(Close Window)
Topic: The importance of learning the basics (another excerpt)
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Dec 12, 2005 05:34PM)
In another post titled [url=http://themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=110820&forum=41]Don't be a clone[/url] I posted a portion of an article for a book I'm working on. This is another excerpt for that project. I know it needs some editing but I'll go back and edit things later when I finish the basic writing. I'd love to know what you think of it.

[b]The importance of learning the basics[/b]

The absolute worse thing you could do to yourself if you hope for any chance of success in magic is to skip the basics. Learning the basics of anything youíre interested in doing is important because unless you know the basics youíre unlikely to understand the more advanced aspects of that interest. A mechanic wouldnít be any good if he didnít know how to use the tools required to do the job. The same thing applies in magic yet there are so many out there who donít have the patients to learn the essential basics before moving onto the more interesting things.

Now I realize that what I consider basics might not be the same as what youíll need in your style of performing. But until youíve developed your own performing style thereís no way you can possible know what youíll need to know later in your magic studies. So it might be a good idea to listen to those who are more experienced and consider giving their suggestions a try. So if itís card magic that seems to most interest you. Look up some card magicians and ask them what they feel are essential basic things you should know in that category of magic. For instance you might look for things written by a famous card magician. Thereís plenty of knowledge out there to be purchased and you must be willing to give a little to those who have shared there knowledge with the rest of us.

Now why is it so important to learn the basics when you can buy a trick and learn everything you need to know right from those instructions?

First of all, without knowing the basics you might not even understand the instructions to the trick you picked up. Most of them wonít even explain how to do moves that are basic moves that every magician probably knows anyway. At least they all should know them. For example if a card trick requires you to do a top change. The instructions to that trick will probably just say, ďDo a top changeĒ. It wouldnít describe how to do that move because if youíve purchased that trick you should be advanced enough to know that move already. If you donít then you should probably go back and learn more of the basics before you purchase that trick. This doesnít mean you should return that trick or anything. It just means you should now purchase something that will teach you the required move. So you just put that trick away. Pick up the book that teaches how to do the move required (Top change in this example). Then once youíve mastered that pull the trick back out and master it too. This is the one going process in magic that will never end and itís one of the aspects of magic I most enjoy. Iíll always have something to learn and practice.

What if most magicians consider a move a basic move but I never have a use for it?

How do you know youíll never have a use for it? You never know what will happen during the course of a performance. If youíre doing a card trick you could accidentally loose a break and you really have no idea where their card is. Someone could bump into you and knock the cards out of your hand. You could find the right card and the person could lie to you and say itís wrong even though you know theyíre lying. Just about anything is possible and youíre only chance to get out of that situation is to have options to choose from. The truth is itís usually a basic magic concept that will give you the most options.

As for the example of accidentally loosing the break and you really have no idea what card they selected or where it is in the deck. What could you do if this ever happened to you? Iíll share a few examples on this later but itís the kind of think mode you need to put yourself in. When something goes wrong figure out what youíd do if that happened again and the next time youíll be prepared for it.

A true story:
[i]I watched a magician performing a show in a local mall. He was doing a silk routine where silks kept magically changing colors. Although the act was pretty much like most silk acts Iíve ever seen he was doing all the moves pretty well. No major mistakes happened until he accidentally dropped his dye tube on the floor. What did he do when this happened? He picked the dye tube up off the floor. Held it up so everyone got a good look at it and said, ďWell, now you know how thatís done donít youĒ.[/i]

That was absolutely the worse thing he could have done in this situation. I understand that at the time he had to think quick but if he had more knowledge of the basics he would have been able to think of many other things he could have done at that moment.
After the show I talked to the guy. I was nice to him of course and told him that he did a good job because he really did except this one mistake. When I gave him a few suggestions of what to do in case that ever happened again he replied that he didnít know anything else other then what was in that act.

I felt this was ridiculous. Hereís a guy doing silk magic but he doesnít know how to vanish anything (Which is something he could have done to the dye tube). He didnít know how to do any other tricks with a silk unless he had that dye tube (He could have just kicked the dye tube away and did something else with the silk).

So as you can see, if he had learned the basics he would have had many options to choose from when that unexpected thing happened. But because he skipped the basics and only learned the one routine with those objects he was stuck and couldnít think of anything better to do at that moment.

[b]Some Basic moves to learn[/b]

As I said before, thereís no way I can give you a list of all the basic things you should learn because I have no idea what your interests are. But the big question is. Do you know what they are yet? Iíll tell you that Iíve been doing magic for years and I still learn things that other magicians felt where basic tricks to them. So what Iím going to do is make a list of moves and tricks that I feel are essential for anyone who is fairly knew to magic and plans to perform on a regular basis. Iíll try to break them down into categories but youíll find that most of these that I consider basics mainly apply to close up or parlor magic. Also note that there are many variations of some of these moves. Iíll only make mention of the basic move here. Which version of the move you learn will depends on the source you learn it from.

∑ Top Change
∑ Double Lift (Or turn over)
∑ Second Deal
∑ Elmsley count
∑ Bottom Deal
∑ Tilt move
∑ Alignment Move
∑ Classic Palm
∑ Top Palm
∑ Bottom Palm
∑ Side Steal
∑ One handed Cut
(Needed for some locator card methods)
∑ A Pass (Quite a variety)
∑ Half Pass
(Single card or Packet of cards)
∑ Two card Push off
∑ A variety of forces including a classic force

∑ Finger Pam
∑ Classic Palm
∑ Thumb Palm
∑ Back Palm
∑ Goshman Pinch
∑ Downs Palm
∑ French Drop
∑ Visual Retention Vanish
∑ Shuttle Pass
∑ Classic Palm Pass/vanish
∑ Thumb palm pass/vanish
∑ Inertia pass
∑ Spell bound moves
∑ Gallo Pitch

[b]Above list is incomplete. They are just the moves that came to mind as I was writing.[/b]

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: dark kard (Dec 12, 2005 05:40PM)
Nice artical I enjoyed it and learned a lot thanks for posting it.

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Dec 12, 2005 07:45PM)
I am in absolute agreement with you, Jaxon. Gotta have a basic "vocabulary" to expand on. Some fundamental tools that will allow for the development of versatility. Definitely. Thanks for another great post. :)
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Dec 12, 2005 10:26PM)
Great article, Ron. Well thought out and explained. You certainly covered all the standard moves for cards and coins. I personally don't think the pass is necessary in cards, even though I can do a couple. Daryl made a believer out of me that there are better ways to control a card. But that is just personal preference. Any one who seriously wants to learn either card or coin magic, should at least be familiar with all those basics, if not very skilled in them. Keep it up, great stuff.
Message: Posted by: Pinto2 (Dec 13, 2005 06:26AM)
Great post as always Jaxon, I totally agree with you on the basics. But are you planing to explain how to do any of the moves you mentioned or is your book intended to just create knowledge about magic in general.
Message: Posted by: rmoraleta (Dec 13, 2005 07:31AM)
Same here!
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Dec 13, 2005 11:50AM)
Thanks everyone.

This article is far from over. What I'm doing is sitting down and writing about the topics that come to mind. Write out the basic idea or my thoughts on the issue. Then I'll go back and add some flesh to them. This article is just what I typed when I sat down to write about this issue.

I thought about teaching how to do some of the basic moves. But like I said in the article. My basic may not always be a basic move for someone else. Above in photius's post he mentioned that he doesn't have much use for a pass where I have many uses for it. So I'm not sure if I'll go over every basic move I can find but I'm still thinking about that.

I will teach some moves though and the book will teach some tricks. For example in this article about using the basics I'll add a few examples of something going wrong during a trick and teach a few basic moves that could get someone out of that situation. Take the card trick I mentioned in the article and you accidentally loose the break. I'll share methods to get out of that situation.

In another article I wrote for this I go over the three types of sleights. The three types of sleights are divided on how they are presented. Some moves are intended to copy a natural action and no one is supposed to know a move has been done (Such as a double lift). Some moves are done in the open and magic happens the moment the move is done (Such as producing a card from back palm). Then they are moves that no one sees you do at all and if they see you do it the trick is ruined (such as stealing a ball from a ball dropper). In that article I talk about why some magicians present the different kinds of moves poorly and why it's important to understand how to present these moves. I'll be going over some tricks and teaching how to do them in this chapter to help illustrate the lesson.

Anyway, that's how I'm thinking on the issue of including tricks and moves in the book now but I'm still deciding on that. What do you think? I really appreciate the feed back.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: toolman22 (Dec 13, 2005 12:33PM)
As a begginer and someone who is still trying to master the basics. I find it sometimes hard to understand the arthor when he is explaing a sleight in all text. I sometimes wish they would put more pictures with the sleight.
Hope this helps
Message: Posted by: SuperMagicMozart (Dec 13, 2005 02:22PM)
Some of those seem to pass from basic to advanced, in my opinion.
Message: Posted by: LDM (Dec 13, 2005 04:10PM)
Just to let you know, Ron, you said "finger pam", not "finger palm". I got a lot out of that article, thanks.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Dec 13, 2005 06:02PM)
Before publishing anything check your spelling Jaxon.

The list does seem to go beyond "basic moves".

Jaxon, have a look here at Bill Palmer's topic in Secret Sessions,
may give some insight as to what others consider basic.

I would add Breaks, Jog Shuffle Controls and False Cuts for cards.

Bobo's covers some basic, easy and workable sleights for coins and Lorayne's early works does the same for cards. Worth looking at.

It really is subjective as to when basic becomes intermediate, etc.
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Dec 13, 2005 09:55PM)
On 2005-12-13 13:33, toolman22 wrote:
As a begginer and someone who is still trying to master the basics. I find it sometimes hard to understand the arthor when he is explaing a sleight in all text. I sometimes wish they would put more pictures with the sleight.
Hope this helps

That is why there are videos and DVD's, Lots of good ones out there that teach both basic and advanced sleights. Harry Lorrayne's are good, Daryl's, Jeff McBrides, all for cards, lots of others for coins, spongeballs, just about anything.
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Dec 14, 2005 01:07PM)
Yea, I think there are so many sources out there that teach basic moves that it would be a waist for me to include instructions for them all in this book. I think a better route would be to mention some of them and suggest some sources for where to learn them. For instance in card magic I might suggest the encyclopedia of card trick. For coins Bobo's. etc. etc.

Thanks for pointing out my spelling and grammar errors. I'll definitely have everything proofread.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: calexa (Dec 20, 2005 07:20AM)
The basics are fundamental in magic. I agree with you Jaxon that you need a profund knowledge of the basic moves. I only disagree with your list of moves - there you list some moves which I would not consider "basic". But thatīs of course only my opinion.

Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Dec 20, 2005 02:41PM)
I'm not doubting anyone's suggestion that some of the moves on the list (which are only the ones that came to mind as I wrote) are above basic moves. I'd appreciate your opinions on which ones you don't think are basic moves and possibly explain why.

I know that my basic moves won't be the same as someone else's. When I was writing that list I was thinking about all the moves I've ever found useful in situations where something went wrong. So I was thinking of moves that would present many options and have many uses.

BTW - Thanks for the link JAZ. That discussion is a good one and I'm sure it'll be helpful.

Ron Jaxon