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A Bad Move

By Andi Gladwin - Sunday, November 1, 2020


Last time I wrote, I shared an idea of focussing on one move for a short period to help learn it most effectively. But having been practising magic for over two decades, this has meant that I have learned countless moves that I have never used in my repertoire. And I don't just mean that I've casually acquainted myself with those moves; I've really spent quality time learning them to bring them up to performance quality.

Why did I bother putting in that effort? What will I ever get back from spending all that time on moves that I'll probably never use in a full routine? Well, many magicians will tell you that I completely wasted my time and that I should have spent that time focusing on my existing repertoire, or on finding tricks and moves that I'd actually perform. They're right, right? Well, to me, they're not right — and you can tell 'em that I said that too.

Anything that promotes growth in magic is far from wasteful. Playing with these moves is how I relax in magic and I strongly believe that it is one of the main things that keep me so passionate about this art.

Card palm

There are other advantages too. For example, learning to execute a move perfectly (regardless of how often you use it in performance) will have a bonus knock-on effect to the other moves that you perform too. Every move that you learn will help you better understand how you should execute others. You might be able to apply the same stance, misdirectional ploys or tension that you learned from one move into other moves in your repertoire. And that's a good thing.

Plus, the time that you spend working on those moves might one day be required. If you accidentally control a card to second from the top, you can just use that weird stud second deal you once learned. If you lose your break, you can apply those estimation techniques you used to play with. And if you forgot the card you just forced, I'm sure you can apply that glimpse that you learned a while back.


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