Cold Steel

Effect: Two cards are freely selected and lost in the pack while it is out of the performer's hands. He gives the cards several ornamental shuffles, then sets the deck face-down on the table.

A pocket knife is brought out, opened and its blade is thrust into the side of the pack. When the pack is split at the spot penetrated by the blade, the chosen cards are found there.

This segment of the act is structured to convey to the audience a sense of mystery and astonishing skill.

Method: In this effect Mr. Elmsley has added an original faro shuffle control (a variation of his "Fan and Weave Double Control", p. 337) to a trick of Richard Himber's. In late 1961 Mr. Himber placed on the market a card location called "Stabbed in the Pack". He supplied a letter opener, which served to estimate a certain number of cards when the blade was slid into a deck.

Mr. Himber had used the idea of mechanical estimation twice before. In the latter half of 1960 he advertised the "Solid Gold Magicharm". The purchaser was supplied with a bracelet charm in the shape of a graduation mortarboard that performed the same service as the letter opener. With this came a brass gimmick that looked like an oversized shirt stud. The gimmick had a shiner built into one surface, and was machined to cut a specific number of cards. About nine months later Mr. Himber marketed a nearly identical gimmick, without the mortarboard charm, calling it "Borrowed".

However, the idea of mechanical estimation was not original with Richard Himber. In the early 1950s Laurie Ireland sold a popular novelty location called "Little Smeller". This consisted of a comical ball-shaped head with a sharp nose that would enter the side of a pack at a predetermined depth. And before this, one might cite the thumbnail gauge, an idea of Dai Vernon's, erroneously credited to Luis Zingone in Expert Card Technique (p, 114).

Mr. Elmsley uses a handsome pocket knife as a gauge. This knife is depended on to enter the pack at a specific depth (given one card more or less). This may sound impractical or exceptionally demanding, but the technique about to be explained makes this estimation quite dependable, once you are comfortable with the necessary actions.

To discover the depth at which a particular knife will enter the pack, set a deck to the left and forwar d of the open blade. Both deck and knife must rest on a hard surface. Steady the deck with the left hand, holding it square—second finger at the front end, thumb at the inner end, fourth finger curled on the table and against the left side of the deck. Rest the tip of the left forefinger on the pack and apply light pressure to assure that any bowing of the cards is compressed (Figure 255). The pressure of the forefinger must be minimal; too heavy a touch will cause undesired binding as the blade is pushed into the deck.

Lay the knife on its back (hinge side), to the right of the pack. The blade should be open and pointing leftward. With the right hand, grip the case of the knife between fingers and thumb near the blade end (Figure 255 again). It is important that the back of the blade contacts the table. This steadies the knife at two points, so that it does not rock. It also reliably sets the tip of the blade at a height that will be constant and predictable each time the grip is assumed. Sweep the knife along in a forward arc toward the deck, sliding it swiftly and smoothly over the surface of the table, until the tip of the blade hits the right side of the pack (Figure 256}. As the blade contacts the cards its point should enter the deck. With the right

fingers, immediately rotate the knife, twisting the blade to a horizontal position without letting the point slip from its location in the pack. Then thrust the blade straight into the side of the deck. Lift the block of cards above the blade and count the cards in the lower block.

Reassemble the deck and, in the same manner, insert the blade again. Count the number of cards below the blade. That number should be within one card of the last count.

Five or six trial insertions will ascertain the number of cards that the knife blade consistently cleaves from the pack. This number is important. Mr. Elmsley's knife divides the deck fourteen cards from the bottom. That number will therefore be used in the following explanation. If your knife should divide the pack differently, one small adjustment to the procedure is necessary. This will be explained at the appropriate time.

One last detail. As mentioned in the Properties section, the knife should be sheathed in a leather car rying pouch. The sheath provides important misdirection later in the act.

With these requirements noted, we now resume the action. The random selection and datebook entry have just been discovered to match. Place the datebook in your right inner breast pocket and gather all the cards, save the "lucky" card. It is left on the table.

While the audience is responding to the effect, glance at the edge of the deck and locate the position of the edge-marked three of clubs. If it is very near the top, cut the pack to place it lower.

"I've got a lucky card too, somewhere." As you say this, turn the pack face-up and spread it from the left hand into the right. Quickly find the remaining joker in the pack and remove it. Do so with an air of surprise. "I'm sorry, I should have tali en the joker out of the pack." slip the joker into the shirt pocket with the one already there.

Respread the deck, this time beginning near the point where the three of clubs is known to lie. The moment you spot it, spread seven more cards to the right—the three being counted as one—and openly outjog the eighth card. Then square the pack back into the left hand.

With the right hand, strip the outjogged card from the deck and place it on the face. At the same time, catch a left fourth-finger break at the point where the card is removed.

"My lucky card is the four of clubs [here the card just moved to the face of the pack is named], but it never seems to do me any good. I suppose if a fortuneteller could tell his own fortune, he wouldn't need to do it for a business." Here cut the deck at the break and complete the cut, all in the hands. This brings the three of clubs to a position seventh from the top of the pack.

The positioning is important, so its meaning must be explained. It is necessary that the three be brought to a position equal to one half the number of cards marked off by the blade of the knife. Since Mr. Elmsley's knife separates fourteen cards, the three is positioned seventh from the top. If the blade entered twelve cards from the bottom, the three would be placed sixth from the top (12 2 = 6). If your knife blade separates an odd number of cards, say fifteen, take the next highest even number and divide it in half to determine the necessary position of the edge-marked card (16 -i 2 = 8).

Once the card is in place, seem to notice for the first time that the spectator's card from the datebook trick is still lying on the table. Pick it up and add it to the deck. However, immediately steal it from the pack, palming it in the right hand, (Mr. Elmsley recommends the method prescribed by Dai Vernon in Se/ect Secrets, pp. 4-7 of the fu st edition, pp. 7-10 of the second edition.) Bring this hand to your right coat-pocket and there add the palmed card to the top of Deck Three. Then bring the hand from the pocket, grasping the pocket knife in its sheath. Set this on the table to the right.

"Anyway, enough about fortunetellers for now. Anyone who handles cards much—fortunetellers, magicians or card sharps— may learn fancy ways of handling cards; fancy ways of showing the cards..." Here break the deck at center (twenty-six from the top) and give the two portions a perfect straddle out-faro. As you are now working with a fifty-one card deck, weave the twenty-five card bottom portion into the twenty-six card top portion, causing the top and bottom cards of the larger portion to become the outer cards of the weave.

Push the packets into one another for approximately a third of their lengths and, with the right fingers, form a double-tiered fan (Figure 257).

The purpose of this display is to gain knowledge of the card twenty-sixth from the top. This card can be noted either as the pack is divided for the weave, or as the double fan is displayed (at which time the twenty-sixth card is resting at the face of the lower tier). The faro weave is used to check the accuracy of the cut, confirming that the card sighted is the twenty-sixth. If the cut should prove inaccurate during the weave, the problem is

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quickly discovered and corrected by separating the woven portions and transferring one or two cards from packet to packet as required. Then the weave is made again and the flourish completed. Note that this faro check is concealed in the guise of a flourish.

"... fancy cuts.,." Sweep the top tier of cards from the lower, closing it from right to left with the right hand and stripping it away (Figure 258). Then, with the right forefinger, aid the left hand in closing its fan (Figure 259).

Now perform simultaneous one-handed cuts with both hands. Any of many such cuts may be used here, such as the widely known Charlier or Robert-Houdin cuts. (Mr. Ehnsley uses Billy O'Connor's flip flop cut from Wilfred Jonson's But Not to Play, p. 101.) The only restriction is that the order of the left-hand packet (the original top half that contains both the edge-marked card and the freshly sighted key card) be restored at the finish. It is a simple matter to catch a break between the sections of the packet as the cut is completed, and to perform a second cut at that break, returning the cards to their original order. After completing the one-handed cuts, reassemble the deck, left-hand half on right.

"...and because a magician can do these things, some think he is a kind of card sharp. But the card sharp could do nothing unless the cards were actually in his hands; whereas the magician—well, I'm going to try to show you the difference. Will you help me?"

Push aside your cloth mat, baring the work board beneath, and set the deck face-down on the board. Then pick up the board, handling it like a tray, and hold it out toward a spectator just to the left of center. "Will you cut off a packet of cards, please. No more than half; about a third of the pack will do... and just keep them for a moment." As soon as the first spectator has cut off his packet, hold out the deck on the board toward another person, slightly to the right of center. "And will someone else cut somewhere in the lower half of the pack?" Have another spectator cut off a second packet. Relax and lean back, moving the board and remainder of the deck away from your second helper.

"Will each of you look at the card you've cut to—the one at the bottom of your packets—and show it to your neighbors,. .Will you now drop yours back on the pack." Here hold out the board to the first spectator for him to replace his packet on the deck.

"And will you drop yours back on the deck." Move the board with deck back to the second spectator, so that he can comply, {Note how Mr. Elmsley uses the board to emphasize without comment that the cards are completely out of his hands while the selections are made and returned. The use of the board as a tray also makes the necessary reversal of the returned packets seem more natural and less obvious.)

"Thanks. You who have cut the cards may have a rough idea of the whereabouts of your own. I don't know whether you have or not, so we'll mix them----Fancy shuffles____"

Set the board before you on the table and pick up the cards. You will now give the deck two shuffles. The first is a fan shuffle. Hold the deck face-down in left-hand dealing position and tip up the left side enough to allow you to sight the edge-marked card. This should lie near or slightly below center in the pack. Bring the right hand over the deck and break it at a point one or two cards below the edge-mark. Then shift the upper portion inward, forming a substantial step.

Turn the stepped pack face toward you in such a manner that the portion containing the edge-marked card is brought rightmost. With the right hand, grasp this portion in position for a one-handed fan. With the left hand, grasp the other portion of the pack similarly. Move the hands apart with their packets, simultaneously fanning them. Be certain to fan the rearmost cards of the right-hand portion particularly well, as you must now spot the key card noted during the faro check.

Hold both fans vertically, backs toward the audience, then brush them briskly over one another several times. On the third or fourth brushing action, smoothly insert the left hand's entire fan between the key card and the card before it; i.e., that card next closest to the face of the fan (Figure 260). Then bring the lower edges of the fans to the board and ease the fingers' pressure, allowing the fans to fall closed, the left into the right. While the left-hand portion is simply inserted as a block immediately over the key card in the right-hand portion, from the audience's view an illusion is created of a much more complex interlacing of the cards. Square the cards. (For further details on the fan shuffle, see Volume I, pp. 96-97 and, in this volume, pp. 335-336).

Note the new location of the edge-marked card (it should be within a few cards of the face) and give the deck a cut to position that card approximately seventeenth from the top.

"There are lots of fancy shuffles. I'm not going to go through all of them, but I'd like to show you one more. I like this one because you can see the cards are really mixing." Here execute a perfect faro shuffle. This shuffle is once more a straddle faro, but it doesn't matter which portion is the lar ger, so long as the smaller packet is woven into the bigger.

The interlaced sections are displayed, permitting the spectators to observe the weave. "They are really mixing, yes?" Once this statement is confirmed, cascade the cards together in the usual fashion, (Notice how shrewdly the stage has been set for the faro shuffle— an unorthodox manipulation to laymen—by the performance of the fan shuffle and flourish cuts.)

Immediately following the faro shuffle, cut the edge-marked card to the bottom of the pack.

This series of cuts and shuffles has ingeniously brought the two selections together in the deck. The first spectator's card lies fourteenth from the face, and the second spectator's just above it, at fifteen; that is, precisely in positions to be located by the blade of the knife.

"Now, because the pack was out of my hands when you chose your cards, a card sharp would find it difficult to locate the cards you chose. For that we need magic..."

With the left hand, set the deck face-down on the board while with your right hand you pick up the knife. Remove it from its sheath, and lay the sheath to your right on the table as you display the knife in your left hand.

".,. the magic of cold steel. It's just a pen knife, really. But it's a real knife with a blade of steel—an edge that will cut and a point

that will stab. Whatever the cards you chose, wherever those cards may be, this blade will find them."

Open the knife and focus full attention on it. Take it into the right hand and raise it high into the air. There, brandish it. Then lower it near the surface of the table and roll it back and forth between the fingers and thumb, catching the light in the blade. Now lay it on the board, blade pointed toward the deck. Suddenly slide the knife sharply to the left and into the end of the pack, as has been taught. It is important to observe the style in which the knife is handled. A knife is an intrinsically dramatic prop. Mr. Elmsley feels it should be wielded in a suitably dramatic fashion during a card stab. Prissy or faltering insertions diminish the inherent drama. Practice the insertion until you can do it accurately and without hesitation.

Thrust the blade deep into the deck and slide it outward, halting near the outer right corner. There, twist the knife slightly, catching a reflection of the card index above In the polished metal of the blade (Figure 261). This is an old method of glimpsing a card (first described by Walter B. Gibson in Blackstorie's Secrets of Magic, pp. 21-22). Here it is used to check the accuracy of the stab.

Ask the first spectator, "What was your card, please?" When he answers, ask the second person, "And yours?" The instant the cards are named, you will know how the knife blade has entered the pack and how the selections are arranged ar ound it. If you have seen the second spectator's card reflected in the blade, you know this man's card is above and the first man's is below. If it is the first man's card you have seen, you know both selections lie above the blade. And, if the card glimpsed is neither selection, both will rest below the blade. It is then only a matter of dividing the pack cleanly at the point where the knife has entered, and revealing the cards appropriately.

"Look! I have found both your cards with the magic of cold steel."

If the knife used should be found to divide the pack an odd number of cards from the bottom—say thirteen rather than fourteen—

a small adjustment will place the blade between the two selections rather than just below them. Simply cut the edge-marked card to the top of the pack after the faro shuffle, rather than to the bottom. This positions the selections at thirteenth and fourteenth from the face.

Should it be wished to perform "Cold Steel" with a fifty-two-card deck, outside the context of the "Dazzle Act", several simple modifications are necessary to the method of faro shuffling. To deliver the selections to the fourteenth and fifteenth positions from the face, cut the deck at center (twenty-six) and either—

1) perform an out-faro, followed by a cut to bring the edge-marked card to the face; or

2) perform an in-faro, followed by a cut to bring the edge-marked card to the top.

With the latter procedure, the first selection will lie above the second, rather than below it.

Alternatively, to deliver the lower of the two selections to an odd position from the face, cut the deck at center and—

1) perform an out-faro, followed by a cut to bring the edge-marked card to the top—this brings the first selection to a position thirteenth from the face, and the second selection to fourteenth—or

2) perform an in-faro, followed by a cut to bring the edge-marked card to the face—this delivers the first selection to a position sixteenth from the face, and the second selection to fifteenth.

The enumeration of these alternative shuffle-routes may initially confuse or discourage the reader. Please understand that only one procedure need be known and used during performance. It is merely a matter of choosing one appropriate to the requirements of the knife being used. The various procedures are given only to illustrate how the selections can be placed at any positions desired.

Knife Throwing Techniques of the Ninja

Knife Throwing Techniques of the Ninja

Knife Throwing Techniques of the Ninja. span stylecolor: 000000Do you want to learn the art of throwing knives? Ever wondered how it is done to perfection every time? Well here is your chance. This book contains well over 50 pages of detailed information and illustrations all about the art of knife throwing. This intriguing book focuses on the ninja's techniques and training. This is a must for all martial artists and anyone wanting to learn the knife throwing techniques of the ninja.span

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