Ninja Rings: Ohmagawd!!

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Jon Elion » 03/08/03 04:01 PM

I just recieved Shoot Ogawa's "Ninja Rings" DVD (and a set of Rings) from Bob Kohler. I had camped out on his website waiting for the product to be posted, and ordered mine a few nanoseconds after the link appeared.

The material is fantastic, and the DVD production spectacular. I don't want to end up ghost-writing anyone's more complete review, so I'll just mention a few highlights.

The routine is well-paced, very visual, and extremely entertaining. The explanations of the moves are not necessarily in "chronologic order" (that is, the order in which they appear in the routine). Instead, they are organized more logically, teaching a basic move first, then its variation (even though they might appear in reverse order in the routine). The teaching is EXCELLENT; it is apparent that a great deal of thought went into the explanations. Many great nuances are shown. I particularly enjoyed descriptions of the "Crash Link". This is very visual (even after it was explained; it still looked totally magical and impossible at slow speed -- I had to use the DVD player's single-frame advance to prove to myself that there were no video editing tricks!). Shoot shows how to minimize movement to make things more "clear" (the one word that seems to give Shoot the most difficulty in its English pronunciation!). There is also a dramatic pause (like a stop-frame) in the action to maximize the visual impact to the spectator. I still giggle when I do it -- it looks like TRUE MAGIC!

The video production is outstanding, with great lighting, sound, and video. The technical aspects of the DVD are 99% perfect (sorry Bob, not quite 100%), but I would be picking nits to mention the shortcomings; it's the best I've seen with regards to clarity of the angles, use of close-up, repetition, etc.

This routine has gotten a lot of "hype" -- it fully deserves it (and more). The DVD explaining the routine sets new standards for video production and clarity of explanation. My only regret is that the Ninja rings themselves (sold separately) are not the gold-plated ones that Shoot seems to use (or is the color off on my monitor?). At first I was disappointed that the rings did not have the bell-ling ringing of a good set of stainless steel hollow rings, but I now realize that this is a VISUAL routine, and the sound of clanging rings is best left for stage routines. And, with only 4 rings in play, it would be harder to disguise the difference in sound produced by that "certain something". Probably not a good idea to have loud clanging rings one foot in front of the specator's face.

-Jon Elion

P.S. I have no connection with Bob Kohler Magic (wish I did!); just an incredibly happy customer.

P.P.S. If you perform in the Rhode Island area, please do not buy the Ninja Rings -- I want to be the only one!!!
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Postby Guest » 03/08/03 05:03 PM

Jon,

Couldn't agree with you more. Just got mine this week too. What blew my mind is you can do many of the moves in almost slow motion.

Bill
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Postby Guest » 03/09/03 09:50 PM

Are the rings differet than standard ring sets? (other than quantity)
Can the routine be done with a regularr set of small rings?
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Postby Steve V » 03/09/03 10:40 PM

I've done Ninja rings for a few years, the rings used are more stout than your run of the mill Adams set, which is the common rings you see of the appropriate size.
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Postby Guest » 03/11/03 03:09 PM

how does this routine compare to the Dan Fleshman routine put out several years ago? That's my only question
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Postby Ian Kendall » 03/11/03 04:33 PM

Hello,

See for yourself; magicsmith has a clip of te Fleshman routine, and murphysmagic.com has the ninja rings.

does anynoe know of a video for defiance by Reed McClintock? Although, reading through the manuscript and seeing the video for Ninja has cleared a lot up.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/11/03 06:00 PM

Reed's routine was sold through a set of lecture notes he has since withdrawn from the market. There was a video demo on his website, but it's no longer there. Reed's routine was never sold as a video.
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Postby Mike » 03/11/03 07:28 PM

Can the routine be learned from the DVD? Would a printed illustrated routine help?
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Postby Steve Bryant » 03/11/03 08:39 PM

Yes, it can be learned from a DVD; Shoot does an extraordinary teaching job. If I had seen this in print, I wouldn't have believed some of the moves were possible. I love the printed medium and would of course like that too if it were available, but this DVD is excellent. Some of the timing can be taught only by DVD, and that timing is important to this routine.
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Postby Guest » 03/12/03 01:46 AM

Whew!...it's finally out. As usual everything took longer than we planned. The DVD's arrived to us three weeks late from the manufacturer, on the day before we moved into our new facility.

Sorry for the delay, but reality is what happens while you're making plans.

On the DVD, Shoot is using a set of Gold Ninja Rings. The set comes in both nickel plate and the "Gold" finish. For now, only the nickel plate sets are available. The Gold sets should be coming from Japan, but I'm not sure exactly when or even the final retail price. Currently, I have the nickel rings in stock at bobkohlermagic.com.

Murphy's Magic Supplies is distributing both the DVD and Ninja Rings worldwide. The rings for distribution left Japan today, so they will be available everywhere very soon.

The training on the DVD is organized so that each section or method is explained in minute detail. Shoot does a great job explaining each technique. Once each technique is explained, the routine is once again performed from beginning to end, very slowly to teach the order and choreography. As this is being done, Shoot once again reinforces the important points of each section. Mashahiro has trained him well, his attention to detail is astounding.

I've just moved our business into a new facility that's dedicated to better production. I'm extremely pleased with this DVD, but I know it's not perfect. I'm still learning. It was shot last summer in my living room! I'd love to hear comments, desires, constructive criticisms concerning the DVD so that I can implement and address your needs. Please e-mail me at bobkohler@lvcm.com.

Thanks for the support! More material will be coming from Shoot this summer.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 03/12/03 03:19 AM

Re: Defiance

I bought the manuscript for Defiance at Blackpool as a stand alone effect, it was not in lecture notes. In the introduction he mentions the Fleshman and Ninja routines as inspiration.

It is quite hard to follow the text (especially when converting everything to left handed) so I was looking for a demo to see how some of the moves looked. These are mostly on the other two video clips, so it should help.

Do you know why the notes were taken off the market?

Take care, Ian
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Postby reed mcclintock » 03/12/03 03:48 AM

I pulled the manuscript because when I asked Shoot for permission on this routine with my variations my question was not quite understood by Shoot. It turned out it was a complete misunderstanding because of language barriers. Shoot, Appollo Robbins, Andrew Goldenhersh and I were up very late working this out on my last night performing at the Castle just a few weeks ago. Fortunately we were able to work out the situation. Listen mistakes Happen and I certianly own up to mine publicly. Lord knows How many magicians wont cause they are super human or what ever. So I pulled it defiance that was the right thing to do and I did.
For the few that did end up with a manuscript I am willing to buy those back from you. I highly recommend you get Shoots ring routine. I also think a thank you to Bob Kohler for getting the routine out in dvd format to the magic communitee is definately in order.
Shoot and Bob Kohler are very kind and helpful people and were also kind enough to allow this mistake of mine go by the way side I appreciate it and thank you guys. Again my most sincere appologies publicly humbly
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Postby Steve V » 03/16/03 12:02 PM

In answer to the question of how Shoots handling relates to Dan Fleshmans handling. They are both based on the same routine and thus are, obviously, very simular. I've seen Shoots handling and know Dans routine and in my oppinion Shoots has been overhyped and Dans not received enough credit. Both are very good is what I am saying. If you don't have either and want to learn it then the DVD would be the medium of choice for most people but do not think that Dan's isn't worth having because it certainly is. I don't know the price of Dan's right now but if economics comes into play his video and rings would suite you just fine. In other words, get the one that best fits your situation.

I want to put out there that I saw Reeds performance of the routine and it was much more artistic and gracefully presented than either of Shoots or Dans. In fact when I saw Shoots I immediately knew I was watching Ninja Rings but I didn't realize it with Reeds because it does look like a different routine in his hands. It may not be on the market but my hat is off to Reed for taking the routine up a notch or two.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/16/03 04:23 PM

I saw Shoot perform "Ninja Rings" while working overflow at The Magic Castle down in the Museum last December. It looked great.
It's worth remembering that Dai Vernon also performed his "Sympathy of the Rings" as a close-up routine with small rings, and it can be seen (if memory serves) on one of the Revelations videotapes. It makes a terrific close-up routine, and is not as flashy as "Ninja Rings."
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/16/03 09:21 PM

The main thing with Shoot's handling is his handling.... it looks like he's been doing it for twenty years. I missed Reed when he did it. He offered to show me one on one, but I was late leaving and had to split.

Am sure anyone who really works on this routine, and has the chops, can make it very magical.
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/16/03 09:22 PM

also... I bought the Fleshman set and tape, and for some reason was NOT impressed... will have to look at it again when I get back home... flying out monday...
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Postby Guest » 04/02/03 12:23 PM

I was doing a photo shoot with Fredde Lieberman and he showed me the performance portion of the Shoot Ogawa "Ninja Rings" DVD.

I was STUNNED! Betsy (my "Swiss Army wife"), who is VERY picky about magic, immediately turned to me and said "You MUST add this to your restaurant set!"

About a week later, I finally ordered the DVD and rings set from Bob Kohler's web site and got them very quyickly indeed. (Bob also did not charge my card until after he shipped the product, which I appreciate.)

Long story short - this is STUNNING my audiences at the restaurants. I find that it plays very big, and has been especially good for large parties - actual groups of 10 to 30 people!

A surprise side benefit - when tables who had not been interested in magic see the Rings a few tables away, their jaws hit the floor and they grab the nearest waitron and now have GOT to see the magician!

I have been doing various ring routines for a long time, and found that the moves yield best to consistent short practice sessions. However, while I am sure the DVD is selling like hotcakes, I would be willing to bet that by the end of this year, perhaps a dozen people will actually be using this in the real world - simply because ti does take work.

I did re-routine the piece a bit, first, to get rid of any use of table surface (not practical in most restaurant settings) and second, to get a length in between Yanagida's "Short Routine" and the full routine ogawa does on the tape, which I found to be longish and a tad repetitive.
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Postby Guest » 04/03/03 12:25 PM

I too picked up the Ninja Rings and was pretty well blown away by Shoot's handling. There was one moment, though, that really got to me. That was the first time I picked up the rings and gave the Crash Link a try. It worked perfectly, causing me to stop dead still and stare at the rings in my hands. Did that just happen? I thought. It looked and felt impossible.

As with anything worth doing, this is going to take a while to get down. Some of the techniques feel very awkward and I personally like the slower pace of, say, Symphony of the Rings. But I now feel that I have the tools at my disposal to create a close-up ring routine worth putting in my repertoire.

Finally, I would like to echo what Steve V and a few others have said about Reed McClintocks Defiance. Having seen both Shoots and Fleshmans routines, I still feel that Reeds had a certain poetry about it that the others lacked. He deserves a lot of credit for being a stand-up guy and withdrawing the routine from the market, but damn, it was just so pretty.

Zech Johnson
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Postby Guest » 04/03/03 01:10 PM

Dare I suggest that, while this routine is pleasing to magicians and even stunning to lay people, it might be one of the least magical ring routines ever released? The moves are performed with all the wonder of a carpenter hammering together a rocking chair from memory. Impressive, yes but not as magical as it could be.

I think this routine is extremely interesting but I think it would be nice to see its performers stop and appreciate what they are supposed to be doing - passing solid objects through one another magically - rather than just utilising a prop in different "flashy" ways.

I saw this performed in a magic store in LA and couldn't believe how the performer expertly drove from one phase into the next without pausing for breath. I saw it in the same store a month later performed by Shoot Ogawa - very, very good but the same race to the finish without time to breathe.

Magicians, obsessed with methods and desperate for something new, are easily sold on this kind of thing. I have seen many great ring routines and this has the makings of one of them. I can't wait to see it done as a magic trick rather than a flourish.
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Postby Guest » 04/03/03 01:53 PM

I agree with the posting from Thornhill. The Ninja Rings performed at a more sedate pace, in the style of, say, the (sadly) late and very great, Richard Ross would be very magical indeed. Perhaps the video performance I saw was paced to meet the constraints of the medium? Having not seen Mr Ogawa work live I am unable to tell. It did tend to hurtle towards its conclusion. Only Clark Kent could have done it faster.

Maybe table hoppers like it because it can be performed between mouthfulls?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 04/03/03 03:11 PM

Originally posted by Thornhill:
...The moves are performed with all the wonder of a carpenter hammering together a rocking chair from memory. Impressive, yes but not as magical as it could be.
I too saw a video of Shoot performing. I found the routine interesting, impressive even and was able to distinguish the performer's style from the routine's flow.

Perhaps some amount of disdain and intimidation is expected in his working arena? I would prefer to see the routine performed to Pachabel's Cannon in D to traditional Kabuki accompanyment. That's my cultural background. We may soon see a great hip-hop presentation of the routine. To each their own. The props and mechanics seem to work.

Thanks to Shoot and BobK for making these props and the routine available.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 04/03/03 03:12 PM

I don't think there is anything wrong with combining the high points of the Ninja Rings handling with more traditional ring moves. Personally, I have been wondering if perfroming the crash link so early on is too high of a peak to hit, too fast. At the same time, the crash link, I think, looks so impossible it instantly dispels thoughts from those who think there has to be a hole in the ring. Any thoughts here? Should the ideal routine move from the simple to the more stunning or are we better served with using the crash link early on to eliminate an assumed method?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/25/03 12:18 PM

I just received this e-mail, and it pertains to the originality of a key move in the "Ninja Rings" routine.

From Donald Jones:
As a practicing magician for over 30 years, I am greatly distressed to see such an emphasis placed on the supposedly original "Ninja Move" that is the keystone of the Ninja Ring Routine. The Ninja Rings and the routine performed by Shoot Ogawa are the creation of Masahiro Yanagida of Japan, who is trying to take credit for creating the "Ninja Move", which is nothing more than the "Impossible Link" invented by Chris Capehart in 1975.

For those of you who don't know, Chris Capehart is perhaps the best manipulator of the Linking Rings in the modern era. As such, his ring routine was published in 1981 in Tannen's Stars of Magic Series, #13. He is also the only African American magician to my knowledge to appear in this prestigious series. His "Impossible Link" and overall routine was honed while he was a street performer in New York City in the 1970's. I saw Chris work Central Park then with the likes of Jeff Sheridan, and in Headhouse Square in Philadelphia with Penn and Teller in the 1980's, and his ring routine garnered more applause than any other performer near or far. Repeatedly, his "Impossible Link" has had the masters of magic saying "Do that again" and his "Silent Unlink" evokes certain profanities, which is quite a compliment in itself.

Chris absolutely floored the crowd of magicians and laymen alike at the Battle of Magicians Convention in Canton, OH in May of this year, as well as at the Cam Convention in Kitchner, Canada in June. He is also a headliner at Monday Night Magic in New York City, on Broadway and will appear as an emcee and performer at the S.A.M. Convention in Las Vegas in July, so I urge anyone who has not seen this living legend to catch him in Vegas.

All that Masahiro Yanagida has originated is the "Ninja Move" name, and it would be a great disappointment to the magic community to see Chris Caphart get cheated out of his just due.

Just because Shoot performs it with smaller rings does not make the move original, (doing a French Drop with a ball instead of a coin does not change the name of the move) and I would suggest that he meet up with Chris at Tannen's Jubilee in upstate New York this year, where they're both slated to perform!

Sincerely,
Donald Jones, Jr.
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Postby Guest » 06/25/03 01:37 PM

Which move is the "Ninja Move"?
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Postby Guest » 06/25/03 03:35 PM

David L.

I believe the "Ninja Move" is where the link occurs while the ring is spinning on the table surface.
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Postby Brian Morton » 06/25/03 04:01 PM

I think (having just gone to the Ogawa/Robbins joint workshop at Denny Haney's shop a few weeks ago) the "Ninja Move" is the link in the hands where the key ring is held perpendicular to the ring to be linked, with the key gap right behind the first finger. When the ring is brought down at speed (which can be done at such a slow speed, it's amazing), the solid ring slides along the sloping back of the key ring and jumps in through the gap and into the ring.

It can be done so slowly and smoothly that it appears that the solid ring penetrates clearly and visibly through the key ring inches in front of your face -- we sat practicing the move for ten minutes in the workshop just fooling the crap out of ourselves.

The flip side of the move is that the key can be held in your hand with the gap under the pinky finger, and with a spectator holding the solid ring perpendicularly at an angle to the performer, the key can be linked to the spectator's in their hands. It's mind-blowing when you see it.

That having been said, and knowing of the rep of Chris Capehart (whom, sadly and unfortunately I've never seen or met), I wouldn't be surprised if the move originated with him. However, I have no knowledge of the origin at all, never having been a "rings" guy until just recently.

But the move kicks serious butt.

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Postby Earle Oakes » 06/25/03 04:11 PM

Cris Capehart is one of the most skilled and entertaining magicians in an intimate setting of from one to over a hundred that one would ever hope to see. Why he has not had greater recognition and credit for his wonderful magic is a mystery to me.
His handling of the rings is superb
as is all of his magic.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/25/03 06:57 PM

I find this thread very interesting. I am currently compiling stories and anecdotes regarding the Linking Rings, their creators, and history... does anyone have any objection if I reprint some of the messages here in this book?

It probably won't be published for a year or three... but I think the Ninja Rings, and what people think about the routine is part of the history.

Thanks, in advance.... :cool:
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Postby Guest » 06/27/03 04:33 PM

I bought the 'Close-up Linking Rings' by Dan Fleshman years ago when they first came out (96 - 97?).

I spent a great deal of time learning the routine and then some more time transfering everything so I could do it left-handed.

It's a staple of my restaurant set and in defferance to those who made a comment about 'flourish vs flash', I do the routine at a fairly slow pace and try to make it look like I'm actually doing something which should be impossible.

I still usually have to count to about 3 7/8th for the one-handed link which I call 'The One-handed Link of Death'. It usually gets a good laugh.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 06/27/03 09:43 PM

THE NINJA RING ROUTINE by Masahiro Yanagida was published in May-1992. I saw Yanagida do this wonderful routine at a Midwest Magic Jubilee...
It was reprinted in 1993, published by the Topit Company, Inc. - Tokyo, Japan.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/27/03 11:28 PM

It's an olde trick... :sleep:
BTW Roc... where was Ed's (Marlo) routine with the slum rings and the fake weld written up? :confused:
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Postby Guest » 06/28/03 03:39 AM

Pete, You can find Marlo's slum routine in the Complete Mike Rogers.

Mike
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/28/03 06:33 AM

Isn't it also in Arcade Dreams?
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/28/03 10:06 AM

Thanks gents... :)
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Postby El Mystico » 06/29/03 09:09 AM

I think the routine is great and very exciting - but in the discussion of the origin of the Ninja Move, don't overlook the Vernon Chronicles Volume 2, where the Twirl Link is described....which apparently Vernon used in his Chinese routine. If true, this would give it a certain ancestory...
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Postby David Mitchell » 06/30/03 12:08 PM

While I like the fact the the Ninja rings fit into my pocket, and therefore are immensely more portable than the larger 10 inch rings that Chris Capehart recommends, I too was incredibly startled to see Chris perform recently at the CAM convention. I got it all on tape, and let me tell you, I was zoomed in on that guys hands the entire time, and it was still an invisible move.

WOW.

Later when I was talking to him, and mentioned the Ninja Rings, he chuckled, and said "The Ninja Rings aren't about new magic, they are more about new MONEY". He was so right.

Now that I've seen the supposedly "impossible to do with large rings" links done with large rings, I am somewhat amused. I am still envious with that mans talent, but for my purposes, I still carry the Ninja Rings, but with better information.

David.
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Postby Brian Morton » 06/30/03 09:06 PM

Okay, NOW I've seen Chris Capehart.

To make a long story short, he and Randy Shine were popping by Denny Haney's shop on their way back to Philly. The subject -- well, actually THIS subject -- came up, as in the "Ninja" Rings and this subject thread on the Genii Forum.

He did his thing right in front of me, with eight of the full size rings. With no insult to Shoot or his teacher, but if you saw what I saw it's pretty damn obvious who came up with that link and how long it's been around. You can tell by Chris' handling that he's been doing this for twenty-plus years.

Like I said, I just saw Shoot in a workshop situation recently enough ago that it's fresh in my mind, and I just saw Chris less than two hours ago.

Game, set, match: Capehart.

Go forth and sin no more. Plus, Chris will soon have a DVD out, available exclusively from Denny. Hope I'm not telling tales out of school, but you'll be able to see for yourself.

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Postby Pete Biro » 06/30/03 10:01 PM

Y'know, for a trick that's been bantered about since at least the 15th century... I find it difficult to believe ANY moves are, in fact, NEW. You should understand how juggling works. Jugglers take the same props and keep trying different things and re-inventing moves... and I find the same thing with the Linking Rings and the Cups and Balls.

A fascinating subject for sure.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/30/03 10:03 PM

Matter of fact, a gag I thought I created (will I did, cuz I never say it in print or done) actually is in print, but I didn't recognize it.

It is the ring through cheek in Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft. :p
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Postby Craig Matsuoka » 07/01/03 03:57 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
I find it difficult to believe ANY moves are, in fact, NEW.
You could be right, Pete. But there are still a few stubborn experimenters who refuse to give up on those annoying little hoops of metal. Take George Wang and his posse from Japan for example. They have some really beautiful new work they've been doing for YEARS.

Part of the reason why we don't see any "new" moves is because a lot of the REALLY cool stuff is still unpublished. It could also be that we hate the rings so much that we don't feel they're worthy of our time and creative effort.

There's probably still some juice left in 'em though. It's just a question of how hard we're willing to squeeeeeeze.
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