Monday, July 8, 2013

Fire Good!

So, last weekend, I did this:

My wife, who is awesome, gave me a fire staff for my last birthday. Basically, the fire staff is an aluminum tube with dowel on both sides for weight, rubber wrap in the center and kevlar wick wrapped on both ends. You dip these for a few seconds in ultra-pure lamp oil, spin off the excess into a bucket, light and start going.

This was my very first time spinning a staff that was lit. The weight was a little different, and the fire garnered enough respect that I wasn't very keen on moving or being overly ambitious. I felt like I was going insanely fast as the heat whooshed past my head. The video would seem to indicate otherwise, though as I built confidence it did speed up a little.

The staff is an amazing weapon and teaching tool. Many schools of kung-fu refer to the staff as "the great teacher" and I find a fire staff to be a very strict teacher as well. You will respect the lanes of motion, you will understand how to control the movement and you will learn to be efficient in your movement. Otherwise, you will be punished.

Staff is simply circles repeated at different angles and planes, and stacked on each other.

This is around the body and behind the head and waist. Keeping the staff perpendicular to the ground is very important during this technique. Any little wiggle, and I lose hair.

I have confidence in my lanes of motion because I know where they are going to be. Long exposure photos bear this out as I keep several circles on top of each other:

By practicing the technique thousands of times (sound familiar?) I know where it will be and can rotate my body in relation to the spin and move into figure-eight movements, etc. Spinning in one direction gives me "forward movmenet" and the other direction gives me "reverse movement." The circles don't change much, but my relation to them does constantly.

This, my friends, is what I do for fun. If you're not ready for this sort of commitment, here's another fun idea. Take a pair of nunchaku, and tape a few sparklers to one end. As another July 4th has passed, you should be able to buy tons on the cheap. The downside is that sparklers burn REALLY hot, and they also don't last very long.

Don't be like me, wear eye protection. See those cool trails flying off the path? If one of those hit me in the eye, I would be a sad panda.

Also, watch your handoffs. May want to do those on another day. :)

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