Heart of Fire: Episode 1 – Polynesian Warriors
Heart of Fire is a journey into the history of the Polynesian Fireknife also known as the Shiva Afi or tooth of death. Professional fire performer Neal Webb visited the World Fireknife Championships in Hawaii and got closer than he might like to the Polynesian warrior culture.
Host Neal Webb is on a journey to find out what it takes to become a true Polynesian fireknife warrior. The documentary starts by creating fire with traditional Samoan methods then leads into an explanation by Samoan elders ‘Isitolo Oloa’ and ‘Kap Tafiti’ of how important fire is to the Polynesians and the history that surrounds it.
Day 1 of the World Fireknife Championships begins and the Worlds best fireknife warriors take to the stage to express their strength and ability with a fireknife. The judges criteria are explained and the final 16 give everything they have to make it through to the next round. Injuries and burns are common during the competition but no one shows their pain, the adrenaline racing through the arena and their blood is to strong.
Also taking part in the championships are the kids. Neal talks to a parent about what it feels like to watch their little warrior dancing with knives on fire and the dangers they go through for glory and honour.
After an explanation of the history of fire and warriors by ‘Kap Tafiti’ training begins with the worlds best and Neal puts himself through the pain to understand deeper what it takes to become the best fireknife warrior he can be. He is invited to perform his new skills in a Polynesian cultural show in a 5 star resort with World Champion ‘Mikaele Oloa’.
Neal also immerses himself into the Polynesian Cultural Centre, home of the World fireknife championships and meets head judge and first woman fireknife dancer, trains with the Maori warriors to sharpen his knowledge and understanding of Polynesian fighting, visits Tongan musicians, Fijian warriors and watches Hawaiian hula dance.
The final day of the competition and only 3 warriors remain. All 3 warriors give everything they have to become Champion and hold the honour of being the best World Fireknife warrior in the world.
After the competition, Neal talks to the finalists about their experiences about getting to where they are today in the fireknife history books and also reflects on his own journey through the competition.
Neal is searching to understand the history of fire dancing within the Polynesian cultures but what he finds is so much deeper than just a dance.