SAN JOSE -- ...At least 21 people were treated for burn injuries after taking part in the crowning event of the first day of a Tony Robbins function downtown, including at least three who went to the hospital, a San Jose fire captain said.
The people who suffered various second- and third-degree burn injuries were among more than 6,000 who attended the motivational speaker's event at the San Jose Convention Center called "Unleash the Power Within."
After the event, which ended about 11 p.m., the crowd walked across the street to the park, where 12 lanes of hot coals measuring 10 feet long and 2½-feet wide rested on the grass.
Jonathan Correll, 25, decided to check out what was going on when "I heard wails of pain, screams of agony." He said one young woman appeared to be in so much pain "it was horrific."
"It was people seriously hurting, like they were being tortured," he said. "First one person, then a couple minutes later another one, and there was just a line of people walking on that fire. It was just bizarre, man."
Correll, a San Jose City College student, said he saw between 10 and 15 people being treated. He said he videotaped the scene for about 5 minutes before an event staffer told him to put the camera away.
But on a break from day two of the four-day event Friday night, others who walked on the coals said it was nothing short of life-changing.
Henry Guasch, 19, of Mountain View, said that after crossing the coals while chanting his mantra of "Cool moss," he felt powerful.
"Overcoming something like that, it's a breakthrough," he said, adding that he did slow his pace in the middle of the field and got a minor burn.
Guasch and Andrew Brenner, another fire walker, both said that the keys to not getting singed are faith and concentration.
"I did it before, didn't get into the right state and got burned," Brenner said. "I knew I wasn't at my peak state. I didn't take it as serious."
He said his feet blistered after the walk about eight months ago at another Robbins event, but he didn't need medical attention...
...David Willey, a physics instructor at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in Pennsylvania, has published a text and video on the physics of firewalking and stated that it "does not need a particular state of mind."
"Rather, it is the short time of contact and the low thermal capacity and conductivity of the coals that is important," he wrote. He added that ash that builds up on coals can provide further insulation...
...A statement released Friday from Robbins Research International, said, "We have been safely providing this experience for more than three decades, and always under the supervision of medical personnel ... We continue to work with local fire and emergency personnel to ensure this event is always done in the safest way possible."
On the Tony Robbins website, he promotes "The Firewalk Experience," a process where people walk across coals between 1,200 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Firewalking proves a little too hot for some people at a Tony Robbins event
I was surprised to hear that firewalking is still going on; I guess nobody told Tony Robbins that the 1980s are over. As reported by Eric Kurhi and Mark Gomez of the San Jose Mercury News, July 20, 2012 (updated July 22, 2012):