Oct 4, 2017
So I have begun to officially make up my mind on some touchy subjects. Let's go back to the beginning.

I was roughly 7 when I wanted to learn magic. Svengali deck etc was available at my local dollar store....

OK maybe not that far.

Here I am 30 and proud father of 2. My daughter age 8 is excited for magic thanks to the Masked Magician on TV and now is watching YouTube to learn card magic. So now my heart is rekindled to magic.

YouTube is where I began my official magic journey. The content there is tons, some good, some bad. I quickly wanted to learn every trick I could I wanted to be a sponge and before I knew it, I had only gained thousands of fragments of techniques in both magic and cardistry.

I bought books focused on some things I wanted to learn, but I have gained no skills because I chose to try and learn everything so quickly and I became a sponge of knowledge, dripping the excess being what I cant retain. This has been my method for a long time.... it has been a negative learning experience and I realized this last night.

Last night my epiphany came to be while literally working on one of the most basic card flourishes for over an hr and gaining little success.... if you guessed the Card Spring, you may have been in my shoes. It was of course a video from the sometimes hated world YouTube, but the video was of Chris Ramsay challenging a friend to document his experience learning said flourish. It motivated me to keep trying as after 3 years of dabbling with instant discouragement, I opened a new deck and got busy saying f#$@ it to destroying a deck and hand cramps. I worked at it for 90 min strait last night. And just finished another 45 min session. I can string maybe a 12" gap catching most of the cards. My cards look worn but not destroyed. I'm dropping but its progress I have not made in forever, on a technique that I have only tried maybe 1 or 2 times a day.

Then I got thinking, I have great books, Royal Road, Expert Card Technique, Card College Vol. 1, and a few others. I read them, but I only used them for knowledge. I never practiced took time to fail etc. So I shall now be practicing my card spring gaining the distance between hands. I had issues with cards rotating and other nuances but I never gave it time and practice.

I think I am going to begin my journey for a second time. I have just pulled Royal Road off the shelf, it has pages marked all through it. I wont progress past a technique till it becomes second nature almost.

So my biggest question is in addition to the card spring, how many other technogues should a second time beginner focus on at once. The first items in Royal Road is the overhand shuffle and rifle shuffle. I know the material but I cant perform it so what's the point? I want to learn them but my last method had me overwhelmed with knowledge and information. But at the same time I also want to have enough techniques at once to keep me interested instead of feeling a monotonous feeling of failure with say just working on 1 item. I guess I am asking what is too much to juggle at once?

Also tips for the card spring? I have had to move my thumb from the bottom corner a bit because the cards one spin? Also I cant catch the cards as a packet they are rotated every which way when I increase the distance between hands. Then I usually drop cards when my catching hand moves to the hand doing the spring...

I'll get it figured out. But I wanted to motivate those that maybe felt overwhelmed as well and let discouragement and the feeling of failure keep them from putting in the time. Books and YouTube do not show the countless hrs of practice most of the time that goes into learning a technique.

Until I found the video showing a mans roughly 11 hrs of practice learning the spring I have let discouragement get to me.

Link to vid:

Dont give up
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Mar 24, 2019
A good spring takes lots and lots of practice.. Nothing ever comes overnight.. Hand cramping is expected here after a while.. Many of us have practiced for years to do what we can do.. Don't be discouraged.. Stick with it, and you will triumph eventually.. It's just a deck of cards.. And you are smarter than the cards.. You can do it..

I always tell everybody the same thing, and it's true.. "It's the musician that plays the instrument.."
Oct 4, 2017
Still springing cards nonstop. Still dont have a large gap between hands but the spring is really consistent. Take turns between springs, LePaul spread, some cardistry, and tenkai palming... so much to learn.
Mar 23, 2019
The fact that you are even recognizing and talking about this on a forum shows your commitment to getting good at card magic. I think that will take you a long way!

You already know what you need to do; the question is how can you maintain your practice? I have two suggestions, and I hope you find something useful in them.

First, just play with the cards sometimes. Not false riffles or stacking or springing (unless that feels right), but just plain shuffling and fanning and whatever sleight or technique you already know that is feels good to do. Just enjoy the way the cards feel and sound. Sometimes we make our "hobbies" too much work. No one wants to pick up the cards if playing with cards always means frustration.

Second, find a trick you are passionate to learn and learn it. Or at least start to learn it. When I returned to magic about a decade ago, the first trick I tried to learn was Darwin Ortiz's "Hitchcock Aces." That is not a routine for a beginner! Many of Ortiz's tricks require some advanced technique. I am learning one right now where he says, "Okay, then you pinkie count thirteen cards and get a break. This is easy to do while you patter." <Record scratch> Not for me. Anyway, I practiced the "Aces," finding YouTube videos for the sleights he didn't explain. I treated it like ten smaller tricks. Eventually, I burned out on it. By then I have been exposed to other YouTube magicians and websites, and I had found some other, more manageable tricks for someone of my stature.

That is a long way to say that the Royal Road is a great book for learning card magic, but don't feel tied to doing all the effects and techniques. They're good to know (some of them*), don't get me wrong, but if you feel resistance to picking up the deck, it's time to find a trick or technique that you do want to learn. If you find yourself running from trick to trick, technique to technique, it might just be that you haven't found the right magician or tricks to inspire you yet.

*I still do "Topsy-Turvy Cards," one of the first tricks in Royal Road, as an opener to "test the magic" in the deck and it gets a crazy reaction for such a quick, simple trick. Even the "worst" tricks can probably be re-worked to fit someone's purpose or personality.
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