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Socrates

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How many times have we heard magicians say "You only need, a force, a control and a palm" or words to that effect "and you can do wonderful card magic":

So my first question to the forum is how many of you agree with this advice?  And secondly, how many different tricks/effects could you do with a such a small amount of sleights in your toolbox?
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Magic Harry

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Reply with quote  #2 
I'm OK with those except maybe palming.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
How many times have we heard magicians say "You only need, a force, a control and a palm" or words to that effect "and you can do wonderful card magic":

So my first question to the forum is how many of you agree with this advice?  And secondly, how many different tricks/effects could you do with a such a small amount of sleights in your toolbox?


That quote is generally attributed to Harry Lorayne.  He used it in some of his books and he said it in one of his instructional videos.  He added the Double Lift, so he usually was quoted as saying "One can do miracles with a control, and a force can be a control, a double lift and a palm".

He is of course correct.  In fact, entire books have been written around near "sleightless" card magic.  There are thousands of very effective tricks that don't rely on sleight-of-hand at all.  

Having said that, just as an artist could paint a masterpiece with only the primary colors, sometimes you want to spice things up a bit and go crazy.  

In my mind it doesn't have to be an "either-or" scenario.  Use the tool that gets the job done and does it with the most efficiency.  Sometimes that tool might look like a classic pass.  Sure, you could substitute a false cut or something, but not if you want it to look as thought nothing happened.  You can do that by using a pass.  

Want to change 4 Aces for 4 "X" cards?   Then there are several ways of doing it, and you need to decide which one fits your purposes the best.  Maybe it is ATFUS, maybe it is the No Lap Switch, maybe it is the 4 for 4 Switch?

As far as how would your magic look if you pared down the sleights?  Well, it would certainly be streamlined, that's for sure.  So long as presentation doesn't suffer, then the method really doesn't matter much.  Audiences shouldn't be aware of sleights, basic or complicated anyway so why should they care?

Some magicians, myself included, perform difficult sleights because we like to.  We find it fun to labor over something until you can get it polished up well enough to present.  And that is going to be different for different people.  Some struggle with a simple DL for months or even years, while others have already graduated to Diagonal Palm Shifts.

In the end, there's room for both kinds of magic, even within the performances of the same magician.  We've used the example before but Simon Lovell was capable of doing some knucklebusting sleights, but when he performed for laypeople, he would often choose rather simple tricks.  


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Socrates

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The writings of Ted Annemann have been a big inspiration on my approach to magic for many years:

"Sleights are many and varied. Some you can learn in half an hour and others take a little longer to learn perfectly, say two or three years. After you learn it, it may be very useful or it may not be any good except for a show of dexterity. Here is my opinion of a magician, and a real one at that. A magician is the fellow who by manner and address, instead of much dexterity, is able to deceive his watchers by mis-direction in his talk and personality. Rather deep? Not so, because I can put it in a more common and perhaps slangy way. Plain bunk and bluff put forward in a gentlemanly way with showmanship and a regard for the good opinion of the public" - Ted Annemann

And another magician who has influenced my thinking said:

"The true skill of the magician is in the skill he exhibits in influencing the spectator's mind. This is not a thing of mechanics. It is not a thing of digital dexterity. It is entirely a thing of psychological attack. It is completely a thing of controlling the spectator's thinking." - Dariel Fitzkee

This kind of thinking really appeals to my way of practicing and performing magic, I understand that it is fun and rewarding to learn difficult sleights, but I spent quite a few years earning my living with a deck of cards and I rarely ever used any difficult sleights - my preference has always been for the psychology, influencing the mind is the ultimate in magic!
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #5 
I think there's truth to the "force, control and palm" statement. But it's more true of "old school magic" I think. I know/knew some "old timers" whose repertoires were based on that limited set of moves. Their repertoires were rather shallow as I recall. See what your repertoire would look like if you were limited to those moves. No Elmsley counts - ouch! No double lifts! Yikes. 

M
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Daniel Young

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Reply with quote  #6 
I think its true in as much as its making a point. Im not sure anyone advocates just learning one of each and then never learn anything new ever again. Having said that, I wish more people treated it as if it was true, and practised those moves until they got them down, before they move on. Many were the times when we got young people in the shop completely butchering some move, rather than doing, say, a double undercut. Which is the problem with the newer generation, too much access.

And on the other hand, I had a young guy come in and we were talking, and he asked for my opinion of a few tricks. Internally Im going "here we go again....", but he actually did 3 tricks, all using a key card in one way or another, but they felt like three different tricks. So even with a limited skillset (his sleight of hand was appalling when he showed me something else) he had these three tricks that he presented very well. So I definitely think you can get by on a bare minimum. In many case most magicians probably shouldn't do more than 1 or 2 tricks anyway πŸ˜‰

But I think its also important to not generalise, people do magic for different reasons. Some do it to keep their hands occupied and hold off an onset of arthritis. Some to keep their brain sharp. Some like the history. Some just like reading about it and practise, never to necessarily perform it for anyone. In which case limiting it to just 3 moves is a bit boring πŸ˜‰

Mark Elsdon usually talks about an artist, cant remember the name of him, but he would limit himself to one year just work with concrete, and the next year maybe just pencil whatever... The idea, that putting such restrictions on yourself, by limiting yourself you force creativity. So I would be tempted to put together a small set just based on those moves and to see what I come up with πŸ˜‰


All the best,
Dan
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Young
I think its true in as much as its making a point. Im not sure anyone advocates just learning one of each and then never learn anything new ever again. Having said that, I wish more people treated it as if it was true, and practised those moves until they got them down, before they move on. Many were the times when we got young people in the shop completely butchering some move, rather than doing, say, a double undercut. Which is the problem with the newer generation, too much access.

And on the other hand, I had a young guy come in and we were talking, and he asked for my opinion of a few tricks. Internally Im going "here we go again....", but he actually did 3 tricks, all using a key card in one way or another, but they felt like three different tricks. So even with a limited skillset (his sleight of hand was appalling when he showed me something else) he had these three tricks that he presented very well. So I definitely think you can get by on a bare minimum. In many case most magicians probably shouldn't do more than 1 or 2 tricks anyway πŸ˜‰

But I think its also important to not generalise, people do magic for different reasons. Some do it to keep their hands occupied and hold off an onset of arthritis. Some to keep their brain sharp. Some like the history. Some just like reading about it and practise, never to necessarily perform it for anyone. In which case limiting it to just 3 moves is a bit boring πŸ˜‰

Mark Elsdon usually talks about an artist, cant remember the name of him, but he would limit himself to one year just work with concrete, and the next year maybe just pencil whatever... The idea, that putting such restrictions on yourself, by limiting yourself you force creativity. So I would be tempted to put together a small set just based on those moves and to see what I come up with πŸ˜‰


All the best,
Dan


Some really good points Dan.  I think what Harry Lorayne was trying to do when he originally uttered those words was encourage.  He was telling the beginner that they really could perform miracles with a deck of cards without having to learn a ton of sleights.  It was true when he said it and it remains the same.  In fact, it is even more true given the plethora of "self-working" card books that have flooded the market since he said it.

Regarding "younger" magicians, and I think to be fair we need to put beginners of all ages in there, what I see if many are trying to master very difficult, advances sleights when they can't even do an overhand shuffle without butchering it.

I think folks need to be the basics down cold and THEN graduate to harder stuff.  Card College is laid out that way.  Kaufman had a video of what he considered the most important sleights for beginners.  It all begins with getting used to handling cards, and I see some attempt difficult maneuvers when they are clearly not used to holding a pack in dealer's grip.  The old adage of building on a firm foundation is true when it comes to magic.  At least in my experience.  That's why I made that comment in another thread, that it is clear when I watch some videos that some people are trying to learn something and they haven't even gotten comfortable cutting, shuffling, etc.  Get those down and then move on.


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Daniel Young

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Reply with quote  #8 
Yeah, that's what I meant with too much access. They have a million different youtube channels teaching them as many moves, and so they never master the basics. And often times they "learn" a move, and then move on. They've "learnt" it now... what they mean is that they've read/watched it, and they've done it a couple of times. They don't appreciate the basics. And then they wonder why people catch them out πŸ˜‰

I would often recommend young people/beginners (but mostly young people) that they should read Royal Road or Card College, but they insisted they are intermediate to advanced, despite hardly being able to do a double lift, or, as you say even an overhand shuffle, so wouldn't take my advice, and instead ask for By Forces Unseen, because Chris Ramsey had recommended it πŸ˜‰
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Young
Yeah, that's what I meant with too much access. They have a million different youtube channels teaching them as many moves, and so they never master the basics. And often times they "learn" a move, and then move on. They've "learnt" it now... what they mean is that they've read/watched it, and they've done it a couple of times. They don't appreciate the basics. And then they wonder why people catch them out πŸ˜‰

I would often recommend young people/beginners (but mostly young people) that they should read Royal Road or Card College, but they insisted they are intermediate to advanced, despite hardly being able to do a double lift, or, as you say even an overhand shuffle, so wouldn't take my advice, and instead ask for By Forces Unseen, because Chris Ramsey had recommended it πŸ˜‰


Dan, the other thing that I think happens is they see a move and want to learn it because it is "eye candy", like a mystifying card change for example.  So they learn the move, but in isolation because they don't know what else to do with it.  So it becomes a "Hey, watch this!" sort of thing.  It works on social media or youtube, but if they were in the "real world" they might not have a clue how to get into it, how to end it or even why.
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Daniel Young

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Reply with quote  #10 
No joke, I asked a guy what kinda magic he performs already, he said: "Um... If I was doing something maybe i'd do something like a pass, or a double lift, or a Sybil cut..." πŸ˜ƒ  I fear for the future of magic...
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Young
No joke, I asked a guy what kinda magic he performs already, he said: "Um... If I was doing something maybe i'd do something like a pass, or a double lift, or a Sybil cut..." πŸ˜ƒ  I fear for the future of magic...


Don't get me started!

Actually, now's a good time for me to post about something I've been wondering about lately.  Demographics.  What are the demographics of this forum as compared with other forums in magic?

I suspect if you were to tabulate the information, you'd find a big difference between say, Theory11.com and TMF.  And you'd probably find a bit of difference between the "green place" and here.  

I'd guess that the demographics here are 99.9% male and the average age is well above 40.  perhaps above 50 even.

How can we influence the younger generation if they don't engage?  I suspect many come here and for whatever reason, eventually vanish. 
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Daniel Young

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Im 99.9% male... but under 40 πŸ˜‰

The younger generation, at any point in time, were always frowned upon by the "old timers" πŸ˜‰ and magic is still fine... I think the water always fills the cup. The newer audiences come from the same point in time and culture as the performers, so it works out, they fill that particular "cup". Whilst the rest of us moan that things are not what they used to be πŸ˜‰ (and of course they are not as good as they used to be)
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Young
Im 99.9% male... but under 40 πŸ˜‰

The younger generation, at any point in time, were always frowned upon by the "old timers" πŸ˜‰ and magic is still fine... I think the water always fills the cup. The newer audiences come from the same point in time and culture as the performers, so it works out, they fill that particular "cup". Whilst the rest of us moan that things are not what they used to be πŸ˜‰ (and of course they are not as good as they used to be)


Glad you're here!  You help bring the average down!
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Daniel Young

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Reply with quote  #14 
the Stones, the Beatles... look they had it right back then, now they just make crap music πŸ˜ƒ Someone will say the same thing about [insert whatever popular boy/girl band] in 30 years πŸ˜‰

But I'm happy I can bring down the average...

Reminds me of some Facebook meme thingy... "50's is the new 40's" says Steve, who has just turned 50"
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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Young
Im 99.9% male... but under 40 πŸ˜‰



Not sure if you're claiming that under 40s are the younger generation......[smile]

I have clear recollections of being under 40. There was a rumour, which I think is still floating around somewhere, that "Life Begins At Forty". All it did for me was remind me of my mortality.

Up to being about 18, i suffered severe bruising from being beaten over the head with big sticks and remarks in the vein of "You know nothing. Children/Kids/Teenagers should be seen (occasionally) but never heard."

By the time I was 18, I was being told/ordered to step aside. Particularly in regard to music. "You know nothing." Etcetera and ever onward.

Twas ever thus. Hey ho, here we go and there we went.

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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #16 

For many years, long before even I was born, The Pass was not only considered to be THE method of controlling a selected card, but was virtually the answer to everything. And if the aspiring cardigan also mastered The Top Change and The Palm, just three sleights in total, he was ready for anything. In fact the dogma was clear. If these sleights were not mastered there was no hope. Disheartening to say the least. But, times they do change. The big three still exist, but instead of pass, palm and top change, it’s whatever the individual feels confident with.

In β€œReputation Makers,” Harry Lorayne wrote something to the effect that with a control, a double lift and a palm, he could do miracles. Others, including me, have independently made the same discovery and made similar remarks. Note that in the Harry Lorayne comment, the palm remains, the top change has gone, and the pass has become a control.

I don’t do the top change, though I have studied the mechanics of the thing, and on occasions I’ve found myself in a situation where a top change of some sort was useful. I can do the classic pass, I can palm a card, but I rarely need to do either, so mostly I don’t bother. When I do I try to make sure that nobody is looking.

Virtually all the stuff I do for laypeople is built around a control, a false shuffle system, and an occasional two card lift. All accompanied by lots of bluff blather and double talk.
None of this is to denigrate the moves or the movers. They, the moves that is, exist because they’ve proven their worth. Even if we never use a move, an understanding of what the move is all about, what its capabilities and possibilities are, is invaluable.

There’s some forum discussion here


https://www.themagiciansforum.com/post/just-three-moves-only-9708151?highlight=three+moves+rest+your+life

https://www.themagiciansforum.com/post/categories-of-card-sleights-7957621?highlight=favourite+sleights

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #17 
Magic is no different from many arts or crafts.  I do leather work for a hobby.  90% of my time is spent with between 3 to 5 tools.  I can make a ton of stuff with a knife and an awl.  But there are other tools, specific tools that when you need them, you have to have them.  I can complete projects without them, but they would probably suffer.  They'd be functional, yet lack something.  Skiving tools, beaders, edge bevelers, button-hole punches, etc. might be compared with passes, diagonal palm shifts and side steals.  You don't necessarily need them a lot, but they are great to have in the tool box.

So in magic, you can do tons and tons of tricks with just a few sleights.  Aaron Fisher says he performed a trick for the man who would later become his mentor, Jack Birnman.  Aaron knew one sleight at the time, The Glide.  So we know it isn't NECESSARY to know more than a few sleights and do them well, but I think the world of magic would be the worse for it.
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jim ferguson

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Reply with quote  #18 
I'm reminded of the old saying - if all you have is a hammer, you'll treat everything like it was a nail.



Jim


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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim ferguson
I'm reminded of the old saying - if all you have is a hammer, you'll treat everything like it was a nail.
Jim



With my DIY skills that will be a thumbnail.

Just in case anybody thinks three moves are the limit of my limited sleights, moves and subterfuges repertoire, let it be known that I do have a couple or so that advance my gtrand total nearly into double figures. [wink]
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #20 
     Yes of course you can do miracles with a force,  double lift, palm --- but please don't misunderstand .  I never meant that those would be all you'd want as you progressed in card magic.  If so, I'd not have bothered devising things like Spread Control, Illogical Double Lift, Universal reversal, The Lorayne Force,  The HaLo Cut, Ultra Move, and quite a few more. Plus hundreds of complete effects and routines - using some of these, or not.
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James Nelson

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Reply with quote  #21 
I enjoy working on sleights just because it interests me. I am not a performer so they are not for show. I appreciate how clever and well constructed card magic can be. 
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Nelson
I enjoy working on sleights just because it interests me. I am not a performer so they are not for show. I appreciate how clever and well constructed card magic can be. 


πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»
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Paco Nagata

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Reply with quote  #23 
Last week, in a little birthday party of a friend of my son, I did some impromptu card magic:

I performed "Emotional Reaction," "Circus Card Trick," "Partagas' Sell" ("Dunbury Delusion")," "Gemini Twins" and finished with a brief Ambitious Card Routine.

It was great; everybody amazed and enjoyed the show.

Sleights?

* A card control (Mahatma)
* The Glide
* Key Card
* Double lift
* TILT
* "pop-up ambitious card effect”

The rest was presentations, showmanship, jokes... and a good cake!


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