A question that frequently comes up in the #Mentalism channel on the server is “Is hypnosis real?” and that’s normally quickly followed by “How do I learn it?” The answer to the first is ‘Yes’ and The Manchurian Approach by Anthony Jacquin I’m reviewing here is a very good option to answer the second question.
Who is Anthony Jacquin?
Anthony Jacquin is a hypnotist and magician with many years experience in both performing and teaching. He is the author of the book ‘Reality is Plastic’ (of which an excerpt is included with this project in PDF form) which is one of the standard recommended reads when people ask about learning hypnosis. He is knowledgeable, friendly, and most importantly here, an excellent teacher.
What is The Manchurian Approach?
The Manchurian Approach is a DVD set/download that extends Anthony’s ‘Reality is Plastic’ book. It’s aimed specifically at magicians/mentalists, so if that’s you and you want to dip your toe into the world of hypnosis, this very much is something for you. It covers the basics enough to get a total beginner going, but also has enough meat to give people with some experience new information/ideas too.
What does The Manchurian Approach teach?
Instead of going into a detailed discussion of things, that will be pointless for people with no previous knowledge, and going over old ground to those who have, I’ll just list the contents:
The Manchurian Approach by Anthony Jacquin ├── Disk One │ ├── Trailer │ ├── Introduction & Structure │ ├── The Opener │ ├── The Setup │ ├── The Set Piece │ ├── Magnetic Fingers & Palms │ ├── Heavy Card - Pacing & Leading │ └── Eye to Hand Fixation ├── Disk Two │ ├── The Hanshake Induction │ ├── The Set Piece as the Induction │ ├── Deepening, Fractionation & The Wake Up │ ├── Live Performance #01 │ ├── Live Performance #02 │ ├── Live Performance #03 │ └── Live Performance #04 ├── Disk Three │ ├── Overview │ ├── Hypno Force │ ├── Hypno Peeks │ ├── Hypno Peeks: Performance │ ├── Reverse Mindreading │ ├── Hallucination │ └── Covert Wakeup ├── Disk Four │ ├── Final Thoughts │ ├── Health & Safety │ ├── Additional Peformances │ ├── Performance One │ ├── Performance Two │ ├── Performance Three │ ├── Performance Four │ ├── Performance Five │ └── Credits └── Reality is Plastic: extract & two supplement PDF files
That should be enough to give you a good taste of what they teach on the project, I will talk about a couple of the topics though as I feel there is something to be added.
The basics of introducing yourself, applies just as much to magic as it does to hypnosis, and it’s something that so many people get wrong. This really is a topic that gets far too little discussion in magic. Almost everything you watch/read assumes you already have the group there and they are receptive, without a word about how to get to that point. Seasoned performers have learned this by doing it, and it becomes second nature, so it seldom seems worth pointing out to people without the experience, but it very much is worth teaching, and full marks to Anthony for doing so here.
The Set Piece
What Anthony calls ‘The Set Piece’ is what are normally referred to as Suggestibility Tests. The reason he doesn’t call them Suggestibility Tests is because he’s not really using them as such here. They are more demonstrations than tests, or perhaps tests that 99% of people will pass anyway. All of which can be switched into full inductions if that’s what you want to do.
Magnetic Fingers & Palms
This is the bit most people who know anything about hypnosis will already be familiar with. Anthony introduces the principal if you don’t know it, and expands on it with some great subtleties if you already do. Even if you already know how to hypnotise people, do NOT skip this section.
How things are taught.
There are plenty of demonstrations (which is always a good thing), both in the real world and in the studio. The tuition is given via interviews with Chris Harding, who frankly I found a little annoying, but Anthony’s experience teaching shows as everything is clear and well covered. The live performances are by Anthony Jacquin himself and a couple of his friends/students. One of the students was Amit Badiani, who at the time of filming didn’t seem to have a really strong grasp of the methods. I’m not really sure why his performances were included. You can look up what he’s doing now on YouTube and it’s dramatically better than his demonstrations here. I would have thought that if he was included as ‘even a beginner can get great results’, this would have been made clear. It does demonstrate this though, even if not specifically mentioned, so it’s fair enough.
The magic stuff.
As I said, The Manchurian Approach is aimed at people wanting to mix magic and hypnosis. Disk Three is where the main meat of this discussion lies, and there really are some fantastic ideas. My dislike of the ACR is widely known, however I may well borrow one of the ideas here to combine it with an ID performance that will be a total magician fooler for a future club meeting. There are suggestions for peeks, forces, and plenty of other ideas, and this is all stuff you aren’t going to find in other hypnosis training as they aren’t aimed at magicians.
The Hows but not the Whys.
This brings us to my biggest complaint about the set. Anthony does a fantastic job of teaching how to do all the things required to use hypnosis in your act, but sadly doesn’t go into the theory of it at all. Yes, there are plenty of places you can read up on the theory side of things, but it would have been nice to go into it at least a little detail here. Even if it’s not overly important for your first few performances, if you want to take things further, an understanding of the theory would set you up for further research.
This is a fantastic box-set, and if you are at all interested in hypnosis, it really should be on your shelf. There are a couple of negatives, but they are so outweighed by the positives, it’s hard to mark The Manchurian Approach down for them. If you want to learn or improve hypnosis, this set is well worth the money.