Mastering Devilstick - part one book review.

Here is a short review of a new book that I just bought called Mastering Devilstick - part one by Chris Dore.

Until now, one of the only books for devilsticking has been The Devilstick Book by Todd Strong. The Devilstick Book is good for learning devilsticking and some of the beginning tricks with a devilstick. However, there has not been a book that goes much beyond the propeller, helicopter, and saw (buzzsaw, rollover, whatever you want to call it) kind of tricks. Many devilstickers, including myself, have been asking, "What are some new tricks?," "How do I find them?", and "Who can explain them to me?" Although Chris Dore's new book Mastering Devilstick - part one may not answer all these questions to your satisfaction, it does start to touch on a few tricks that will take you beyond the normal line of tricks. And it may start opening doors to some new areas to explore.

I am not going to list the contents of the book and each section. If you want these details then you can look at the Circustuff page for Mastering Devilstick - part one. This has the table of contents, a brief sample of the book, and a small blurb about the author. Rather, I am going to go over what is contained technically in the book. This will hopefully give you a better idea if the book will be a worthwhile purchase.

All of the main tricks are covered in Chris's Mastering Devilstick - part one. Propellers, helicopter, saw (buzzsaw), and single sticking. However, at the end of each section he will slide in a couple ideas of what to do with these main tricks. And every once in a while, there will be a real jewel you can get out of one. For instance, at the end of his section on single sticking he briefly mentions a trick where you get into staccato type of hits while single sticking. It is a spin - stop - spin - stop type of move that is actually a really neat looking trick. (For those of you who what to know "What the heck is he talking about?" check out my Stop & Go description.)

After the sections on some main devilstick tricks he starts to cover some tricks that are a little different than the toss and catch types of tricks. The chapter titled "Balances and Cigar Box Moves" starts to cover tricks in an area I like to call 'static devilsticking', or 'contact devilsticking'. In these types of tricks the devilstick usually rests on the handsticks, you don't hit it back and forth. There are a few nice spins, tosses, and catches in this section. Many of these moves are not necessarily fancy tricks themselves, but are good for combining two tricks together. I was able to take some of these moves and combine them with a couple of tricks I already do to make some nice, smooth transitions.

There are also tricks described which trap the devilstick between the handstick and your arm, arm rolls, body moves (behind the back, under the leg hits), and one on flourishes and curls. Don't get overly excited about the last section I mentioned on flourishes and curls. The flourish he describes is one used in juggling, it has the hand holding the devilstick, and does not involve the handsticks. Also the type of curl mentioned is not the one done from a helicopter spin (of which is described in Todd Strong's book).

The book does cover all the basic tricks and has some nice illustrations to go along with the descriptions. The illustrations are also helpful by coloring each half of the devilstick a different shade so that you can see the number of spins in a trick (they did seem to miss a few illustrations where this might have been helpful, like the propeller).

I would recommend this book to someone starting out before I would recommend the Todd Strong book, only because it covers some additional tricks. However, I couldn't determine which of the two books would be better at describing how to start devilsticking since I already devilstick. As for advanced devilstickers, this may not be the book to buy (but just wait for part two!). It depends on if you are willing to buy the book with the goal to get a few new ideas for tricks. I was just going to wait for part two to come out, but the sample from Circustuff's web page was interesting enough to get me to buy it. Since reading the book I have come up with numerous 'static' tricks to practice. So for me the book has been worth the money. But, I am eagerly awaiting for when Chris is going to come out with Mastering Devilstick - part two.

I purchased the book through Infinite Illusions.

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