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Val Valentino, better known as the Masked Magician became a household name with the television series Breaking the Magician’s Code: Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed after a longtime stint as a casino show performer in Las Vegas.
In the four-part special, and subsequent series Valentino exposed the techniques behind everything from levitation, to pulling a rabbit out of a hat, to the death-defying buried alive tricks.
He faced a wave of backlash and even lawsuits from small-circuit magicians who were forced to retire their no longer mysterious tricks, but Valentino defended his actions that revealing these secrets would encourage children to learn magic themselves, that the “magic” in the trick was more in showmanship than the trick itself.
Memory competitors are a lot like magicians, aren’t they? It seems like their stunts are something out of an illusionist’s handbook. Memorizing 130 random words in a minute? 1170 binary digits memorized in five minutes? It seems impossible.
But unlike secrecy in the world of magic, memory competitors are eager to share their techniques. These traditions that they utilize for honing their skills are thousands of years old and begging to be shared.
In this interview, I sit down to chat with Simon Luisi, founder and chairperson of the Canadian Memory Championships. He is a keynote speaker on memory and inventor of the directional memory method for card memorization. He is also a Gold Award winner for Toastmasters and a chess enthusiast.
Pictured above, you’ll see James Gerwing who won the 2019 competition. Simon is behind him to the right. (James took the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass and you can hear us discussing his win on this episode.)
Simon and I discuss the skills necessary for memory competition, how they can improve your day-to-day as a lifelong learner, and why a personal memory training routine is necessary for any kind of personal development in memory arts.
If you know that a one-size-fits-all practice isn’t for you…if you’ve tried other techniques and failed because they were too rigid…or you just didn’t know where to begin…
If you want to break into the world of memory competitions, but believed those athletes to be “way out of your league”…
Or you just want to understand the hype and what the Major Method’s all about…
This podcast is for you.
All you have to do is press play down below to listen in on:
- Why Simon prefers the term Memory Castle to Memory Palace, what’s the difference, and which one you should use
- What’s required (or not) to participate in memory competitions (it’s easier than you may have been led to believe!)
- Which memory disciplines to devote daily practice to to become a champion of memory…even if you don’t ever compete
- The reason a distraction-free study zone isn’t ideal for optimal memory training, especially if you study tough subjects
- How memory competitions can be revamped in order to give a real challenge
- Simon’s tweak to the Major System that revolutionized his practice (and it can do the same for you and might be interesting, even if you’re using the Dominic System!)
- Why customization and self-leadership in memory systems is important
- The reason to be a self-learner if you truly want to improve your memory
- How photography and film exposure relates to memory training and time (well-spent) in practice
Further Resources on the Web, this podcast, and the MMM Blog:
Simon’s official home on the web
The Canadian Memory Championships
Memory Athlete Braden Adams On The Benefits Of Memory Competition
Katie Kermode On Memory Competition and Casual, Everyday Mnemonics
Great Interview, Anthony!
Can you please clarify if Simon utilizes both Y and F/V for substitution of the number 8? I can definitely see the benefits of including Y and W in the Major Method.
Thanks in advance,
Thanks for checking this one out, and for your recent videos in the MMM Mastermind group, Adolfo!
I believe Simon uses both m and w for 3 and all of f, v and y for 8. If you look at the y, it kind of has the letter v in it and sometimes acts as a consonant. It makes perfect sense and I’m really grateful for this tip. It creates a watershed of new potential words!
There were a couple points in the interview when I wondered where Simon was headed, and then suddenly I’d see his point and it would make complete sense.
This was a bit of a ride, with a lot of valuable insight.
Glad you found this one, Matthew, and great that you got some valuable insights from the discussion.
Anything you’d like to see covered on future episodes of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast?