Posts Tagged ‘Kyukpa’

John Nottingham’s Fire Brick Break Attempt for the USA Martial Arts Breakathon Demo in Glendale Arizona

January 28, 2010

25 Fire Brick Breaking Attempt by John Nottingham of USA Martial Arts Phoenix Arizona

Fire Break Posted on Youtube at thanks to Anthony Miles at

Several years ago my USA Martial Arts Arizona team and I were looking for ways to attract positive media attention for our annual USA Martial Arts charity breakathon. We wanted something newsworthy that the local press in Arizona would be interested in covering. Each year we do a breakathon, breaking sponsored boards and bricks with proceeds going to charities like the Break The Chain of Child Abuse Foundation. http://Breakathon.comIt started off as a bright idea and turned out to be something else.

“Set yourself on fire and others will gather to watch you burn.”
I have been known for my enthusiasm but was this idea half baked?
We came up with a the idea that I would revisit my brick break. For sensationalism and an element of danger to set it apart from other breaks, it would be set the stack of bricks on fire. Great, risking myself as a S’more. I sure hope the press showed up and it helped us hit our donation goal. If I had only known.

The breakathon went well and everyone was generous. It came time for the grand finale. We set up the 25 bricks, 10 as two stacks of 5 in the back, then the stack of 15 in the front. This was the biggest break I had ever personally attempted, my record being 12 bricks years earlier at a then 155lbs.

You would think than a former Airborne Paratrooper would be sharp enough to check wind conditions. Oops. Two cans of accelerant and several “Don’t try this at home” fire safety warnings to the audience later, we had ignition.

212, 220, 250F

“Wooovf”, gotta love that sound. I heard the audience make a collective “oooh” sound, apparently surprised at the intensity of the heat and enormity of flames. It was already a blistering summer 118 degree Arizona day before the fire. Then it grew quiet.The wind blew the intensely hot flames directly at me. Never had I used so much fuel. I then had to make a decision to press on or bail out. I decided to let the flames die down a bit. Unfortunately the extra time meant it burned hotter and heated up the bricks.

Bust out the marshmallows, I wasn’t going to let anyone down.

The first 10, set in two stacks of five bricks went well. Adrenaline and training took care of that part. I took a moment to gain my footing and prepare for the 15. I wanted to jump in and get out as quickly as possible to reduce my exposure to the intense heat and hopefully, prevent my hair or clothing from catching fire. Turning myself into a crispy critter wasn’t what I had in mind for positive media exposure for the breakathon.

As soon as I was in the air I knew I should have had a platform from which to jump. I just didnt have enough height or weight to drill through all of them. I could feel the energy return to my body from when the break stopped. I took mental note of my arm to feel if anything was on fire, broken or dislocated. All systems go.

Kicking off the top broken brick pieces I then hit the remaining 5 to finish it. I was a bit disappointed in myself for not getting all the way through them on the first try. I put that emotion into the last hit and got a clean break.

“Stop, drop and roll.”
Students came up to me after the break amidst the applause. I assumed they were going to congratulate me or show concern for my safety. Ha! Instead one held out a camera and was taking a picture of my singed hair, missing eyebrow and eyelashes. I couldn’t help but chuckle. Maybe I’ll post those photos in the future if readers have such an interest.

Note to self… don’t use hair gel to spike hair if planning to stick face near open flames.

In the end Mom was right when she said, “Don’t play with fire”. Despite promises, the press never showed but thanks to my friend Anthony Miles at he captured it on video. However, it turned out positive in that it was one of our highest fund raising years for charity. Thanks Arizona.

Author’s Bio


John Nottingham is a recognized expert in personal protection, author, consultant, speaker and a founder of Nottingham Sword and Shield; Security, Scottsdale Bodyguards and the USA Martial Arts national chain of schools. He resides in Scottsdale Arizona and provides professional consultation and training, products, and services related to self-defense, personal security, and physical conditioning. He has trained in martial arts for over 25 years including Taekwondo (6th Degree Black Belt Hall of Fame Master), Tang Soo Do, MooDukKwan, Hapkido/Hwarang Do, Jujitsu, Aikido, Filipino Martial Arts/Arnis, PFS Jeet Kune Do Concepts, Kickboxing, Kyusho-Jitsu, Krav Maga, Wushu Kung Fu, Shamrock Submission Fighting, and weaponry. He developed his own integrative MMA or mixed martial arts curriculum designed for the average person to use for self defense and a healthy lifestyle.

Master Nottingham also served honorably in a USAR Military Intelligence Det. of a Special Forces (Airborne) unit where he developed a unique hand to hand combat course. He is currently hosting lifestyle and wellness events to train companies and individuals how to increase performance, improve health and vitality for an improved lifestyle. An award-winning instructor, he is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer, boxing and Yoga teacher. He is a proud board member of the Break The Chain Foundation Children’s Charity.

For more info see: http://AskTheMartialArtsMaster.comScottsdale:
Security and Executive Protection: Self Defense Seminars Speaking and Instruction:http://ScottsdaleSelfDefense.comPhoenix, Glendale, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Mesa: Antioch, Illinois, Salem/Paddock Lake Wisconsin
Scottsdale Academy. Serving: Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Cave Creek, DC Ranch, Grayhawk, McDowell Mountain Ranch, Troon, The Village, Silverleaf, North Scottsdale Neighborhood. Zip codes: 85260, 85262, 85259, 85255, 85254, 85250 Tel. 480.443.0088
Member: Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, North Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, Scottsdale Airpark Rotary, NAPMA, MAIA, MATA and more Photos courtesy of Anthony Miles and USA Martial Arts Arizona students.

Tags: ArizonaBlack BeltBoard BreakingBreaking missBrick BreakingCave CreekCharity BreakathonFailFireFitness,GlendaleHow to breakHow to break a brickJohn Nottingham,KarateKickboxingKung FuKyukpaMartial ArtsMaster NottinghamParadise ValleyPhoenixScottsdaleTaekwondo,Tamashiwara