"That's where we dance with the fire and the knives...at the
same time." -Kap Teotafiti
Originally from the islands of Samoa, the fire knife was used historically
as a weapon. Now a martial art, people come from all around the world
to the annual fire knife world championship held at the Polynesian Cultural
Center in Laie, Hawaii. Chief Sielu Avea was the first ever fire
knife world champion. I saw Chief Sielu perform the fire knife dance only
once by before taking it up.
The dimensions of the fire knife are regulated for competitions.
Doubles are 34 inches in length, and the single knife is 37 inches long.
There actually is a blade on the fire knife, thus its name, as well as a
Chief Sielu, appearing in a promotional photo for the Polynesian
Cultural Center. Notice the tattoos that run up from his knees. This
is the sign of a Samoan chief.
Gavin from Australia, who taught me most of my fire knife
along with Jai Saunders, pictured here performing at a wedding reception.
Gavin competed once in the world championship competition.
Gavin "eating fire." He is attempting to light the
butt end of the knife by transferring flame with his tongue.
My first fire knife dance in Laie, Hawaii.
Spinning on Hukilau Beach.
This is me about to catch a throw. Doesn't it just make you
wanna go out and try it yourself?! Disclaimer: Kids, don't try this at home.
Hukilau Beach again.
I also hold the record for the world's best fire knife burn.
This photo was taken a month after I managed to burn off some
of my favorite skin.
I'm doing a one-handed spin in this pic.
This is me spinning the knife behind my back at the beginning
of a dance before lighting the roll end.
You can tell this is near the beginning of the dance because
the grass at my feet is lit on fire. This happens when you have too much
fuel on the knife, and enough of the gas flies off while spinning the knife
to ignite on the ground.