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  • English Classes with TED: How to Hold Your Breath, in English

    We continue our English Classes with TED this week with a video featuring David Blaine, the world famous magician. In April of 2008, David Blaine set a world record for holding his breath using a method that allows someone to oxygenate his or her body before holding his/her breath. Blaine held his breath for 17 minutes.

    David Blaine, according to TED:

    Called a “modern-day Houdini” by The New York Times, David Blaine made himself a household name with TV special David Blaine: Street Magic — shedding the sweeping glitz and drama of other TV magic programs in favor of a simple premise: illusions done right on the street, in front of handheld cameras and speechless passersby.

    With Buried Alive, Blaine was entombed underground for seven days in a transparent plastic coffin, visible to gawking pedestrians above, setting off a new trend in his performance career: the endurance stunt. The pursuit led to other spectacles featuring cramped spaces and extreme conditions: Frozen in Time, which saw him encased in a block of ice for almost three days, and Vertigo, where he stood atop a 100-foot pillar for 35 hours.

    Blaine’s stunts continue to draw immense crowds and Nielsen ratings to match, but his appearance on Oprah was perhaps most stunning, when he broke the Guinness world record for breath-holding, staying underwater for 17 minutes and 4.5 seconds.

    For TED Blaine told the story of how was able to accomplish this stunt, after a series of setbacks. Watch the video below subtitled in your native language if you’re an English beginner, with English subtitles if you’re intermediate, and no subtitles if you’re advanced.

    What two things does Blaine say he tries to do as a magician?

    What did he do in April of 1999 in New York City for a week?

    What did he see in his hallucinations during his 36-hour stunt in New York City?

    What did they do to David to tempt him while he was in the box in London?

    What was Blaine obsessed with from a young age?

    As a magician, he thinks that __________ __ _______.

    How did his doctor tell him to hold his breath for a long time?

    Did it work?

    What was the “craziest idea” of all Blaine’s plans for holding his breath?

    What is “static apnea?”

    What was his “critical mistake” at the Lincoln Center?

    Where did he go to finally break the record?

    What did he think was happening when he was under water, about to break the record?

    What question did the kid ask him after he came out of the Apple store?

    What does Blaine say magic is to him?

    Would you like to take a class based on this or other TED videos? Want to know the answers to these questions? Contact us.