What's the secret behind being smooth?

Discussion in 'Cardistry & Flourishing Forum' started by Tony aka Marche, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Well first off let me start off my introducing myself, my name is Tony aka Marche and I've been a card flourisher for almost 2 years now. I've been searching around for a lot of good card flourishing site and so I've stumbled on this one awhile back. I've always been interested in different people styles but I've been wanting to know how can you make everything appear so smoothly is it just a lot of practice or is there actually a secret behind it?
  2. Welcome to the forums! The secret to being smooth is to be fluid. Make all your motions coincide with one another and form them to a rhythm. Try and make your hands play the music of the cards. Consider it this way:

    If someone is playing music, and their hand motions are tense and choppy, the rhythm is lost and the music doesn't sound beautiful. When they do work with one another and move with grace, the music is now beautiful.

    Don't led speed take over your mind. Would you listen to a choppy yet quick piece of music? Or a graceful and flowing piece? If you perform your card flourishing, or even card magic to your audience, they would most definitely be impressed with the gracefulness and fluidity of your motions and how they all make the final product look so damn good. After you have perfected the fluidity of the moves, then it is time to focus on speed (if you want to speed it up).

    Hopefully these tips help you out on your journey! Again, welcome to the forums! Your stay here will be pleasant, as we have many experienced members here to help you out whenever you need it. :)
  3. To simplify Casey's post:

    Welcome to the forums. You will have a nice time, and lots of guys here know their stuff and will be willing to help you, provided you help yourself. If you need to know what not to do on the forums, search for the user "towtox".

    As far as making flourishing smooth and fast:
    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

    Find a rhythm which you can keep that suits you. After that, it's practice time. Not much to it, really. Cardistry's a diverse branch which shouldn't be done exactly the same, because adding your own style and flair to it really makes it unique.
  4. I don't know if this will help you but i found myself doing smoother flourishes when i practice to songs. I like to listen to slow and calm songs which make my flourishes come out like that. If I listen to faster songs I will move my hands faster. I hope this helps you because I'm not sure if it will work with everybody.
  5. Smooth

    The biggest thing I focus on when practicing cardistry is being calm. So many cardists rush through their practicing and they don't put enough time into getting each motion correct because they worry so much on becoming better then the pros. That tends to lead to a lot of frustration. Cardistry requires a lot of patience and if you can calmly approach it and focus on not trying to be the best of the best then I feel you actually get more out of it and you will be able to relax and make your moves a lot smoother. The secret to smoothness in my mind is reminding myself that cardistry is not a race and I should respect how beautiful it can be when you take your time and enjoy practicing.
  6. Listen to Mr.Ramirez. He knows what he is talking about.

    As far as I do it though, when I learn a flourish I do it very specifically. First, I watch the explanation a few times and then go through the motions. Then I break the flourish into smaller parts and focus on getting those CORRECT. When I know I am doing it right, I start to do it at the same speed over and over again. I then begin to gradually speed things up and this has helped me a ton as far as smoothness goes.

    Granted, I am not Dan and Dave or Virtuoso, it works for me. Try it out and see whether it helps!
  7. Steroids. Without a doubt.
  8. #9 Andrei, Nov 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2010
    Yes, steroids fer shizzle.

    Smoothness is directly proportional to speed, difficulty, and tensity. The more speed, difficulty, or tensity the stunt (and/or card artist) possesses, the more difficult it becomes to execute smoothly.

    Mathematically speaking, think of smoothness like a line graph. Imagine a line representing speed, if the graph shows jagged edges, ie: /\ , it is indicative of something choppy. However, a speed CURVE would indicate a smooth execution. In a realistic approach, a card flourish starts slow for a split second and almost instantly generates speed, before the execution is complete, the flourish must SLOWLY come to a stop (for a split second it slows down to a halt as opposed to abruptly ending). Essentially, smoothness is variable speed in motion via slow, fast, slow (and other varying degrees although the example is primarily most common). To retain smoothness throughout a flourish, a constant speed helps (be it slow or fast), hiccups in the stunt brake the flowing pattern.

    Often times, smoothness is an aesthetic choice, a combination of EASIER moves and/or usually two handed techniques will most definitely prove easier to do smooth. A card stunt executed with insane speed is infinitely more difficult to pull off than the same one done smoothly; however, the choice is best suited for each audience accordingly. If one is trying to impress a card artist, speed holds more value from a technical perspective whereas smoothness holds more aesthetic value - especially to the lay crowd.

    Being cognizant of this concept is going to help tremendously; however, experience/practice and muscle memory will solidify in your subconscious at which point you will not have to think about any of it. Aim for balance in all of your work.

    Lastly, reread this article slowly, it will help sink in a bit better.
  9. Which is why I don't do many Dan and Dave flourishes. Just molecule 4 and m4 hollywood, as the others seem too choppy cutty and not that aesthetic for my style.
  10. That was a beautiful post Andrei but I have to disagree with you on only one point. I believe that lay people like speed quite a bit more than smoothness because they do not truly understand what smoothness is. I think that smoothness is more important for cardists which is why you, D&D, and the Virts get all this amazing feedback.

    Maybe that is just me though...
  11. Thanks for all the replies everyone I have at least reread everything more then once all the info really help out, mostly the one Andrei gave me (Got it the 3rd time I read it) and the video Unkownmagician93 uploaded.
  12. #13 Andrei, Nov 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2010
    Awesome! Glad it helped, it is a bit confusing.

    When a cardist attains a certain level of aptitude when he/she has a choice between smoothness and speed, a speedy style will always prove more difficult. This is ONLY true at that particular level because a novice cardist is relatively fast but extremely choppy (aiming to finish a flourish as opposed to doing it beautifully). He/she does not understand the concept of smoothness and strives to attain it. Once attained however, the game changes completely and everything is reversed. It becomes EASIER to execute smoothly but much more difficult to maintain that flow at extreme speed.

    Speed is directly related to difficulty - the more speed the more difficult a card stunt is and vice versa. Due to the fact that smoothness is variable speed with parts of "slow" (usually a sandwich, at the beginning and end), it is safe to conclude that doing something smooth is slightly easier than doing something FAST (when I refer to fast, I do not mean choppy and ugly fast).

    The ultimate goal in technical ability is the utmost speed with relative smoothness. To compensate for the extremely high difficulty in going at lightning speed, the cardist infuses accents with his body and/or hands to slowly come to a halt (Notice: it is not necessarily always the cards coming to a slow stop but sometimes our arms, hands, or body). The last thing we remember is the last thing we see, adding these elements of choreography (which also achieve the "cool" stylish effect as a perk) seemingly make the stunt smooth when in reality, it could have been relatively choppy the whole way through and/or too difficult to do smoothly. This answers the age old question why some of us flail our arms and twist our hands - 99% of people do not understand this concept and only see this as attaining "style" or "coolness" or simply because others are doing it. For this reason, it is imperative to attain the knowledge and reasoning behind everything one does - it gives us the power to break rules for aesthetic purposes.
  13. Thanks! I can see where you are coming from but consider this - smoothness is inherently slower than a fast flourish, for this reason alone, a lay person can appreciate the mechanics of a card stunt when it is done slower. However, your point also holds validity because extreme speed is also appreciated regardless if the audience knows what is technically being achieved - if only for a brief moment. I suppose it is personal preference which will vary from one to the other which is why I stress to aim for balance in everything.
  14. Yeah, I suppose so. Thanks for taking the time to reply...now another thing. I loved your most recent post again but I have to disagree with another point again.

    When you say that doing something faster makes it more difficult, this isn't always the case...right? I am not just trying to argue with you to bother you. It's all in good fun.

    Would you agree? Or were you making a very general statement?
  15. #16 Andrei, Nov 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2010
    There are always exceptions but generally speaking, moves done extremely fast while maintaining a fair degree of flow is far more difficult to do (although not always more aesthetically pleasing). When I refer to moves being done fast, there is still a fair amount of smoothness but the primary focus is speed. Brian Tudor for example, is extremely fast but is also relatively smooth given the insanely fast speed and although the technicians can appreciate the skill, the aesthetic is somewhat lost in the process. It all comes down to choice, preference, and balance, the result of which is style and why we are unique - no choice is right or wrong.
  16. S.G.- The main point in Andrei's post that "discredits" your latest "counter argument" (I use quotations because I know we arent actually arguing here, and I hope to keep it that way.) Is when he says

    Many flourishes might be easier to do fast rather than smooth (pandora comes to mind :/), but doing flourishes fast AND retaining smoothness is very difficult. The more I think about it, I haven't really seen anyone accomplish this yet. I think of guys like Daren, but he is just very smooth, so it looks speedy. Fast and smooth, as Andrei said, isn't something most people can do, and I'd wager that the day I see it, i'll probably be picking my jaw up cause it's so damn sexy.
  17. I have a favor to ask. Since I'm not sure what is smooth and fast and restrained yet is it possiable for someone to give me some example videos of what smooth and what is the other?
  18. #19 Andrei, Nov 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2010

    I don't think there will ever come a time when you will see that. We all strive for the fastest and smoothest combination possible, I don't think there is a measurable finish line or end result.

    Brian Tudor was partially correct when he said "Smooth equals slow", although a more accurate statement would be "smooth has parts of slow" or "smooth is partly slow", smooth is not necessarily slow all the way throughout. For this reason, it is impossible to be equally focused and perfectly balanced with extreme speed and smoothness, they contradict and hate each other - they cannot both exist in the same spotlight. We aim for the perfect harmony of flow and speed, ultimately... we aim for the impossible.

    Who knows what our art will look like in 20 years? What is the meaning of life? Are we alone in the universe? Stick around to find out on the next episode of America's Top Chef...
  19. ^ I agree 100% with that post Andrei. I've seen speed and smooth, but who are we kidding? It's not REAL speed. I'm merely speculating, that if I WAS ever to see someone do a tudor-esque sybil with the smoothness of guys like daren... Well... next thing I know I'd be dividing by zero. It'd just be that awesome.

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