Throwing cards as deadly weapons seems impossible. Little bits of cut-out cardboard not even strong enough to be packaging for your computer suddenly becoming capable of piercing hard fruit, drywall, or even a brown paper lawn bag is beyond the believable unless you are open to anything you've seen on TV-or anything, period.
Well, let me tell you this: It is impossible. What. You come all the way to find out how to do this feat and find out it cannot be done? Uh-uh, I never said that. I am going to teach you, however I am also telling you that it is impossible. right now.
The ability to throw any ordinary playing card with any amount of sting takes both luck and training. Any of you who've mastered the throwing knife know that even something meant to be thrown, isn't easy. So something not meant to be thrown, or even used defensively, is that much harder.
In fact, for those of you who'd like to really have some power to your throw, the first thing you'll need is patience. This is a tough martial art. But not a "martial = war" art. It is a martial art as in the spirit martial arts are meant in the Far East - as enriching experiences in life. And so I will not teach you how to hurt someone with this. That's right. It is impossible to turn these into deadly weapons without something extra. That something you will not get from this. So, anyone who wishes to be a deadly assassin or "gun-man getting past security," sorry, but please leave, now.
2. Card Types
Okay, with those guys now gone, we can have a little bit of fun. No, don't get out the deck just yet, we need a bit of background. OK, the first three questions anyone asks is " How is this done? What kind of special cards do you need? Where did this come from? " Well, let me go in the easiest to hardest first.
You do not need any special cards what so ever. However, I do have personal preference. Air cushioned poker cards (Bicycle.
Hoyle. and others) are my favorite because they don't stick together when new and are a bit wear and weather resistant. Bicycle, Hoyle, all these are American company-made cards, so if you're elsewhere, you can use any other kind. Here "air cushioned" means that they are coated in a plastic that does not stick to other cards. And also, be sure you buy a few decks, you'll need them. Just don't say that you're Gambit (
X-Men reference) when the clerk gives you funny looks.
Other cards however, will work just fine, from CocaCola to Disney to plastic coated and so on. Don't use hard plastic, heavy weight, credit, or any other type of card you may think is superior. Those cards actually require a different technique - and misuse has consequences, trust me.
a. Western Origins
OK, now for question 2: Where did this come from? ( Come on, read it, it's interesting. I wouldn't put it in if it wasn't. )
Throwing objects is something we've done since we lived in trees. Cards however, is much more recent. Throwing cards has two lines of history which blur as we reach the 20th century. Not surprisingly for a martial art, these two lines are eastern, and western. The West had its beginnings in the mystique of illusion and magic.
Card magicians and stage magicians both loved the flying card. It wasn't until about the late 1800s that it became popular. A stage magician by the name of Howard Thurston had finally mastered throwing cards from the stage, high up over the audience to the people in the cheapest seats. Just before him, and less known, was Alexander Herrmann who was the first to include it as a major performance in his act. These cards later evolved to "business cards" which were wider, heavier, and stamped with a ticket pass for a discount if you came with a friend. This throwing of cards was dubbed "scaling".
This continued until the grade of magic had to really go up as television, radio and all came and replaced the stage. So, no more prepped cards. Magicians now had to use unopened packs of cards to help impress audiences. Some techniques for these cards are still secret, such as how to bend a card so it flies five stories high and then to the back audience. However, some are not. This is where the famous (and infamous)
Ricky Jay walks from behind the curtain.
Master of the
lethal scaling system, Jay has been seen slicing into watermelons, snapping pencils, and tossing numerous cards at once with powerful force. Ricky Jay was once a card magician until he caught the fever for pure card scaling. So after about 8 reported years of research and studying, he wrote a book, Cards as Weapons. This book is a coveted tome of knowledge which may range from 200-1000 dollars in sale value since it's out of print. However, excerpts can be found in many places on the web.
b. Eastern Origins
The East is best known for having the most dominant and diverse martial arts in the world. Sadly often degraded by the media and dying out of modern society's culture due to their lethality, an enormous number of martial arts and forms are now extinct. Some have never even been known beyond a handful of traditional family members. Of all of these martial arts however, are the martial arts of throwing weapons alive and well today, in movies and real life.
Stars, knives, and darts are the most commonly known, however few realize (save the cinema expertise of Jackie Chan) that anything is a weapon in the right hands. Coins, pencils, chop sticks, clip-on sunglasses, and yes, even cards are extremely dangerous throwing weapons.
This art of eloquent fighting shows how deeply dangerous and cultural the Far East has been in its earlier days. During those days, anything was taught as a weapon.
Cards for games, fortune telling, and so on have been popular around the world for a very long time. The Far East was particularly fond of diversity in both card design and in its games. This made the card ideal as a weapon. But how does a piece of paper become deadly?
Enter the Shaolin, Ninja, and the almost forgotten Korean masters. These people understood the physical laws and how to bend them as far as they were needed to go. Throwing stars are actually dull pieces of iron, not razor blades like Hollywood. The technique used was more than enough to turn these into the equivalent of a bullet back then. Modified and adapted, throwing cards were no exception.
Today, hit-men of the Far East and those who've studied such disciplines, are best feared for their "poker-face". Adapting a facade as another poker addicted person, or casino dealer these people can stun, bleed, and even put people into coma with deadly accuracy at up to about 20-30 feet. Not that great a distance, however more than enough when you're at a poker table. This is done with pressure points. But to hit those tiny zones, you need great accuracy with more power than you need with throwing dagger.
4. Throwing Time!
To throw cards ( Yes, history lesson's over, get those decks! ) you need to understand that they have nearly no weight at all. Knives, stars, and even a snow ball have the advantage of weight. That's why you can use your arm and body in nearly any way you want to send it flying. Try it with a card, it'll flutter at a few feet (20 feet/6 meters if you're lucky).
The principle behind cards, is spin. And a massive amount of it. These cards become flying buzz-saws when thrown by a pro (although it is reported that Ricky Jay has less spin on his throws).
Oh sure, you say. Just spin it like a Frisbee. Nope. Wrong. A Frisbee has a lot more weight, and that toss won't work with throwing stars either. They're not supposed to spin, they're like throwing daggers.
The power, and secret, comes from your wrist. And nothing here, comes from brute strength. It is all finesse. Which makes this next step confusing.
The first thing you need to do is strengthen your wrist. This isn't brute strength. When you snap your wrist it needs to be a relaxed wrist to have the most speed. A fast runner lacks the bulk of a body builder. And it's not shape. One has more relaxed speed, the other has brute strength.
So there's two ways to strengthen your wrist. Get either a sand-filled stress ball and work with that daily for about 4 weeks, or, you can try the walnut method: crack walnuts with your middle, index, and thumb fingers as one until it gets really easy to do. These exercises does two things: it increases the strength of your grip and the innate power of your wrist snap.
The more natural power in your grip, the more power that's transferred to the card. However, above all else, your wrist must be extremely loose. Big, hard muscles don't help here, only a powerful and loose wrist.