Flourishes, Cardistry, and Fidgeting, oh my!

Lately, I've been working on a couple of different cardistry moves. Nothing that I've created, and things that have been around for years, but new to me at least.

I wanted to write about the practice I've been putting in and some of the tips and tricks I've come up with, but each time I thought about it more, there were other random thoughts that kept coming up. So today's post is less of tips-and-tricks and more of a brain dump of thoughts about cardistry because that's what the world needs more of =P

When I was a kid, I had never heard of cardistry... or "extreme card magic" as it would have been called back then. The only flourishes I knew of were from Royal Road and those were pretty basic themselves.

Fast forward to a few years ago when I started back into magic, I see YouTube clips left and right about all of these crazy cuts and flips and whoozawhatsits. And then, there are also a decent number of magicians in books and on video (DVDs, downloads, and also YouTube) saying how they never use flourishes and cardistry is not magic.

Okay, we can agree, cardistry is not "magic". It's deftness and dexterity with a deck of cards, and it looks pretty cool. Also, though it's not magic, a lot of cardists can produce a four of a kind in a way better display than magicians can... so there's that.

I have gotten pretty good at one-handed cuts over the years. Charlier, Scissor, Revolution, and a handful of others that are combinations and modifications of those that I've come up with. Other than Charlier, the others are purely just flourishes and fidget moves. I do tend to absentmindedly do one-handed cuts nonstop if there's a deck in my hand and I'm busy with other things, but I like to think that it's all helping with overall flexibility of my hands (or... the one hand).

And then this happened... a few weeks ago I was on my lunch break and decided to hop over to YouTube and one of the recommended videos was TOP 3 ONE HANDED CUTS || CARDISTRY TUTORIAL. "Oh nice, I love one handed cuts!," I thought to myself. The video teaches Skirt by Tobias Levin, Reretrigger by Oliver Sogard, and Shady by Edgar Isaac. After a couple of days of practice of each of them, I can successfully still do a Charlier, Scissor, and Revolution cut =/

What's the legality of cardistry tutorials on YouTube? Or, in books for that matter?

With magic, someone creates a routine and publishes it. It's theirs, and if anyone else dares to make a tutorial on it and sell it (or even give it away for free), they're shunned by the magic community. Though, I'm pretty sure the majority of the same community will flock to the free version but hey, who am I to judge their morality.

Cardistry though, there is no "secret". It's art, as is magic, but is flourishing with cards as protected as... well, I guess also flourishing with cards but to the tune of a story?

I've learned the majority of cardistry moves from YouTube, I'm not going to lie. I never thought about it until very recently that some of these things I'm watching may have been created, and sold, by someone else. I own plenty of books that have "flourishes" in them, but the majority of these are fancy fans and Z-cuts. In the Classic Green Collection, there's a whole section dedicated to Z-cut flourishes too... which I'm also not good at. Did Lennart Green invent these, or pick them up from someone else? I have a few downloads (from Vanishing Inc., mostly) that teach cardistry moves -- they're pretty great, but the overall video quality rivals that of some of the better YouTube videos too so I really wonder, are they just hoping to get a few bucks from sales and know that in a short time it'll be free online?

Oh, and in case you were curious about what cardistry moves I've been working on (and actually trying to get down):

I picked up basic moves back in the beginning of my magic journey, things like the Sybil Cut and the Werm. Though, I tried doing the Werm just the other day for a photo... yeah, I need to practice that one again =P. I also started the Comfy Cut and some card aerials, so I'm widening my repertoire a bit. Oh yeah, I also practiced KTCHING by Dimitri Arleri for about a week. It's quite different from other things I've done and is a little less "flexibility" and more "handling" so I think it'll help with balance here-and-there.

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