Jun 2, 2010 9:39 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
Preston Weber isn't just allowed to play with fire and knives, he's encouraged to.
The 11-year-old from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is the world champion in his age group for Samoan Fire Knife Dancing. He won the title at a competition in Hawaii on May 13.
So how did a kid from South Florida, with no family ties to Samoan culture, learn fire knife dancing in the first place? Preston picked it up on YouTube.
"After I saw it at a local restaurant, I looked it up on YouTube and just mimicked what they did," he said. And less than a year later, Preston was on YouTube himself, but only after hours of practice in his front-yard.
First with sticks, then with knives, and then after getting it exactly right ten times in a row -- he added fire.
"Everybody thinks we wear lotion or something to keep from getting burned," Preston explained. "But we only put water in our hair, that's it, to keep it from poofing."
Even a world champion messes up sometimes. And Preston's got the scars to prove it.
Dad isn't worried. "He's very coordinated, he's very talented, so I was OK with it," said Doug Weber.