Michael Close wrote:One evening, at the Houdini Lounge in the Monte Carlo hotel, I sat with my friend Ken Zarifes and explained the ideas I had on how to do the shuffle. I didnt let him touch the cards. I just had him watch, absorb, and comprehend the ideas. Then I asked him to go back to his hotel room and try it out. We talked the next night, and Ken was able to get the cards to weave with some reliability, even with that brief instruction.
I read a study many years back about what you might call mental practice. They took a group of people and measured their ability to throw darts. Then they separated them into three groups. One group practiced throwing darts. One group did nothing. The third group thought about throwing darts.
The group that practiced got better. The group that did nothing did not get better. The group that thought about throwing darts got better. Not as much improvement as the group that actually did throw dartsI seem to recall they had about half as much improvement.
I always thought this was a fascinating result.
A few years back I learned about mirror neurons, which are in a specific area of your brain and seem to have the function of causing you to experience things that you see other people experience. So if you see someone eat a lemon, the mirror neurons are responsible for you having a mild sour taste reaction. (BTW, I believe that mirror neurons will turn out to be the main reason of why having an expressive assisting spectator is so powerful).
With both of these things in my mind I'm not surprised that Ken was able to learn something from just watching Mike do the faro and think about what he was doing. I learned a lot about the faro by something else that Mike recommends, which is to do a tandem faro with someone who is already an expert. The expertI was lucky enough to have Mike himself do this after a lecturedoes one hand and you do the other. That really gives you the feel of the move in a way that is difficult to achieve any other way.
I wonder how many other moves can be taught that same way.