More Questions…


Today’s Gallery Theme: ‘Toughening Up’


Given our role as performers of acrobatics with fakir stuff thrown in, I thought that I should address some more of those ‘readers questions’ which get the answer “We just Do!”, following up the recent post.

‘Why do you let yourselves be crushed between two beds of nails?’

‘Why do you lie in broken glass and let your colleagues smash concrete blocks on you?’

‘Why do you lie there [or in a ‘bridge’ position] and let others drop pointed knives on to your stomach?’

I agree that there are more conventional ways to earn a few dollars, but it is what we have done for more than 15 years alongside our acrobatics (and, indeed, combined with it), and now joined by four 14yo kids, so the questions are reasonable. Yes, it is quite uncomfortable, especially when your son encourages even more people to stand on top than you were bargaining for! But these feats are actually relatively harmless so long as you do the right training and understand what you are doing: the human body is a remarkable construction: hard muscle covered by highly elastic and strong skin can resist surprising local loads. Divide your weight by the number of nails in contact, for example and you can figure out that the load on each individual nail is pretty low.

bar curl b&w

The willingness of our female members to torment themselves with fire needs an understanding of the difference between heat and temperature. Minimise the heat transfer while making it look good – so they love toasting our feet when they stick out over the end of the nail beds! They did used to do something far more serious – hanging with their weight supported on hooks pushed through the flesh. Very rare now, and they have the scars to prove it. That one hurts enough to numb the pain out, if you see what I mean. Dave and I did it once in a fairly minimal way: never again!

These days, our toughening up is confined to weight training!

bicep curl big red

So here we are in mid PA, teaching innocent kids to do simple acrobatics and “feats of strength” whilst showing off ourselves a bit – and a proper ‘show’ planned for Friday evening before we leave. And, thanks to the jungle telegraph, we suddenly have a gig in town (State College) for Thursday night as a late substitute for some other cabaret act to entertain some conference delegates. Not a great fee when split between ten of us (and our roadie Chet) but, as the supermarket chain Tesco says back home in UK – ‘Every Little Helps!’

curly bar

So our week at summer camp #3 has turned out to be rather a busy one – but very enjoyable, and a return visit to summer camp #1 to look forward to in a week or so, along with Leo’s acrobatic and weights mate Ollie over from UK.

The first part...The second part...Cover 3 ThumbYou can read all about our activities (with added ‘gayness’!) here (just click on the covers).


And now, more images of great guys ‘toughening up’ to entertain you.


quad machine

tough up










outdoor kettlebell lift

Something about that final pic – a real star and an inspiration!


About tony

Born Northampton UK
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