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Topic: The Next Level?
Message: Posted by: handsfree (Oct 7, 2002 01:50PM)
I've developed an interest in escapology over the years and have found myself to be, for a beginner/amatuer, adequate at escaping from ungimmicked handcuffs and leg shackles. I'm to the point where I'm considering pursuing escapology as a sideline (audiences, routines...). Either by using a hidden key (cheating) or any of several homemade pick devices, I'm able to get out of cuffs when my wrists or ankles are secured in a conventional position (hands in front or behind back w/palms facing together). It's time-consuming, but no longer the challenge it used to be.

My wife, whose task it is to conjure up and place me in increasingly more difficult or inescapable restraint positions, has taken my capabilities to the limit. In other words, to the point where escape, at least for me, is impossible. Should I resort to gimmicked cuffs or continue trying to beat the real ones (and her devilish ingenuity, which has introduced palms-away cuffing, hog-tie, thumbcuffs, waste chains and padlocks— and more).

Is there another level of technique I should be considering, or are the physical limitations too daunting? What do you do when the possibilites for escape are nil? :confused: :pout: :mad:
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Oct 8, 2002 04:59PM)
Hi Handsfree

To my mind, anything is possible, in this and most any other field. The question is do we go on stage and hope the audience will realise the difficulty of what we are doing? And will they appreciate it even if they do? I have many real life examples that I could go into here, and will if you like. For now though I have two fictional examples.

Example 1:

I have a pair of high security handcuffs with pin tumbler locks double locked on me after they are fully checked by a professional locksmith, I am searched for any keys, picks etc. then I go into a cabinet that has been searched in the same way. The searches are VERY detailed and the cuffs are placed on me by a qualified and independent person. Ten minutes later I emerge sweating but free. The skill it took to perform that feat might be great. To hide, and effectivly use, in this case a pick and tension tool, under such circumstances takes a huge amount of skill and experience.

Example 2:

I am placed in a high quality pair of gaffed handcuffs which stand a pretty close inspection by a couple of audience members and a local policeman. They are placed on me and I jump from a high bridge into a river. Ten seconds later I emerge from the water with the cuffs held high. All the above is done with loads of 'selling' to make it tense for the audience. Will he drown? Will he even go through with it? Maybe I 'faint' when I reach the river bank after the stunt. This all took little skill.

Out of the above which will the AUDIENCE remember? Which will entertain them, and stick in their mind? Which will give your career a boost?

My opinion (and this is only my opinion!) is that you should focus your energies on what will give the audience what they are after. I personally believe that a poor escape artist with great performance skills will end up shining brighter than a great escape artist with poor performence skills. It's all about the drama. So innovate, come up with exciting ideas, and have fun doing it!

Hope this helps

Message: Posted by: handsfree (Oct 10, 2002 11:04AM)
Thanks for the encouragement, Straitjacket Guy. I appreciate your examples. Good points. A showman I am not. But, I understand what you are saying. I need to develop that side as well. Gotta lotta work in front of me.

90-something views and only one helpful post? Am I in the wrong place? Did I cross the line by asking for proprietary assistance? Am I under the false impression that technique would not be so guarded on this forum? Hmmmm. If not here, than where do I look? :confused:
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Oct 11, 2002 01:42PM)
Hi Handsfree

I think the problem is that your post really doesn't ask any specific question. I am not entirely sure what you want to know. Also, (and this is meant to be constructive, please don't take it personally) your post is a little hard to read. People are basically lazy in their reading habits and will tend to ignore posts which are not paragraphed or punctuated. A big clump of words just puts people off.

Spread stuff out a bit, punctuate, and be specific about what you want to know. You will get on just fine.

Hope this helps.

Message: Posted by: handsfree (Oct 11, 2002 02:14PM)
Thanks for the hint, but, with all due respect, it is perfectly punctuated. :)
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Oct 11, 2002 02:30PM)
Hi Handsfree

I was not commenting on your personal punctuation. Mine is bad enough. I was simply making a few general observations on how to get ahead here. You have to admit the post is pretty hard to follow. :) With or without good punctuation. I have just read the post for about the tenth time and only just spotted the bit about being put in inescapable situations by your wife. For which I have a response.

When that happens, take careful note of the position you are in and how you got there. Then, think about it for a while and sleep on it. A couple more goes and you will probably figure a way out.

Message: Posted by: handsfree (Oct 14, 2002 01:52PM)
Well, by the looks of things, I am in the wrong place. Duncan, I truly appreciate your advice and candor, but when I get more advice on my writing style (I've only written 4 books and dozens of manuals and articles) than usable escape advice, I can only think that I need to look elsewhere— maybe where the advice is technical and precise, and not so cryptic. Maybe where the amateur isn't kept at arm's length.

I think what I need to do is just read some books and stop expecting free advice from strangers. Maybe then I can learn and offer advice to someone else who is confronted by the same difficulties as I.

It's been too long since I've pulled off a decent and half-way challenging escape. I'm really at a dead-end for possibilities.

Please don't be offended, Duncan; you were kind enough to respond. I think that I was expecting too much.
Message: Posted by: x-treem (Oct 14, 2002 06:37PM)
Handsfree if you can cut the attitude (with all due respect) you can email me or visit my site's forums http://www.strictlyunderground.com and I will be more than happy to help you. I thought a friend of mine was emailing help to you and that is why I did not bother to respond.
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Oct 14, 2002 06:53PM)
Hi X

I just gave up. Whats the point? I am not obliged to help strangers, I do it out of the goodness of my heart. When I get attitude like that I simply walk away, what's the point?

Handsfree— I, like many of the people here have a lot of knowledge to offer. And you have shot yourself squarely in the foot.

Message: Posted by: x-treem (Oct 14, 2002 08:01PM)
We can not go around sharing methods in public forums, there is too much of a security risk involved.

Here in the U.S. there are dozens of "bad guys" that would give their right foot to know what escape artists know in order to do bad. Methods and techniques can not just be left for the "joe blow" to read at their whim and fancy. Specific questions can be addressed and most of us answer in private for that exact reason.

Escapology is not about gimmicks and gaffs as most magicians suspect us to use, it takes work and dedication. This is another reason for our careful guard of secrets.

Message: Posted by: SpiffnikHopkins (Oct 15, 2002 01:26AM)
Yeah dude, published writer or not, and intended or not, you come across as needing to tweak your attitude a bit. Trust me, the guys on this forum are the pros and know their stuff well. I've learned a great deal in the short time I've been browsing around and asking questions. Only from time to time do I feel I have words of wisdom to share and I do so gladly passing on the favors done to me.

However not every post gets the response you're looking for right away. Try re-phrasing or being a little more precise with your questions. Most secrets seem to be posted here, but crypticly. If you're in the biz, even as an amateur, you should be able to pick up on what is really being said. If not, PM and ask for a clearer explanation and it'll be given.

Much thanks to everyone for making this such an awesome forum. I hope in years to come to help those coming behind me as you've helped me.

Message: Posted by: handsfree (Oct 15, 2002 09:41AM)
Thanks, guys. Points all well taken.

By the way, there is no attitude. I haven't been rude; I have sincerely given thanks for your suggestions. As painful as it may be, I challenge anyone to re-read my posts and find even a whiff of an attitude. I just realized that, for reasons stated by others (above), I need to go out and learn this for myself. No harm, no foul, no attitude.
Message: Posted by: AllThumbs (Oct 17, 2002 04:42AM)
Books, books, books. Practice, practice, practice. I could go on...

What do you do when the possibilites for escape are nil?
You don't do it, simple as that! It's not an escape if you can't get out and you'll just look and feel stupid. Sure even the experienced escapologist makes the occasional 'booboo' and gets stuck, but they will usually have a back-up plan for those rare moments and have the experience to deal with it, with either deception or simply brute force. If you read a bit about Houdini's career you'll find mentions of such occasions. It's up to you to decide if they were all part of his act or not.


Kris Sheglova
Message: Posted by: handsfree (Oct 17, 2002 11:05AM)
Thanks, Kris. This is the decison I've come to also. But, I'm pretty sure— no, actually, I'm positive that some of the escapes I've tried recently are just not possible for me.

Practice, books, and just backing away from the most difficult escapes is going to be my approach for now. However, those inescapable scenarios will always haunt me to the point that I'll feel obligated to try again and again and again...
Message: Posted by: x-treem (Oct 17, 2002 12:02PM)
Well said Kris you nailed it right on the head.

Especially with the back up plan.

The inescapable just needs practice and knowledge to escape from.

There are times that something seems impossible, I put it on the back burner and come back to it once I study what is needed to do the escape.

I'm still willing to help handsfree but not in public.