Written by Kelly White and Jeff Vorva
Palos Hills’ Tom Cameron broke cement slabs (photo below) and a watermelon (above) with his bare hands during his 60th birthday celebration on Aug. 30. Submitted photos.Palos Hills man breaks concrete, watermelon on 60th birthday
This guy can bash bricks and boards with his bare hands.
He can chop a watermelon in half and he doesn’t even need a knife. His mitts will do quite well.
Palos Hills’ Tom Cameron has spent four decades in martial arts and aside from the discipline and life lessons that he learned, he likes to bust things.
You would figure that that a guy who is getting older would probably scale back on the destruction.
You would figure wrong.
Cameron celebrated his 60th birthday Aug. 30 by smashing 60 cement slabs at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Worth.
It would have been fitting is Cameron was able to demolish all 60 of the two-inch thick cement slabs in 60 seconds.
But the fact is, he was able to chop those blocks in less than 40 seconds.
He also entertained the crowd when he chopped a watermelon in half while it was resting the stomach of his adopted grandson, RJ.
For more than 20 years, Cameron has resided in Palos Hills, and has smashed other types of bricks as well, holding nearly 40 years of experience in martial arts, a 7th degree in taekwondo and a 4th degree in hapkido.
However, he had never attempted to demolish 60 cement slabs at one time.
“Age did play a factor in this and it was my first time attempting something so extensive,” Cameron said. “I wanted to push myself while entering a new age category. Just because you turn 60 doesn’t mean you should ever stop pursuing new goals. I never want to see myself become lazy. I want to keep pushing towards bigger achievements.”
The event was held at St. Mark during the church’s Family Fun Days. Cameron and his wife, Debborah, are active members of St. Mark and participate in local community events taking place at the parish.
“My wife and I actually met at St. Mark,” he said, “Since then, I have also been participating in their Family Fun Days event every year. However, this is the first time I have ever attempted this.”
Cameron’s grandchild, Lyric, age 7, and adopted grandchild, RJ, 15, assisted him during his live performance. Aside from smashing the cement slabs, Cameron also cut a whole watermelon in half off of RJ’s stomach while he laid flat, keeping the audience in awe and amazement during his performance.
“My grandchildren and I have a lot of fun working together during shows,” he said, “I like to have them be active participants.”
Receiving his 7th degree black belt is something Cameron said was a highlight of his career since reaching such an accomplishment requires patience.
“The title of Grandmaster is the highest title you can receive in martial arts and I was able to reach this goal just a couple of years ago,” he said.
Cameron is one of the world’s experts on dim mak, also known as the Chinese death touch or poison hand. Cameron, who works in industrial security and martial arts instruction, has been featured on numerous television programs, including “Ripley’s Believe it Or Not” where he was given the name of the “Human Stun Gun.” He also appeared on TLC and Steve Harvey’s “Big Time.”
Cameron’s most controversial demonstrations involve knocking down a subject without physical contact by, in his description, projecting energy known as chi, ki or prana, which is described as a bio-energy that overwhelms the target. He also specializes in demonstrations in which his hands are placed lightly on the subject’s body, usually the subject’s head, until the subject gradually loses footing, and seemingly consciousness, due to the energy Cameron says he is transmits to the person.
Some have expressed doubts about his “stun-gun’ abilities and one internet skeptic labelled his blog entry using a couple of vulgarities.
Believe his ability to stun someone without touching them or not, one has to admit that Cameron has become a tough guy, but it wasn’t always the case.
During a Fox News Chicago story that appeared approximately eight years ago, he said he grew up on Chicago’s South Side and said he had been attacked numerous times. He added he was knifed and once had a gun jammed up his nose. Luckily for Cameron, the gun jammed and he is still alive to talk about it.
But that moment changed his life.
“It was time I either learned something to protect myself or I was going to die,” he told Fox News.
Cameron is also a martial arts teacher who has taught for decades at numerous area park districts. He currently teaches group sessions of taekwondo at the Palos Park Recreation Department, as well as private lessons.
“We should always be constantly pushing towards bigger goals,” Cameron said. “Once you have achieved something, you should move on to the next bigger and better goal. Age is not a reason to hold you back.”