If you're just starting out in Cardistry (or flourishing) then I hope you have done your homework and gone back to how it all began. It started out underground and small - when I was young there were only a few resources. Remember Xtreme Handz? They used to put out some of the best resources and back then it wasn't called "cardistry" or "flourishing" it was called XCM - and it stood for Extreme Card Manipulation.
Isn't that awesome? I wish it was still called XCM, sounds cooler.
I tend to think of it like Skateboarding and BMX. For one, riding a bike is about getting from point A to point B, same with skateboarding. But, along the way people started to use those tools for a new purpose. BMX moved into the realm of racing which is super cool, but it also moved further into trick cycling. People started to use bikes (and skateboards) to do tricks.
Cards are also tools.
Now, cards have always been used to do "tricks" but cardistry and flourishing have taken those subtle hidden moves and given them new life and pushed them out into the light. Cardistry is now sleight of hand on speed. It's beautiful, it's acrobatic and it's a form of juggling.
Yes, juggling. You can't think of juggling anymore as clowns throwing balls in the air, mainstream juggling has proven this is a highly crafted art form. People juggle everything from chainsaws to live animals. Don't believe me? Look up "Pen juggling" on youtube and you'll find guys doing a lot of the same moves cardistry uses except with pens.
I say this because I once had a kid tell me that his favorite magician was Zach Mueller. And I am sure that Zach IS a great card magician, but here is the thing.... I've never seen him do a magic trick! Have you? My point is, Zach doesn't market himself as a magician, nor does he call himself a magician. Is he awesome? Absolutely, probably the best there is! But a magician and a juggler are 2 different things.
Can you be both? You sure can. But, I have made my 'focus' on magic and not juggling.
And I will tell you why.....
For me, cardistry is pulling the curtain back on process too far. My point as a card magician is for my audience to believe that the "solution" to the trick is magic and NOT my technical skill.
I never want anyone to believe (or know) that I have any "skills" with card manipulation.
As soon as they can see that I know fancy moves, they will assume that all my card tricks are done with sleight of hand. You see, audiences already know the term 'sleight of hand' lay people already know the phrase 'the hand is quicker than the eye' so why would I was to enforce those already preconceived ideas?
And it seems the card magic legends agree with me. Consider these following quotes.
"A conjurer is not a juggler, he is an actor playing the part of a magician"
“Never tell the audience how good you are, they will soon find out for themselves.”
“The worst reason to do magic is the desire to display your superiority to your fellow humans.” Roberto Giobbi
"Without proper presentation, the best sleight of hand is nothing more than a feat of juggling." Nate Leipzig
Those are all terrific, but my favorite one is below and it's from card magician Wesley James, this was taken from the book Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone and I highly recommend reading it.
"...That an open show of skill, however brief, is deadly during a magic act, because it gives the audience a reason not to believe. Even if they don't figure out the method, they'll attribute the effect to manual dexterity and not to magic... You're giving them the secret to everything you do. Magic is not about selling your prowess, it's about the effect you create - a profound violation of the natural laws of the universe. I don't want them to think I'm skillful, I'm a magician not a juggler. A juggler is selling skill. I want to get credit for my magic, not the skill.... This is not to say that the technique isn't important in magic - it's crucial - but must remain invisible at all times. There can be no man behind the curtain. There can't even be a curtain."
So there you have it. My philosophy and the reason I don't do giant fans or fancy shuffles. That's not my character. That's not my focus as an artist. We're all different and we should celebrate our differences.
I don't celebrate my prowess.
I don't want people to think I am skilful.
I'm a magician, not a juggler.
* Hey, this is my opinion it's not the end all end all. I can admit I have room to grow and new things to discover all of the time. If you have something to say or an opinion to share, i'd love to hear it