James Peters' Escape Magic
How do you get started in Escape Magic?
This is a technical section, so I'm not going to cover the performance side, other than to say this; a technical Escape Artist is only of use to other Escape Artists. If you want to be good at performing, you will spend 10 times the amount of time practising your patter than you will the technical side. There's some free articles I have written on on public speaking which are relevent, and will get you started with some principles for any kind of presentation / performance. they are on jellymarket.co.uk. Now ... time to get to it!
The Technical Side - General
The only way to learn the technical side of being an escape artist is to practice, practice and practice. If you can find someone to teach you, you will move along much quicker. In the UK, we have set-up UK Escape Artists to help each-other along. If you have to go it alone, don't worry; just ask lots of questions!
The Technical Side - Handcuffs
"What, you can escape from handcuffs?" Whilst gaining me a lot of street cred with my friends, the sad truth is that handcuffs are generally not a big deal to escape from. One of the best training kits for modern handcuffs that I have seen is the Handcuff Manipulation Training Kit (a joint effort by Ian McColl and Mark Cannon) available from Cannons Great Escapes.
Once you learn to open a pair of handcuffs, beware! You may get bitten by the bug, which can cost you a small fortune!
The Technical Side - Straitjackets
Escaping from a straitjacket is not as difficult to learn as many Escape Artists would like to tell you; however, it is not something to be trifled with, either! No, you do not have to dislocate your shoulder. Yes, you can safely cross your arms and still escape. Yes you do need to be in control.
If you're buying a jacket, my first piece of advice is the one that will save you a lot of money. Do not, for any reason (other than a safety guarantee) learn with a gimmicked jacket. There is no need for it (unless, perhaps, you are going underwater, or time is so critical that you otherwise risk injury). The two big brands of jacket are Humane and Posey. The difference between them is that the Posey has side and belly loops, and requires a lot of extra effort!
If you buy a Posey (they are, in my humble opinion, the better looking jacket), remember that with a small sharp knife, you can easily remove the belly / side loops!
So, where to start? First, find a trusted assistant to strap you in. Just relax, tell them to do the jacket up gently. Don't be afraid to cross your arms. Then get out of it! (We have to keep some of the info off the web - it may be a customer reading this!)
From the first time you escape, it's a progression. Do it up a bit tighter; learn your limits; learn how to control how tight it's done up on you! Get the arm strap fed under the back straps ... practice practice practice. Think of every nasty trick someone could play on you, and then learn how to escape in spite of it.
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