Are you convinced that sword swallowing is an art and not a trick?

Use this forum to discuss the May 2018 Book of the Month, "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson
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kfwilson6
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Re: Are you convinced that sword swallowing is an art and not a trick?

Post by kfwilson6 » 12 May 2018, 22:09

bootsie0126+ wrote:
09 May 2018, 09:10
sophiemer642 wrote:
07 May 2018, 14:32
I believe that sword swallowing is indeed a trick. Lets analyze this. If sword swallowing was actually real, a sharp blade would be going down someones throat. Swords should be sharp enough to cut the esophagus, so that raises questions. Also, sword swallowers usually "swallow" long swords, so how does it not bump into organs such as the lungs or the heart? How does it not bump against the ribcage? I doubt years of practice could actually cause a human to be able to accomplish this. I believe human beings can accomplish very great things, but sword swallowing?? No.
Hi,
Although, I respect your opinion regarding sword swallowing, it is true that some people have mastered the art of sword swallowing. Lets analyze your responses. the process of swallowing food or water is the same for swallowing a sword or any other foreign object. Children have accidentally swallowed coins and other items which can scratch, cuts or otherwise damage the throat, esophagus and major organs inside the body. The difference is the process of swallowing food starts with the voluntary action of using muscles to start the swallowing process. This process help food and other items travel through the esophagus into the stomach. This process is automatic and does not cause a person to gag with swallowing food. However the skill of swallowing a sword or other sharp items is learning how to control reflex (gaging) when you swallow something that does not voluntarily start the swallowing process. So a sword swallower must first learn to control gagging reflexes, the head is tilted back to relax throat muscles and straighten out the lining of the throat. Once relaxation is mastered, the movement of the sword safely down the esophagus can occur.

Your second point: the ability to swallow a sword without injuring vital organs can be done with practice over many years. Once the sword starts to travel down the esophagus, I have been told by my friend who can swallow swords, as the sword nears the heart, he could actually feel the pulsing beat on the sword. He is able to gently move the position which allows him to pass the heart and lungs.

I was showed an authentic x-ray of his throat and stomach with the sword inside.
Very enlightening. I'm so glad you shared that. I think it's hard to believe for so many of us being able to even overcome the impulse to gag or swallow.

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kfwilson6
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Post by kfwilson6 » 12 May 2018, 22:14

Mildred Tabitha wrote:
11 May 2018, 07:15
I still do think it is a trick. Learning to swallow a sword can be easy if practiced with a less harmful blunt object. I feel Duke had his own tricks because we see him sweating while performing the activity. It is not an art, it's a trick.
I think it would have been helpful and interesting to know more about the progression of Duke's training. He was told to keep sticking his finger in his throat until he didn't gag any more and I was curious throughout the book about what came next.

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Post by bootsie0126+ » 12 May 2018, 22:17

kfwilson6 wrote:
12 May 2018, 22:09
bootsie0126+ wrote:
09 May 2018, 09:10
sophiemer642 wrote:
07 May 2018, 14:32
I believe that sword swallowing is indeed a trick. Lets analyze this. If sword swallowing was actually real, a sharp blade would be going down someones throat. Swords should be sharp enough to cut the esophagus, so that raises questions. Also, sword swallowers usually "swallow" long swords, so how does it not bump into organs such as the lungs or the heart? How does it not bump against the ribcage? I doubt years of practice could actually cause a human to be able to accomplish this. I believe human beings can accomplish very great things, but sword swallowing?? No.
Hi,
Although, I respect your opinion regarding sword swallowing, it is true that some people have mastered the art of sword swallowing. Lets analyze your responses. the process of swallowing food or water is the same for swallowing a sword or any other foreign object. Children have accidentally swallowed coins and other items which can scratch, cuts or otherwise damage the throat, esophagus and major organs inside the body. The difference is the process of swallowing food starts with the voluntary action of using muscles to start the swallowing process. This process help food and other items travel through the esophagus into the stomach. This process is automatic and does not cause a person to gag with swallowing food. However the skill of swallowing a sword or other sharp items is learning how to control reflex (gaging) when you swallow something that does not voluntarily start the swallowing process. So a sword swallower must first learn to control gagging reflexes, the head is tilted back to relax throat muscles and straighten out the lining of the throat. Once relaxation is mastered, the movement of the sword safely down the esophagus can occur.

Your second point: the ability to swallow a sword without injuring vital organs can be done with practice over many years. Once the sword starts to travel down the esophagus, I have been told by my friend who can swallow swords, as the sword nears the heart, he could actually feel the pulsing beat on the sword. He is able to gently move the position which allows him to pass the heart and lungs.

I was showed an authentic x-ray of his throat and stomach with the sword inside.
Very enlightening. I'm so glad you shared that. I think it's hard to believe for so many of us being able to even overcome the impulse to gag or swallow.
I know exactly what you mean. I find it sometimes impossible to swallow pain mediation. It is hard to get the pill to go down and many times gag trying. It is a natural reflex to swallow or even touch the back part of your throat without a gag reaction.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 12 May 2018, 22:19

Jax14 wrote:
10 May 2018, 01:32
I definitely believe that there is no trick involved in the genuine displays of this art. I'm sure there are those looking to earn a quick buck, but those dedicated to the "old-time" profession do align with a strict code. I have seen a number of documentaries on how they teach people to do this, and it involves learning to suppress your gag reflex and starting on smaller knives before moving onto larger swords. If you look at the swords they are slim and can fit onto each other with the total size being equivalent to a "normal" sword I guess. Personally, it makes me queasy to watch it, but the hours of practice it must take to thrill an audience is commendable. As humans, I think we have the tendency to call things tricks that we don't fully understand. I have some friends who are fire jugglers and had to learn how to do an entire routine with the gas in their mouths without accidentally swallowing it before being able to use it in a trick, so lots of things are possible with a gag reflex.
Thanks so much for this information. I don't think I could watch any of that. It is fascinating to read about it though. I'm glad there are a few people on this thread who have true insights rather than guesses and opinions.

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Post by franzcake » 13 May 2018, 07:06

it's more of a trick than art, there is no way someone can swallow a sword, i think its a magic trick 😂

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Post by Adediran_Dee » 13 May 2018, 10:31

I still believe it's a trick. I have seen blades and fire being swallowed but am yet to hear of swords. If that is so, it's also a gimmick. All these are ways of entertaining and amazing people. Although, you might consider this an art but i am stuck to the fact that it's not real...this is dangerous.

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Post by Misael » 13 May 2018, 19:21

Unless the swallower can immediately show a scanner showing the shadow or image of a sword inside his throat and esophagus, I hold on to my opinion that sword swallowing is an ARTFUL TRICK.

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Post by Sakilunamermaid » 14 May 2018, 18:12

I remember seeing on the docu-series Freakshow that one performer taught another the first steps to learning how to swallow swords. Sword swallowing is actually very dangerous due to the swords proximity to the heart, lungs, stomach and esophagus. He had her start by using a wire hanger at first, to get rid of her gag reflex before upgrading to a small sword. Most acts preformed at circuses and freakshows are taught/ learned. There is certainly a right and wrong way to preform these dangerous and thrilling acts. There is a subtle art and expertise needed to safely swallow a sword.

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Post by shidawn » 15 May 2018, 10:30

I'm a bit torn. I think there must be some sort of trickery involved in swallowing swords. In my head, it doesn't seem logically possible to swallow swords, especially when it comes to multiple swords. With that being said, though, I do think that there must be some sort of skill involved.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 16 May 2018, 08:08

Adediran_Dee wrote:
13 May 2018, 10:31
I still believe it's a trick. I have seen blades and fire being swallowed but am yet to hear of swords. If that is so, it's also a gimmick. All these are ways of entertaining and amazing people. Although, you might consider this an art but i am stuck to the fact that it's not real...this is dangerous.
When I read the descriptions of how this is done I was a little bit more convinced. It made me think about intubation and how doctors are able to get a tube all the way down the throat. If you look at an image of this where you get an interior view of the throat, it seems more plausible, especially if the blade is short. Try looking at it from a more scientific point of view looking where certain things are internally and where the blade could actually go if someone could overcome the gag reflex. Just like with intubation, the head would have to be at the appropriate angle to allow for the throat to be properly open.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 16 May 2018, 08:12

Sakilunamermaid wrote:
14 May 2018, 18:12
I remember seeing on the docu-series Freakshow that one performer taught another the first steps to learning how to swallow swords. Sword swallowing is actually very dangerous due to the swords proximity to the heart, lungs, stomach and esophagus. He had her start by using a wire hanger at first, to get rid of her gag reflex before upgrading to a small sword. Most acts preformed at circuses and freakshows are taught/ learned. There is certainly a right and wrong way to preform these dangerous and thrilling acts. There is a subtle art and expertise needed to safely swallow a sword.
Part of what is so amazing to me, since I do buy into it being something that is actually done, is the training part of it. Any time you learn something new you are bound to make mistakes. But in this case you have to learn without making those mistakes. It is so risky. I'm glad you shared this, because, although thinking about people putting things down their throat makes me want to gag, I was curious what Duke's progression was that started with putting his finger in his throat to over come the gag reflex and ending with the swords.

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Post by dtb » 16 May 2018, 09:07

Humans never ceases to amaze me. We do so many weird things.

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Post by PaigeA » 16 May 2018, 10:20

I never thought about this before. I always just assumed it was a trick

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Post by Katherine Smith » 17 May 2018, 18:03

I think that sword swallowing is both an art and a trick. You have to be skilled in order to prevent yourself from becoming seriously injured or killed. Yet, you have to convince the audience that this is a magic trick that no one else can do. You need to build up the suspense and make it so that your guests will be amazed.
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Post by chipmunck » 18 May 2018, 12:55

I got the impression that what Duke was doing was real. It was a skill he was displaying. Real swords that he was swallowing, especially later on in the book when he actually gets hurt by them.

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