Back in October 2012 I attended a Pickpocket Training Day with Professional Opportunist James Brown, and I blogged about it on this site here. It was a great session and many people have asked me about it, but not everyone has the time to travel, or may have logistical and financial constraints based on geographical location. Well now this isn’t a problem as James is now providing an online training course to teach the Secrets of PickPocketing.
I purchased access to this training upon its release back in October 2015 for a couple of reasons. Firstly it serves as a good refresher and future reference material, but I am also a fan of James work so like to check these things out if reasonably priced.
So in this post I am going to provide a brief review of the course and its material and what you can expect. I should start off by saying the presentation of James material is from an “entertainment” perspective, but this shouldn’t put you off as technique is technique. My interests in learning and understanding pickpocketing is two fold, one for awareness to reduce the risk of being a target, and also understand better the motivations, techniques and approaches that are used in criminal activities, so have this knowledge and skills in my repertoire for work, and its good fun to do with friends and people you meet with the right permissions!
The Secrets of Pickpocketing course is the first to cover both the technical skills of theatrical pickpocketing as well as the more important lessons on misdirection, attention management and mindset. This course takes you step by step through the necessary ‘soft’ skills before blending them with the technical steals to give you the best possible foundation.
With 6 hours of tuition, discussion and live performance (including commentary) this course is the perfect introduction to the Art of the Steal.
The training is broken down into five sections, and I will give some coverage of those below. If you dont want to read and just get on with learning / seeing something, click the image at the end of the post and get access to a FREE video to learn the “Easy Steel” pickpocket method.
Introduction – As you would guess from the title its an introduction into the course material thats going to be covered and the format. This helps set the scene for the many hours of footage you are about to digest.
Fundamentals – This section is extremely comprehensive and provides the base level thought process and mindset that should be used when approaching pickpocketing. Firstly it covers mental and physical relaxation, this is a key part in the art of pickpocketing, as it requires smooth and fluid actions, not tense and contorted muscles that are stiff like an iron bar. Then we cover misdirection, its probably no surprise that this is a also important, it defines how and why we would want to redirect the attention elsewhere and away from the area the steal is taking place. Then we look at proximity and approach, so how do you get close to someone and up in their personal space, how can you do that in a non challenging way (James draws on some of his past experiences as a medical professional). Lastly in this section he covers how you put all the fundamentals together, putting the skills and mindset together to create an environment to facilitate dipping / pickpocketing.
Action – Now onto the actual doing of things 🙂 In the action section we start of looking at how we access what someone might have on their person, this could be from a visual and inspection perspective. Then we get started with some method, so we look at 2 approaches to steal from an outside jacket pocket. Then we take a brief stop to look at the ethical and moral concerns of who should you pickpocket, this is from a theatrical entertainment perspective remember, but useful and valuable information for anyone to consider. Next James discusses the situation where someone has nothing to steal and how you could handle this in the entertainment setting (ie give them or get someone else to give them something). Then we are back into method again, covering techniques on stealing from the front trouser pocket and back trouser pocket, then another little break to discuss how you handle the accusations of stealing. Next fear is discussed and how you can overcome it to attempt your first steals, so how to practice, and who to try out your developing talents on. Now back into a chunk of method again, covering steal techniques for the lapel pocket and 5 approaches for an inside pocket. Then another little break to discuss performance theory and the reason and motivation behind what you are doing and how you can present / communicate this to others. Then back into some method again, covering tie stealing, how to combine multiple steals and how to steal cufflinks. Then we have another interlude to discuss knowing and understanding what you are stealing before you go flashing it about (no one wants to be waving a sex toy around behind someones back to everyones embarrassment). Now we move into the closing sections, we kick things off with how to steal different types of watch and how to steal someones belt. Finally James talks about why you don’t need Ninja skills to be a proficient pick pocket and how you can practices these methods that have been taught throughout the section.
Going Forward – This section talks about the next steps, and how you may integrate this into magic, mentalism and hypnosis from a performer perspective. There is also some good examples and live performance which serve as great reference points, and then some conclusionary comments.
In the trenches – Finally we have various lessons learned in the trenches, providing real world examples of how things can turn out. I really like these sorts of sections, seeing and understanding how things work in the real world not just in a training setting. There are also a couple of outtake videos but thats just for shits and giggles.
So I hope you found the above a little informative and you get an idea of the type of concepts covered in the training if you decide to purchase the training for yourself. I really enjoyed the material and have gone back to some of the videos to fine tune some things. James covers this, but you can practice just with a jacket on the back of a chair, but ideally you need to rope friends and family into your training, and if you feel really invested get a shop dummy / mannequin to train with (I keep threatening to do this). At the time of writing the online training costs $147 USD / £104 GBP, and I think thats pretty reasonable, especially as they have already added some more videos based on customer feedback. My only gripe with the training is that its solely online, so if you don’t have an Internet connection your stuffed. I would prefer the ability to simply download the material and add to my media server and sync to my devices so I can sit and watch whenever, but there are of course ways around this.
If this is something of interest, you can find out more and also get access to the FREE video of the “Easy Steel” technique by clicking the image below. Thanks again for visiting the site, please share and subscribe!