This is our first interview in the Sparks: Wisdom for Firewalk Instructors series. We ask Firewalk Instructors and Facilitators the most important questions. We dig deep to find out what Sparks them and how they keep the Fire Burning.
This week we are speaking with James Hunt from Firewalking England. James is an International Firewalk Master who has trained with Peggy Dylan, Charles Horton, Tolly Burkan, Steve Consalvez, Kevin Axtel, Rolf and Owsa Beckman, Paul McKenna, John LaValle and Dr Richard Bandler.
James completed his first Firewalk in 2006 at a Tony Robbins, Unleash the Power Within event. Bitten by the Firewalking bug he volunteered as a crew member at other UPW Events, where he assisted and supported thousands of individuals on their Firewalks.
In 2010 James participated in the UK’s first ever Firewalking Instructor Training course held in the East of England. Here he was trained by Charles Horton and Steve Consalvez and became a Certified Instructor under the Firewalking Institute of Research and Education.
Having found the training so impactful and life changing, James was invited back to support Charles and Steve at further UK FIT’s. He continued to support and work alongside Steve Consalvez for several years. James worked on about 6 Firewalking Instructor Training courses and numerous Firewalking Events.
During December 2014 James travelled to California and trained with Tolly Burkan and Kevin Axtell becoming a Master Firewalk Instructor. During this time, he was also lucky enough to be trained by Peggy Dylan.
In March 2015 James returned to California where he spent a month living with Tolly Burkan. Spending much time working alongside Kevin Axtell. He was fortunate during this stay to spend time with Rolf and Owsa Beckman and participate in a week’s training delivered by Tolly, Rolf and Owsa. He also had the privilege of connecting with many Firewalk Instructors from around the globe; including Stephen Brown from Firewalking International.
During the last two years James has faced several health challenges. But he has still managed to make several trips to Ireland to work as part of the Firewalking International Team, delivering what he believes to be “the most professional and impactful training course anywhere on this planet” – Firewalk Instructor Training.
What is the one skill you think every Firewalk Instructor needs to apply?
I believe that the ability to “Pay Attention”, is a fundamental skill that every Firewalk Instructor needs to apply. Starting with the preparation. Ensure the venue is suitable and you have all the necessary tools and equipment for the event. Pay attention to timings. To your team. The environment. To the delegates. You client. And of course, to yourself. Do this and you will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience is had by all.
What has been your most challenging moment as a Firewalk Instructor?
Arriving in a city center. Hundreds of miles from home. Only to discover that the water source, which had been promised, was not available. With 50 plus expectant firewalkers and hundreds of spectators eagerly awaiting the fire to be lit, this was quite stressful.
It was tough to find potential solutions whilst avoiding being coerced into lighting. I was prepared to postpone the event until I was satisfied the Firewalk could safely take place in such a built-up area. It was touch and go whether the event would proceed, I stood by my beliefs and training, and eventually the council arrived. They unlocked a building providing us with the necessary water source, and I was happy to proceed with the lighting of the fire.
What drew you to this line of work and what keeps you practicing?
Since attending my first UPW in 2006. I was fascinated with the skills Tony Robbins used over the weekend and the impact the Firewalk had upon me. Over the following years I set out to learn many of these skills. I trained and studied until I became a Certified Life and Executive Coach. I spent many years learning Neuro-Linguistic Programming and trained to become a Certified Firewalking Instructor.
During these years I faced many personal challenges and became my own best client. I used many of these skills to help me to overcome addictions, deal with relationship breakdowns and having my son being taken away, coping with grief, weight and health issues to name but a few.
I’ve experienced firsthand how powerful these tools have been to overcome challenges. During the last two years I have had some serious health issues and undergone major surgery. I’ve realised how much of what I have learnt has helped and supported me to get through the darkest times. And remain focused and positive in my outlook.
Knowing how much it has helped me inspires me to keep practicing. Being able to support and train others with the skills I have learnt. If it makes life easier for just one person, more manageable, happier and positive, it will be worth it. I believe strongly in the ripple effect. And although I’m uncertain what impact I have, I do know that the changes we can create are often outside of our own sight.
What pearl of wisdom for Firewalk Instructors can you offer?
Be yourself. Not attempting to mimic somebody else but to find, and be, your own voice. Do it at your own pace and when it is right for you. Everybody in life is on a different journey and what works well for one doesn’t necessarily work well for all. Go with the flow and allow yourself to blossom when the time is right. Support others, share your knowledge, remain flexible and continue to learn and grow with those around you.
Finally, whatever you do, whatever your message, be congruent and speak from your heart. Keeping it authentic is key.