PRÓLOGO
The Joy of Magic
Miguel Gómez

The heartbeat of card magic is in Spain. Over the centuries this heartbeat has moved from country to country, from continent to continent, and for much of the twentieth century, with great thanks due to Dai Vernon, it was in the United States. But now, for the last few decades, due in large part to masters Arturo Ascanio, Juan Tamariz, Gabriel Moreno, Luis García, and many others, it is solidly beating in Spain.

Twenty years ago in New York, some interesting card men from all over the world came together to discuss the art in an intentionally Escorial style. Juan Tamariz brought with him a young cardman that I had never met, Miguel Gómez. Even though we didn't share a common tongue, I could understand Miguel perfectly. He spoke to me with his flawless sleight of hand. And he didn't just speak to me. I noticed the other cardmen watching and, without exception, this new young man strongly impressed everyone at the little gathering.

A few years went by before I saw Miguel again. It has been my experience that, sometimes, when I see someone who is astonishingly good, the experience grows in reflection and when we meet again my memory proves overactive or glorified. With Miguel it was precisely the opposite. On our next meeting, not only was my first opinion substantiated, but Miguel had become even better! Then, at a still later meeting, I was privileged to have Miguel show me the holy grail of sleight of hand. Ever since Fred Black and T. Nelson Downs claimed they could do truly perfect riffle shuffles, sleight-of-hand artists have wondered if it could be possible. I can now testify that Miguel Gomez does perfect riffle shuffles! Not only does Miguel do them, he can do them every time and even hold a conversation and look around while shuffling! I've never seen anyone else who could even come close to this. My point in revealing this about Miguel is that he is not only a master of sleight of hand, but he is a masters’ master. He can actually do the mythical and seemingly impossible.

I am delighted that Miguel and Luis have written this book. Most magic books fall into two categories, those that need to be written but never are, and those that we don't need but are written nonetheless. The book you hold is in the rather rarefied third category: those which we need and are, in fact, written. It is not especially common that a living (and young) master actually parts with his hard-won, personal material. We are very lucky indeed that the authors have given us this book. The plots and methods are wonderful, and they are also very special because of Miguel’s approach, which favors sleights over gaffs whenever possible. But for me this book really stands out because it includes Miguel’s treatise on practice. Many fields of skilled endeavor have systematic approaches to practice, whereas sleight of hand really doesn’t. Cellist and baseball batters are coached and taught how to excel, whereas we are told to practice but rarely are we told how to practice. I suspect many practitioners don’t even consider the question. But in a glimpse behind Miguel’s curtain we get some of his thinking and advice on how to acquire perfect sleight-of-hand technique. This makes Miguel’s book especially valuable.

Thank you Miguel and Luis for your fine work and for this fine book. I hope that it will be just one of many from you.
William Kalush