Dai Andrews called “The world’s greatest sword swallower” by the Los Angeles Times, has performed in more than thirty countries on five continents. Andrews has made over fifty television appearances, including the National Geographic and Discovery Channels, and holds four Guinness World Records.
Born David Matthew Andrews, (Dai is the Welsh diminutive form of David) Dai Andrews became interested in magic after receiving a Fischer-Price magic set on his fifth birthday. As a teenager he worked for a short time in a small magic shop and later he started performing magic acts. A quick learner, soon he begin adding fire and escape performances to his routine, as well as several other sideshow acts such as, bed of nails, human blockhead and iron tongue. In 1995, at the young age of 18, Dai added sword swallowing to his repertoire.
Like many teenagers, Dai had a passion to travel and explore the world. Speaking about the character, Ford Prefect, from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dai once stated “His character’s job is to travel the universe on someone else’s nickel and drink and laugh and have a good time and just soak in as much as possible. His responsibilities are very few. He is my inspiration. I travel all over the world. I meet a lot of great people. I have a wonderful time and I love my job.” At nineteen, Dai first traveled to Europe, where he worked as a street performer. During his travels in Europe, Dai took the opportunity to further develop his craft by observing, working with, and learning from other performers that he met. Upon returning to the United States, Dai performed at corporate events, night clubs and renaissance festivals. Then he traveled on Carnival Cruise Lines for six years as a featured performer.
Later, Dai Andrews traveled the world learning secrets from yogis, martial artists, magicians and fakirs which have allowed him to develop the extreme physical control it takes to perform his mind-over-body feats. He journeyed to India to study meditation and Yoga with Sadhus in the Himalayas. He visited China to learned Kung Fu. Dai is the student of Grandmaster Huang Chien Lang and has been studying Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, Tai Chi Chuan and Tien Shan Pai since 2000. He traveled to Thailand to study under the renowned meditation teacher Acharn Luang Phor Tong and to study with several Muay Thai masters. Using these secrets and techniques from eastern martial arts, yoga and meditation Dai has perfected their arts in order to bring his audience a performance of unique feats and unusual mind-over-body abilities, many unlike any previously witnessed. Dai Andrews is not your typical sideshow performer. There is a mystery, an ambiance, and intrigue about him. Throughout history, there have been unique performance artists who push the limits of mind and body. Like Harry Houdini who was renowned for constantly pushing his own limits and expanding our vision of what is possible, Dai seeks to find these secrets so he can push the limits of the human body.
He is one of approximately fifty sword swallowers in the world. However, Dai is much more than just a sword swallower, he is also a motivational speaker, director, producer, and martial artist/instructor, as well as the proprietor of two entertainment agencies: Dream Machine Arts and Unforgettable Entertainment. Andrews teaches the Xingyiquan style of Internal Kung Fu, as well as, traditional meditation techniques at his studio in Baltimore. In addition to teaching, Andrews regularly participates in the martial arts tournaments and fundraisers and continues to expand his knowledge of the martial arts. Dai Andrews often includes martial arts demonstrations, including Iron Palm Chi Gung and Iron Body Chi Gung, in his stage performances.
Chi Gung (also called Qigong) literally means energy cultivation and is the spiritual branch of Chinese medicine and martial arts. Physical and mental health are both improved by learning how to cultivate and manipulate Chi or energy, through controlled breathing, movement, and acts of will. Chi gung is generally divided into two types, hard and soft. Soft Chi Gung focuses on developing and preserving energy in order to ensure the good health and longevity. Hard or Martial Chi Gung is only taught to students of Kung Fu and includes Iron Palm and Iron Shirt/Body training. Iron Palm Chi Gung, (also called Tameshiwari in Japan) involves conditioning the hands to withstand heavy impact and to deliver powerful blows. Iron Shirt/Body Chi Gung involves conditioning the body to withstand tough hand-to-hand combat. This is done through various exercises, including a system of breathing exercises which can permanently pack concentrated air into the fasciae, or connective tissue, surrounding vital organs, which over time can make the body nearly impervious to injuries from blows received in hand-to-hand combat.
Dai demonstrates his Iron Body Chi Gung by breaking arrows, bending iron bars with his throat, having concrete blocks smashed on his body while lying on a bed of sharp machetes and using his hand in real animal traps. These are included in his most recent production called “Modern Fakir”. A fakir is an ascetic or mendicant who performs feats of magic or endurance. Modern Fakir is an exciting journey into the mind over body phenomenon presented by Dai Andrews, a living master of these ancient traditions. It examines the origins of these strange arts and the cultures from which they have emerged. But even more, it entertains and amazes audiences. This extreme performance presents marvelous demonstrations of incredible feats from Hindu Fakirs, Shaolin monks and world-class magicians. Modern Fakir provides a unique glimpse into the potential of the untapped human capability.
In addition to the Dai’s Chi Gung demonstrations like breaking arrows, bending iron bars and breaking boards, Dai Andrews demonstrates, escape artistry using straitjackets, chains, handcuffs, and ropes. The highlight of Dai’s escape performance is his famous 100 feet of rope challenge in which two audience members tie Dai Andrews up with 100 feet of rope. The challenge is that if he does not free himself in less time than it took the two audience members to tie him up then he will give the two audience members $1,000 cash. Finally in the ultimate test of fortitude and physical endurance, Dai wraps twenty feet of rope around his neck and then lets six audience members pull and tug on the rope as hard as they can. As the audience members engage in a tug of war, Dai’s neck is in the middle of the rope with his throat enduring many times the amount of pressure that would occur in a normal execution style hanging. To the amazement and thrill of the audience who witness this torture, Dai ultimately emerges from this brutal punishment unharmed. Currently, Dai Andrews is the only person in the world who performs this dangerous feat, which he calls “The Man Who Cannot be Hanged.”
Dai can do a wide variety of acts during his performance but he usually ends up with sword swallowing as the finale. Taking a sword over two feet in length, Dai slides the blade down his throat, tapping the hilt gently, until the entire blade of the sword has disappeared. After swallowing and disgorging several swords, Dai continues first swallowing a sword up to its guard, a second sword is swallowed, but not quite as far, and then Dai adds a third and a fourth until, ultimately he has more than a dozen swords in his throat. The audience gasps as he slowly takes them out one by one. And just to show the audience that he is not using fake props and that his performance is real, Dai the sword swallower may borrow a cane or other long object from an audience member and proceed to put it almost entirely down his throat. One of his newer sword swallowing feats is to swallow a red-hot, burning sword. Ouch!!!
After several increasingly difficult sword swallowing feats, Dai really shocks his audience by bringing out a sword with a scythe-looking blade. The sword was almost 120 degrees in its curve. Dai first began to use the curved sword in his performances after meeting Wasp Boy, a member of England’s Circus of Horrors. They traded sword swallowing secrets with Dai sharing his kris blade secret with Wasp Boy. The Kris, or wavy blade requires Dai to shift his Adams apple from side to side as he extends the serpentine blade through his throat and into his stomach. Dai, ever the master showman, stares at the curved blade, as if he is not certain that he can perform this unbelievable sword swallowing feat. After requesting the audience to remain silent, Dai slowly lowers the scythe-like curved blade into his mouth, down his throat and ultimately into his stomach. This unbelievable, mind over body feat requires Dai to bend his body slightly forward and to the side in order to accommodate the curved blade without it piercing his body. After Dai removes the blade the audience breathes a sigh of relieve and usually shouts out with nervous excitement. A marvelous finale for an amazing and impressive performance by a true Modern Fakir. Dai Andrews is a skillful magician, a world-class martial artist and an amazing escape artist, but it is his incredible sword swallowing feats that seem to thrill his audience the most. Andrews holds four world records for sword swallowing, including the following:
Official Guinness World Record™ Largest Curve in a sword swallowed. On September 12, 2009 at Pimlico Race course in Baltimore, MD USA, Dai Andrews swallowed a sword that was curved 120 degrees from point to hilt.
Official Guinness World Record™ Most Swords Swallowed Simultaneously. On Friday August 30, 2002 at the 2002 Sword Swallowers Convention in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania USA, nineteen Sword Swallowers including Dai Andrews, (who swallowed eleven swords at once) swallowed 50 swords simultaneously.
Official Guinness World Record™ Most Sword Swallowers Swallowing Swords Simultaneously. On Friday August 30, 2002 at the 2002 Sword Swallowers Convention in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania USA, nineteen Sword Swallowers including Dai Andrews, (who swallowed eleven at once) swallowed swords simultaneously.
Official Guinness World Record™ Single Sword Swallowed by the Most Sword Swallowers. A sword known as “The Sword of Swords” and made by Thomas Blackthorne in 1994 to symbolize solidarity between an otherwise solitary sword-swallower community, was swallowed in September 2002 at the first Sword Swallowers Association International Sword Swallower’s Convention in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania USA, by Dai Andrews and twenty other sword swallowers.
If you are interested in having Dai Andrews perform at your event or just want to learn more about this amazing man go to (click on photo):