I have been studying the Ammar Cups & Balls book/video series for the past two years and, as a result, feel that I will be able to eventually perform an entertaining, professional-grade Cups & Balls routine with continued study, practice and critique.
Overall, I have found the Ammar series to be logical and user friendly. I believe it covers all of the basics of the Cups & Balls as well as some of the wonderful finer points. A great start and a superb foundation to launch study. I believe that this was Ammars goal in creating this book and he should be thanked for putting out such a fine product. Special thanks from magic bunglers such as myself.
I feel the best parts of the series are the instructions on basic sleights and routine sequences. I also found the instruction on final loads and misdirection to be useful, especially for some one like me who was intimidated by the thought of secretly putting a lemon under a cup.
The baby-step by baby-step teaching approach in both the book and video, was good for me as a neophyte, but I imagine that this approach would be tedious for an intermediate learner. The various interviews with successful performers located at the back of the book as well as the bibliography with explanatory notes were fun and contained good food for thought.
The videos are a great supplemental tool to pull all of the learning together, especially to see the speed and real time action of the sleights, sequences and routines. Also, the history sections with Bob Read are very good and add a nice change of pace and perspective to what could have ended up being just another magic teaching video.
As constructive criticism, I think line drawings in the book would have been better than black & white photographs a la Card College. I find that the photographs are not as strong in bringing understanding like line drawings. Of course, this is where the accompanying videos become particularly useful in helping the user better understand the action.
I also dislike the green highlighting and arrows used in conjunction with the book text. I often found the highlighting and especially the arrows to be distracting or just plain confusing. I would have preferred numbered figures, again a la Card College.
Today, I continue to use the book and videos and am really enjoying the learning process. All in all a great learning tool.
I do remember controversy and heavy criticism about the Ammar series when they hit the market and were initially reviewed a few years back. Some of the criticism was deserved and should be used to improve the series if it is ever reprinted.
However, having personally used and studied the series for two years, I have found it to be well worth my investment. Indeed, the series is the foundation of my work, which I hope will continue to improve to point that I am able to perform an entertaining and professional-grade routine.
At the same time, I can also see the weak points and, no doubt, others might have others to point out.
Having said the above, what do others think about the Ammar Cups & Balls series now that time has passed and folks have had a good chance to really study and absorb the material?
Appreciate your comments.
[ February 17, 2002: Message edited by: Robert Kane ]