According to 12-time world record holder Brian Jackson, he is just a 5’ 5” Cherokee guy who is full of hot air. But Jackson who says, “it’s not just what you have, it’s what you do with it,” just proved his good words to over 50 million television viewers two weeks ago when he broke his 12th world record by lifting up a 4,387 lbs. and 12 oz. SUV – using nothing but his breath.
Since getting his start blowing up balloon animals for children at social functions, Jackson realized he had a gift in ‘hot air’ when he could blow up 9 balloon animal balloons at one time in 1999. After seven years and 49 attempts, Jackson beat the world record for Hot Water Balloon bursting.
After his first world record, Jackson continued to succeed and found himself on TruTV, The Guinness Book of World Records TV Program in China, Italy and Spain and Stan Lee’s Superhumans. In a conversation with ICTMN, Jackson talked about his recent trip to China, his journey as a world record holder and what it’s like to have the strongest lungs in the world.
For more info about Jackson visit here.
What was the world record you broke?
The title says the "heaviest vehicle lifted with breath." All four tires had to be lifted off of the ground. I was just north of Shanghai, China. This was the Guinness Book of World Records television show. I was in Beijing last year and I lifted a car that weighed 3,452 pounds.
I was listening to the video and the woman announcer said 1990.25 kilos – the conversion chart tells me I lifted a 4,387 lbs. and 12 oz. SUV.
This was my 12th Guinness book world record. I have been on shows in Beijing and I have also been to Spain, Italy and I have also attended a television show here in the United States.
When you were lifting the SUV, what the heck did that feel like and how did you finally get it off the ground?
It took me 36 minutes and to be honest, I almost blew my throat out. That amount of pressure and that amount of weight was so hard on me. Have you ever sneezed and tried to hold it in and you hurt your throat or got sick and got the dry heaves? That’s what it felt like for 36 minutes. My body was trying to blow something up that is not meant to be. It was a full body workout.
About 15 minutes in, I dropped the nozzle. I thought there was no way I could do this. People in the audience cheered and someone said ‘Come on Brian, I believe!’ I picked it back up. When I put it to my mouth it was blowing air, I had to stop it in my teeth.
Even today I am having problems with my throat. I thought I am going to end up killing myself.
Being told your full of hot air is a compliment to the Hurricane.
How did you feel when the wheels finally lifted off the ground?
I was so excited. There were strongmen there who flipped a vehicle 16 times and they weighed 1,600 kgs. The car I lifted off the ground was 1,990 kgs. This was the most difficult thing I have ever done.
What do you do in terms of exercising or preparing for this?
When I walk I will breathe in with one step and breathe out with the other. For a speed record I walk faster for an endurance record like this was I will take slower steps and breathe in and breathe out with a lot more volume. I will also blow up as many of those skinny balloons as I can – the most I have ever done was 250 in 21 minutes. To help my neck I have a duffel bag with weights in it, I hang it from my back and over my forehead so it pulls back to strengthen my neck. I also do a lot of cardio.
How did you get started doing this?
I started out blowing up hot water bottles. I used to blow up balloon animals for the kids with those long skinny balloons. I got to the point where I could blow up nine at the same time. I saw that a guy held a current record for blowing up hot water bottles – I thought if I could blow up nine of these balloons I could blow up a hot water bottle.
I started to attempt blowing up hot water bottles and it took me seven years and 49 record attempts before I finally broke the world record for the hot water bottle in 2006. At the time it was 51.98 seconds to blow up a hot water bottle until it bursts. In 2009, I went to Italy and I blew up three hot water bottles in 1.08 minutes. There are pictures of that in the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records book.
Have you been on other television programs?
I was on TruTV in 2012. I blew up five hot water bottles until they burst in under one minute. I later got a call from Stan Lee the creator of Spiderman, X-Men and Marvel comics. He does a show on the history channel called Stan Lee's Superhumans.
I am the only Native American to ever be on that show. When we were negotiating they wanted me to blow up hot water bottles. They asked me on a Skype call from London if I would like to try anything I had never done, I was thinking this is Stan Lee's Superhumans – I told them I'd like to see if I could lift a car.
They asked me if that was even possible, I told them I didn't know. The first time I lifted a car was on that show. They asked me if I wanted a nickname, I told him I don't want to influence this however, don't call me windy. After I lifted the car, Stan was on the phone and said, "I'm going to call you the hurricane!"
That was priceless to me.
How have you been received in China?
It was very exciting to me. They really liked me last year because I make small medicine bags as gifts. I gave out a bunch of those last year as well as "I Believe" stickers. Because I do public speaking on believing in yourself people call me the I believe guy. I gave about 50 pouches which included pins with the word Osiyo on them. By the second day, I had Chinese people greeting me with 'Osiyo.'
I told them that this year I would really like to bring the Cherokee Nation flag to represent my nation – they asked me, "would you dress traditionally?" I was like are you kidding? No Native American has ever dressed traditionally on a Guinness world record stage anywhere. Terri Henderson Fields made my regalia and Julie Thornton made my belt. Joseph Erb made my armband and gorget.
I broke the record in traditional Native American clothes. To represent is a huge honor but to do it in my traditional Native clothing was incredible. There were so many people asking why I was dressed this way – the interpreter told them I was representing the Cherokee Nation. They absolutely loved it.
What other types of experiences have you had in your life journey as a world record holder?
Over the years I have met the tallest man in the world, the shortest man in the world, the strongest man, the guy with the stretchiest skin, the woman with the most piercings, I have watched a man hold his breath underwater for 18 minutes and 33 seconds. All of this has just been amazing, people here do not get to understand the magnitude of what we have had the honor to be a part of.
Are you going to continue breaking records as the Hurricane?
I announced my retirement on the show. I am 50 years old now and I said this will be my last show. I told them I was honored to be invited to such an amazing country but my challengers are getting younger and stronger.
What else do you do when you're not blowing up water bottles or lifting up SUV's?
I am a motivational speaker that goes into schools churches and groups and my program is called "I believe." When I was younger I was in sports then I got involved with drugs. I barely graduated high school. In fact, I was involved in one of the largest drug busts in my hometown of Seminole, Oklahoma.
I share that with kids depending on what age they are. I hit a little harder when I talked to older kids. I share with them that I got a second chance, what you do with that second chance is completely up to you. This is what I did with my second chance.
I want to change the legacy of what people remember me by – I did not want people to think that I was only involved in one of the largest drug busts in my hometown – I now hold more world records than any other Native American in the world.