005
Total posts: 195
Posted:I do have to back Pele up that letting children spin fire is nothing like letting them be in a circus. I was in a circus for eight years and not allowed to touch fire--rather to my dismay, I wanted to juggle it. When I was 16 I got to juggle knives though. Circuses do have some strict legal limitations and have to worry about insurance matters.

"So Miss, I think you win the prize... A mormon egyptologist in a firespinning chat room... that's gotta be a record of some kind"
-NYC

Thanks, NYC,but I quit mormonism now XD

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flamazine
flamazine

journeyman
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 25th Apr 2005
Total posts: 91
Posted:I have been playing with fire for over 30 years, since the age of about 5. I have burnt and inhaled the fumes of all sorts of nasty stuff and seem to be ok so far.

I let my 6 year old handle fire in a safe way under very close supervision so he can understand how fire works and how dangerous it is. I would be quite happy with him spinning fire under my supervision if he takes up spinning and demonstrates a sufficient level of skill.

I would not be responsible for anyone elses child playing with fire in any capacity.

If a child wants to use fire, then it is better to let them and supervise it or they will do it behind your back.

As far a the damage done by the smoke, it won't be as bad as smoking fags. To this end I have promised to give my kids 1000 each if they make it to the age of 21 without taking up smoking.

You have to let kids experience danger, it is part of growing up. Kids hurt themselves doing skateboarding, BMX, football, rugby etc etc. Better they get kicks doing something healthy than smoking drinking and taking drugs!


He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Written by: flamazine

I have been playing with fire for over 30 years, since the age of about 5. I have burnt and inhaled the fumes of all sorts of nasty stuff and seem to be ok so far.



Ug, pet peeve time. This is my least favorite arguement for any topic ever. The "Russian Roulette is safe because I've tried it a few times and haven't died" logic.

I didn't mean to sound too disrespectful in my initial response. I understand parents will argue their right to let their kids spin fire/ride bikes/go hunting/climb mountains/hang out at Michael Jackson's house, and that all will have their own associated risk factors and rewards.

I'm just also CONSTANTLY disappointed with the lack of responsibility that most parents take for their own children.

I think the risk of firespinning is far too great for me to condone it. A child's brain is NOT completely formed yet and there is a ton of brain research to support the fact that a child is not able to make decisions as effectively under stress. (The blood flow to the brain is much more restricted from the logic centers than in an adult.)

Unless you had like five kids and didn't mind losing one or two. wink


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Written by: flamazine

As far a the damage done by the smoke, it won't be as bad as smoking fags.



Do you have any evidence to back this up or is this just one of those 'parental instinct' things. wink


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:[Yes, I'm judgemental about how others treat their kids... It's my 'thing'... don't take me too seriously if it offends anyone. I have no right to judge anyone's personal decisions except as an advocate for children.]

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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flamazine
flamazine

journeyman
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 25th Apr 2005
Total posts: 91
Posted:Written by: NYC

Written by: flamazine

As far a the damage done by the smoke, it won't be as bad as smoking fags.



Do you have any evidence to back this up or is this just one of those 'parental instinct' things. wink



Well, my brother and I grew up at the same time, doing the same things. he took up smoking and I didn't. He has had loads of problems with his chest and I haven't. That is pretty good evidence for me.


He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

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pricklyleaf
pricklyleaf

with added berries
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 7th Mar 2005
Total posts: 1365
Posted:'what is the difference between 17 and 18'.

There can be quite a lot of difference actually. The part of the brain that controls rational behavior develops last, between the ages of 16-18. This is why you can smoke when your 16 (lungs fully developed by then) but not drink (brain not fully developed).

As for the main argument I think it's a very difficult and quite personal issue. I work in an afterschool club with children aged 5-12.

I'm no expect by any means-I'm not a parent, but I can only go by my own limited experience. The way kids brains often seem to work= They see an adult doing something dangerous and impressive= they want to do it to (this is often accompnied with moans of 'why can't I do it', He's doing it, I want to do it, I can do it etc etc!)

My point here being that children probably will always WANT to spin with fire, but they won't understand the full implications of it- quite often adults don't even understand.

I've noticed that often children overestimate their abilities- this alone definately would mean it's unsafe for them to spin with fire. This is all part of growing up and learning who you are.

With even the most experienced poi spinning kid it just takes one mistake, one second. You also have to consider the fact that kids tend to have a lower pain tolerance. And how do you tell an 8 year old they are scared for life? -this might not matter to some, but it does to a lot of people, this could severly knock their self confidence. (you could argue fire increases it but this is an all-too real risk)

When I first read this thread I was thinking, well if the childs good enough, and properlly trained then I supose so, but the more I think about I think no.

I think far too much emphasis is put on spinning fire, there is so much more to poi. I think a great danger of teenagers (and adults!) spinning is that they are doing it just to show off, this is probably the most dangerous of all! I agree all circus skills involve the showing off element, but theres mild showing off and enjoying what you do and theres jack ass showing off.

Anyway, I'm sure I could go on for even longer but I'll shut up now!


Live like there is no tomorrow,
dance like nobody is watching
and hula hoop like wiggling will save the world.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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flamazine
flamazine

journeyman
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 25th Apr 2005
Total posts: 91
Posted:I'm just also CONSTANTLY disappointed with the lack of responsibility that most parents take for their own children.(quote)

I must also point out that while appreciating the freedom my mum gave me to do what the hell I wanted was great, I do keep much closer tabs on my kids, cos I know how close I got to being in pretty big trouble when I was a kid.


He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

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