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Topic: Needing advice
Message: Posted by: arcylic (Feb 21, 2012 08:21AM)
I'm not so much as new to magic as I am still very much an amateur, despite 20 years of learning some tricks. My biggest problem, however, is that I have relatively small hands, and as such, it's hard for me to palm a card correctly and perform other sleights. So, what can I do to be able to master things like the invisible pass, palming a card, etc?

I do practice the invisible pass quite often, trying to see if I can make it work somehow, despite my hands. One problem I've noticed is that the cards are very audibly scraping against each other. This happens with the Cardini change, too. Is there any way I can muffle the sound (aside from talking over it), or am I doomed to trying to cover that sound?

Thanks for any advice you can give!
Message: Posted by: davidpaul$ (Feb 21, 2012 08:39AM)
Jonathan Kamm demo's a great pass.
I believe he sells a tutorial for this and other moves on his website.

Many great card workers have small hands so I know it's just a matter of technique. Jay Sankey has a great demonstration at the end of one of his Dvds which Jonathan Kamm told me is where he adapted his technique. Can't remember which DVD it is at the moment.
Don't give up..you'll get it!!
Message: Posted by: EXTREMENINJA1 (Feb 21, 2012 08:50AM)
I have a similar problem with palming. However small hands may give you a psychological edge because the audience will think because you have small hands you won't be able to hide anything in them. As for actually palming a card you may have to use more misdirection than usual to accomplish it. Perhaps you could turn around under the pretence of not wanting to see a card or something and palm it then. As for the pass I don't know how you can muffle the sound. Perhaps you could try a different form of the pass? Maybe the classic pass?
Message: Posted by: borderjs (Feb 21, 2012 09:36AM)
I too thought originally that my hands were too small to perform a lot of the moves in card magic. However, I have found that you may just have to mess around with the technique a bit to fit your hands. For example I thought I would never be able to do a charlier cut with my small hands but now I can do it pretty well.
Message: Posted by: arcylic (Feb 22, 2012 02:22PM)
Thanks for the advice, guys. I'm trying out new ways to conceal passes and palms, and I'll definitely look into getting Kamm's tutorials. I've been subscribed to his channel for a while, too.

Thanks again!
Message: Posted by: leechiswell (Feb 23, 2012 03:18AM)
I think it's natural for almost everyone to think their hands are too small when they first start learning to palm, however it is almost always not the case. If your hand is actually big enough to hold the card between the pad of your fourth finger and the base of your thumb then you can palm a card, it's just a matter of practice.

I thouught the same thing myself, and my hands really aren't big (I can [i]just[/i] fit a poker sized card into the required position). But I've played with it a lot and done a few tricks that require a palm, and I've had some amazing reactions.

I think the best way to get comfortable with any sleight is do a fairly easy trick with it, but one that you like and [i]want[/i] to learn and perform. There are some that are relatively easy in terms of palming, since the effect has built-in motivation for the palming actions and suitable misdirection for holding out the palmed card. One such example is "three cards across" from The Royal Road to Card Magic. It is a fantastic trick and not that hard to do (for the reasons mentioned above). But it will build your confidence in palming, and the reactions you can get from it should inspire you to continue working on it. It is also explained in great detail on R. Paul Wilson's excellent Royal Road DVD set.

One other suggestion would be (if all else fails) to try using bridge sized cards instead of poker sized.
Message: Posted by: Dirtytrix (Feb 23, 2012 06:21AM)
Leechiswell just beat me to it - if indeed your hands are on the small side - try a smaller size deck. If you're currently using US regulation poker cards then maybe try using a 'Bridge' size deck. They are just that bit smaller and might make all the difference.

As has already been alluded to, you might think your hands are too small particularly whilst you practice the technique which might not feel so natural at first, especially if mentally you're focussing so much on the perfect concealment of the palmed card - but the reality is probably not the case and your hands are just fine.

You could get yourself a bridge size deck to practice with, but once the technique starts to come naturally then go back to the poker size deck. It might help you overcome the focus of concealing something which feels quite unatural in your hand, and from personal experience this was my own barrier. Physically having something in your hand immediately starts to make your hand look and move differently - what you're actually trying to acheive is retaining that natural stance you have in your hand when it's physically empty.

I was focussing on hiding the card completely and perfectly which induced a whole host of unatural movements which just put the heat right on the deck and my hand. It's a tricky thing to nail down if you're just practicing in the mirror and looking at your own hand to see if you can spot something. Also, asking your partner to see if they can spot anything isn't the way to practice palming either because you can never benefit from some off-beat misdirection which is really what makes a palm truly invisible. If you want to practice palming in front of someone then don't tell them you're practicing palming and just do it within a simple routine or effect - if they say nothing at all then you know you've nailed it.

The fact is, once you start to palm a card and make it look and feel natural there are certain things that become apparent which are probably more important that the physical concealment itself. Your hand motions, positioning, movements are all things which sell it far more convincingly that merely concealing the card - if your posture and gesturing along with some kind of off-beat misdirection takes the heat off the deck as well as your hand then the truth is that even a sloppy palm won't get noticed. No one is even going to be looking for it.

Some do's and don'ts:-

Don't try and hold all your fingers tightly together when trying to palm and conceal a card, it makes your hand look rigid and unnatural - ask yourself, who holds their hand like that ever?

Don't stick out your thumb - the 'fish-hook thumb' is a dead give away.

Don't move your hand from the deck once you've palmed your card, instead move the deck from your hand - the eye follows the moving object, so don't make the hand concealing the card that object.

Don't keep your hand in full view if you don't need to. Once you've palmed your card and you've moved the deck away just pause a second before letting your hand drop to your side or onto the table or whatever seems natural. Don't rush to get your hand out of the main action zone either.

Do relax your hand whilst palming, you can even get away with quite a perceivable gap between your fingers which helps to conceal the card at the edges easier, which is probably more important. With the angles right no one is going to see through your fingers - so try not to present the back of your hand vertical and right in front of the gaze of a spectator, it looks unatural anyway.

Do rest your thumb on your first finger - doing that helps to adopt a relaxed anf natural curved posture in your fingers and when you relax your hand everything else should follow. Even a casual gesture with your relaxed hand won't draw attention, but in fact conceals it even better than keeping it perfectly still. A rigidly still hand can draw as much heat from a spectators gaze as a rapidly fidgeting one.

Do engage in some casual banter while you're in the process of palming - commenting on a ladies dress or necklace works well but can be a bit cliche and obvious. I've even gone as far as inviting another spectator to stand in closer and in a slightly different position to supposedly allow them to see more, and whilst everyone was shuffling around and trying not to get in each others 'personal space' too much, boom it's done.

B Natural - the perfect physical concealment of the card is probably less important than you think.

Just my two pennies and I hope this helps.

Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Feb 23, 2012 07:03AM)
No excuses!!!

Message: Posted by: Yekrats (Feb 23, 2012 10:32AM)
There's a 12-year-old kid who just joined our IBM ring that can do a very good pass. The kid's got pretty small hands, but he's got magic mojo with cards.

It steams me, because I've been working on the pass for 3 years, and just now I'm feeling good with it, and this kid works on it for a few months, and has it down. (It only steams me in a "I wish I had started at his age" sort of way! :) That danged nimble video game generation!

So, size isn't everything, and probably not even in the top five! More important is audience management, misdirection, mental attitude, and practice-practice-practice.
Message: Posted by: borderjs (Feb 23, 2012 10:50AM)
On 2012-02-23 08:03, Josh the Superfluous wrote:
No excuses!!!


That's amazing dedication to a craft.
Message: Posted by: Mark Jarvis (Feb 28, 2012 09:03AM)
Hi Arcylic,

I don't use the pass in my card magic. I like to control the cards to the top or bottom with a shuffle or a cut. I feel I can accomplish the same outcome as a pass with a simpler method. I do have a friend that uses Derek Dingleís Riffle Pass found in The Complete Works of Derek Dingle pages 56 to 59. His hands are not very big and the pass is invisible and is designed no to be silent.

I do palm a lot for card to wallet and card to pocket. As Dirtytrix mentioned, palming on the offbeat truly makes the palm invisible. I have found this to be true as I have had performances where I didnít execute a very good palm but it flew right by based upon the timing and misdirection. I am amazed when that happens and it always proves to me the importance of a well thought out and motivated routine.

If you donít have The Complete Works of Derek Dingle, and you want more information on the Riffle Pass to see if it's for you, PM me and I can send you a copy of the pages I refer to above.

Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 29, 2012 07:46AM)
It's all in the mind. Join a magician club near you. It is a good chance you will see someone else with small hands, who is performing well. It will make a great inspiration.
Message: Posted by: djurmann (Feb 29, 2012 08:49AM)
Not giving you any excuses but....I have big hands, and yes it is easier.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 29, 2012 10:50AM)
I've never thought the IP was all that necessary to great card work. Once you get the move, then you need to work on the noise. Once you master that, then you need great reflexes for when the spec blinks.

In spite of this, it is some sort of Everest for many of us. I work on it all the time-never use it in a performance. Never seen one done, IN PERSON, that was truly invisible. Give me a good Elmsley or top change any day.

You just need to keep working on it. In the meantime, however, work up some other great card stuff until that day comes when it just all happens right. I am still practicing, and waiting...