Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been running around covering various Kimbo Slice happenings about town. Last week, David Blaine stopped by Bas Rutten’s gym here in Southern California, to shoot a piece for his Dive of Death special, airing tomorrow, Wednesday night, on ABC. The “trick” is going to be Kimbo Slice punching David Blaine in the stomach and is an homage to Houdini, whom David says is his hero (duh). I say “trick” because I don’t know what kind of trick there is to getting punched in the abdomen besides flexing and hoping for the best. Blaine explains before taping that Houdini died from injuries sustained taking punches to the stomach.
The rather physically fit Blaine claims he chose Kimbo because the fighter is one of the few people he fears. From my observation, it does not seem as if the magician is intimidated in conversation. But faced with Kimbo’s clenched fist before him, Blaine does look visibly nervous. He asks his audience of gym employees and Kimbo’s entourage, “Is this stupid?” Everyone grinned widely back.
I won’t spoil the fun but there’s no illusion involved to this bit. David Blaine simply stands in the middle of the cage, lifts up his shirt to prove he’s not hiding any protective material, and asks Kimbo to punch him. And after? Kimbo is wowed by David Blaine’s resistance to his gut shot. Kimbo’s manager jokingly asks, “Hey, is this going to make Kimbo look weak?” I don’t think so. And I hope after this, Blaine checks in with a doctor.
Following the taping, Blaine volunteers to perform a few small tricks.
Blaine asks if anyone has a quarter — I’m in a room full of guys dressed for training and nowhere near their wallets so I’m the only one with a quarter. I give it to Blaine who then pulls a sharpie out of his pocket and asks Kimbo to autograph the quarter. The magician then places the quarter in my hand, indicating my choice as the trick-doer because I have the weakest and smallest hands among the group. This is true. Blaine explains that this works because of our reflex muscles and then squeezes my wrist as I clench my fist and voila! I open my hand and Kimbo-signed bent quarter is there. Kimbo yells, “No way!” Everyone oohs and aahs. It is awesome to see all these supposedly tough men freak out over a magic trick.
Blaine continues with magic tricks, making all the trainers and fighters smile, deny the illusion, laugh, and accept they’ve been fooled — a welcome break in a hard day of training. The crew were so friendly, they didn’t even mind me taking photos during the whole shoot, including the main shot, so you’ll likely see me in the show, making an ass of myself, snapping wildly.
Check out a few more photos from the shoot here.
The show airs on ABC, September 24th, 9/8c.