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Topic: Out of My Lane with a Question
Message: Posted by: joe yang (Mar 11, 2011 08:55AM)
How does one practice selecting and handling willing, highly suggestable subjects?

I stage martial arts illusions. There is a body of stuff I finally figured out how to stage. (Thanks to all the wonderful inspiration and creativity on Magic Café!) Think "Georgia Magnet meets George Dillman". LOL!

The problem is, all the real training and experience is OJT, fraudulent martial arts demonstrations and seminars. For ethical reasons, I won't go that route.

I don't do an exposure show. I preface every performance with very firm disclaimers. Then I knock myself out to make everything look as theatrical and real as possible.

Making it look real means real volunteers, who aren't coached in advance. Creating good theater, I need practice.

I don't know where else to look for advice. I need practice handling gags using cooperative subjects, who aren't coached in advance.

Sorry if this is the wrong place. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: dmkraig (Mar 11, 2011 11:26AM)
Hi, Joe.

I don't know exactly where to post this great question, either, so here is as good of a place as any.

First, people are going to believe what they are going to believe. If you make "firm disclaimers," those who believe are going to think you "had" to do that while those who don't believe won't care what you say either. "Welcome to my show. I'm a trained professional, so don't try this at home" is enough, IMO.

I think you may find that there are lots of subtleties in choosing "compliant" volunteers. People may suggest looking for small groups of people who are clearly at your show for fun, etc. I would suggest getting a good book on stage hypnosis (or even better, taking a course). Then, during your beginning talk, you could describe how powerful the mind is and have everyone do some "pre-hypnotic tests" such as the dictionary/balloon test (AKA light-heavy) test. The people who respond most strongly and visually to these tests would make good volunteers as they are most likely to go along with your suggestions.

But it doesn't end with picking good responders. You also need to control the situation to get them to respond. This involves two things. First, you need to get them to like you so they'll be inclined to do what you ask. My favorite resource for this is the book _Instant Rapport_ by Brooks. Second, I would suggest learning how to word your instructions to your volunteers very specifically so they know exactly what they're expected to do. This can also be influenced by your body language. For example, if you say, "Please stand here at my right. Stand very straight and tall," and as you do that, if you visually put your feet together, a compliant volunteer will also put his/her feet together.

You might take a look at some of the book(lets) by Kenton Knepper as well as some of the works by Tank, Luke Jermay, etc.
Message: Posted by: bobser (Mar 11, 2011 12:07PM)
Hi Joe,
Sorry but I've failed somehow in comprehending the difference between:
a)martial art illusions and b)fraudulent martial arts demonstrations.
What IS the difference?

While I await your answer let me say that I have done Chi demonstrations where I would spar with a top instructor using my chi to stop him from coming near me whilst knocking him over several times (all of this seemed very realistic for the reason that he truly believed it was).
All of this was pre-show hypnosis. Is this what you're asking about? If so there was no chancy selection procedure involved. I would have to KNOW who I'm working with before I stand before a trained sensei in such a situation. Therefore I've been with the guy before. This is no mere challenge to invite some unskilled layperson to kick you in the balls. LOL.

Message: Posted by: joe yang (Mar 11, 2011 12:38PM)
On 2011-03-11 09:55, joe yang wrote:

I stage martial arts illusions...

...I preface every performance with very firm disclaimers....[/quote]

Sorry if I didn't make it clearer. I tell the audience up front I am a magician, staging a contemporary, interpretive reconstruction of traditional, Asian street theater. Fake martial arts is a huge, medieval folk theater tradition.

That is a whole other thread. And before anyone gets the wrong idea, let me repeat. I am not doing an exposure show. I don't give anything away. I am not saying the things I do can't be done for real, either. Are there frauds out there? Sure. That is also another thread.

My problem is, I'm at the rehearsal stage for some new stuff. I believe in rehearsal. This stuff requires willing, easily suggestable volunteers who aren't coached in advance. I would like to get some realistic rehearsal with this kind of volunteers. My family and friends all ready know too much to help. Does anyone have any suggestions? This seemed like a likely place to ask.

As I stated, I'm out of my lane here. I am asking as a guest. Thanks.

I'm not doing any hypnosis but I am looking around and it seems like
Message: Posted by: joe yang (Mar 11, 2011 06:14PM)
DMKraig, Thanks for your helpful replies and the referenced literature, that;s just what I was looking for. Nothing I do in performance looks anything like hypnosis and I'm going to get back in my lane. LOL!
Message: Posted by: Scott M (Mar 11, 2011 08:16PM)
This is like a martial arts version of Telepathy In Action?

You may want to contact Pakar Ilusi as he may do some of what you are asking about.

Abnormal Lift by David Neuman has a potential. Works of Kentonism, Enrique Enriquez and TIA all have a possibility to learn from and to incorporate your premise into for creating your own 'performance'.

Waking hypnosis and stage hypnotism will enhance any performer in learning how to build suggestibility.

After that, practice mentally and in person will only refine what you have learned. You know that.

Keep us updated.

-Scott M
Message: Posted by: joe yang (Mar 11, 2011 09:27PM)
On 2011-03-11 21:16, Scott M wrote:

Waking hypnosis and stage hypnotism will enhance any performer in learning how to build suggestibility.

After that, practice mentally and in person will only refine what you have learned. You know that.

Keep us updated.

-Scott M

Thanks Scott, that's the kind of stuff I'm looking for. I have a working show now. I'm just adding some new material. I have the routines, and the handling, the how to stuff. I'm looking for reherasal tips.

I'm using some trusted friends now, but they know what I'm doing, what I'm trying to do and how it is done. It just isn't the same.