I can recall taking general education courses throughout my undergraduate studies at Murray State University. I didn’t mind, I understood that Gen Ed courses are meant to broaden your base knowledge. I do recall many complaining about the seeming inconvenience of having to take these courses that “have nothing to do with my career”. Keep that mindset / argument in mind for a moment. Cardistry is an allied art form to magic. It isn’t “magical” in of itself. The art form is taking cards and manipulating them much like a contact juggler manipulates a small sphere. The practice has been around for ages and has gone by various names; cardistry, card flourish, card manipulation and XCM (Extreme Card Manipulation).
I got into cardistry much later than most. I come at it from a magician background and tradition. I was having a brief conversation with a fellow magician on the matter and what he said sparked the idea to write this article. My magi friend said, rather asked; “is it worth the time?”. Both cardistry and magic take a LOT of time to master and get good at. I got to thinking…
Even though you may NEVER have to solve a algebra equation after your undergraduate university class, the problem solving training you received from that class will be used by you throughout your life. Germ Theory and the biology of single cellular organisms may not carry any weight for you, but if you are ever in a situation where you need a DIY first aid and no medical professional is around – you know that you can’t treat a viral infection with a antibiotic. That knowledge you have came about because you were required to take some courses that gave you the tools necessary to solve problems. Cardistry and magic supplement each other the same way.
Learning cardistry has helped me get more acquainted with the mechanics of my hands, fingers & joints. While I may not do a lot of cardistry during a magic show performance, I am made more aware of what my hand is capable of, which is useful when it comes to intricate and complex sleight of hand techniques.
Biomechanics aside, learning, practicing & performing cardistry alongside traditional mainline magic can help you separate yourself from the novice, beginner or hobbyist. It can help you appear more like an authority figure. It makes you LOOK like you know what you are doing. If you choose to incorporate cardistry into your card magic, it will also give another visual aid in maintaining attention from the audience.
With the rise of social media video posting – many people have found lucrative niche markets in cardistry alone. Some have teamed up with various brands and even have their own playing card product lines.