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Classic Force Review

Official Review

August 12th, 2011 2:45pm
Reviewed by James Sanden
“Classic Force” by Phil Jay is a DVD teaching (what else?) the classic force, arguably the most invisible of all card forces. What makes the classic force so powerful is also what scares magicians away from it, which is to say the spectator can screw it up. Unlike many forces, a standard classic force relies as much on timing, scripting, psychology and experience than it does on technique. As can be seen on the DVD, Mr. Jay is clearly adept at the classic force and he teaches several methods for performing it, one of which even allows the performer to force a card while spreading the cards behind his or her back.

Unfortunately, the structure of this DVD leaves a great deal to be desired. The DVD itself is approximately 34 minutes long, the first 28 of which consist of an interview of Phil Jay by his co-host, Chris Dugdale. It’s only after a full 28 minutes of talking that we see Mr. Jay demonstrate and explain the technique of the classic force, all of which is packed into the final 6 minutes of the DVD. Further, the interview itself feels impromptu and disorganized, with little thought given as to how best to impart the information he shares. Given the complexity of the classic force, it would have helped tremendously to have the instruction be organized, clear and integrated with the demonstrations.

Which isn’t to say there’s nothing of value on this DVD. As a student of the classic force and having read and viewed a great deal of information about this seemingly elusive slight, there was a great deal of very practical and useful information, much of which I had not heard before. Had this information been organized and presented in a remotely pedagogical manner, I would probably have given this DVD a wildly enthusiastic review.

Lastly, it should be mentioned that this DVD, while a separate release, is one component of Mr. Jay and Mr. Dugdale’s course on how to be a successful close-up magician. I only mention this because there are a couple of moments on the DVD when abstract concepts are referenced, but not explained. While somewhat irritating, this does not affect the viewer’s ability to learn the classic force.

The classic force is a workhorse sleight that can be devastatingly effective. Learning to perform it effectively can be extremely challenging, and any resource that can provide insight into this apparently mysterious sleight is invaluable. While there is much such insight on this DVD, it’s unfortunate that Mr. Jay didn’t take more time to plan how to effectively communicate that information. That said, if you wish to learn how to classic force a card, this DVD will definitely help you in that quest.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Classic Force

Author: Jay, Phil
Publisher: JB Magic
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $30.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

A classic sleight taught by a master in this incredible step by step DVD!

Phil teaches his inner thoughts...everything covered from:

  • Classic force - preparation/execution and what you must do after the card is taken...
  • Classic force behind the back
  • Touch force
  • An amazing technique for speed gauging - never disclosed before this DVD
Plus live performance segments of Phil using the classic force at an event...

"One technique on the DVD that I instantly put into use took that hit rate up to 90%! With literally no practice, the first time I used it I saw results, it is soooo clever, I have never seen this technique before.

Phil mixes the teaching with lots of live footage so you can see it actually happening, rather than all in a studio. I was so happy with this DVD, 10 out of 10 because the effect is so usable and strong and Phil teaches it BRILLIANTLY."

"Having seen Paul Green live, and seen Paul Daniels do it behind his back I thought I had seen the best of the best when it came to the classic force, NOT SO! Phil Jay takes the classic force to a new level with never seen before techniques and applications that blew my mind with their simplicity and fiendishness. There is possibly no stronger, commercial, adaptable sleight with cards than the classic force. There is DEFINITELY no better teacher and practitioner of the classic force than Phil Jay."
- Daniel Alexander

Phil Jay is one of the World's top close up magicians and has performed at over 5000 functions throughout the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the USA.

"Now I've seen the Classic Force before. I knew there was a big element of chance involved and the crucial need for a substitute effect in case the force doesn't work. OK, so I was relatively new to the sport, but logic is logic, and it was clear to me about the risks even though I had a lot to learn. How incredibly WRONG could I have been? With the methods taught on this DVD, the Classic Force becomes frighteningly accurate. My ignorance was addressed yet again after thinking there was no way I could achieve the force with such success, and yet here I am now able to successfully force with rapidly increasing regularity. Phil Jay explains the preparation, reasoning, action and execution of the force clearly and concisely; additionally providing an insight in to his own learning process. And if you think the force has been scripted for camera... I've had the personal pleasure/bewilderment of having the same card forced on me by Phil himself, several times in a row, and once from behind his back! If you want to learn, you really won't be disappointed."
- Frank E Haschka

Running Time Approximately: 47min

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