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Local escape artist reveals what's behind his amazing feats

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Local escape artist reveals what's behind his amazing feats

By Stephanie Graham, Jesse Ritka. CREATED Nov 15, 2013 - UPDATED: Nov 15, 2013

SHEBOYGAN - He's been buried alive, submerged in water inside a cage, and he's been handcuffed and jumped over the Snake River Canyon.

His latest feat back in August was an escape from a locked coffin dropped from an airplane. Tony Martin is world-renowned for his great escapes, and he lives right in Sheboygan. It all started when Tony was 8 years old, and very curious!

"I began by collecting locks and handcuffs, taking locks and handcuffs apart, and figuring out how they work," Tony recalls.

He says he started performing a few years later. "My first substantiated escape, and when I say that, it was verified by a police official. That was when I was 13 years old, right here in Sheboygan at the Sheriff's Department."

But don't call it magic! Tony says it's all about knowledge, and very different from what magicians do.

"They'll use fake locks and handcuffs to mimic what a true escape artist does. I've found personally that I take great pride in not having to do that," Tony explains.

Tony has hundreds of handcuffs in his workshop, and knows how to escape from all of them. He is also an experienced sky-diver. His most recent feat was an escape from a locked coffin in the air. It's a trick he first did 25 years ago! Tony exclaims, "I did the escape because it was the most daring escape I could think of."

Tony's life isn't all about adrenaline though. His faith is also very important to him.

"Really the best times I've had have been studying God's word and reading the Bible," Tony says.

He recently wrote a book called 'Escape Or Die'. It looks at parallels between his escapes and spiritual truths. "It's great to entertain people, but it's even better to be able to help them, and really, I point to the source of ultimate truth as being the Bible."

Tony hopes his story serves as an inspiration to others.

He laughs, "I got a secret, I am a normal guy! No, absolutely, I just happen to do something that's unique. I'm privileged I'm able to do it, done it so long. I've acquired different skills, but really everyone has special skills."

As a side job, Tony is also a bonded locksmith and registered safe technician. He works on helping people open antique safes that have been locked tight for years.

TODAY'S TMJ4'S Jesse Ritka recently went on a dive of her own--her first skydive! It also took lots of preparation, and was quite a rush. You can check out the footage, by clicking on the VIDEO above.