Build Your Own Deathtrap: Lockpicks and the Escape Artist

Build Your Own Deathtrap: Lockpicks and the Escape Artist

Lockpick and locksmithing sites seldom talk about escape artists; after all, it’s a very specialized art. But what that leaves behind is something we think is really valuable: the mindset of an escape artist.

Because we’re always seeking ingenuity, we’re always looking to open more “doors of perception”. What we’d like to do is take you on a brief trip into what the skill of unlocking can do for your thoughts.

The concept of performed stage magic goes back several hundred years in its current form, but the idea of the “escape artist” is fairly new—it’s only about a century old. The concept is simple: the magician/artist somehow gets out of some seemingly impossible situation. But think about what it takes to do that.

First off, this is a stage act. So outside of anything else going on, the situation doesn’t just have to be difficult—it has to be something where people will look at it and say, “That is impossible”, and perhaps even “That person is going to die; I can’t imagine how anyone would survive this.”  

We won’t go over the art itself in this article—we’re just going to give you an unfolding series of ideas for you to use.

So to do a truly great escape act, you need to actually break through several barriers. 

  1. The barrier of the outside mind. You’re going to be using your lockpicking skills, sure, but before you begin to apply them, you need to make sure that you’re going to astound an audience. And that means you need to break out of existing thought patterns and ideas. You need to conceive an idea which will strike others as impossible. You can’t just say “I’ll escape from handcuffs”; you have to get something which jars other people out of their mindsets and astonishes them—“I’ll escape from handcuffs while escaping from a steel box, which has been thrown out of an airplane.”  
  2. Then you need to conceptualize how to do it. The various physical techniques of the escape arts are still closely-guarded, but as Harry Houdini said, “If you can learn how to pick a lock, then you can learn how to escape from everything. The idea is the same; only the physical tools are different.
  3. And then you need to do it well enough that you survive and escape. This is by no means certain. Escape artists have died in the past.
  4. Which means there’s a final breakthrough: You need to escape past fear, as well


That’s a lot more than we usually think about when we discuss lockpicking. That’s because you, an aspiring lockpick artist, have extraordinary potential ahead of you.


Learn to Will

Learn to Dare

Learn to Open!

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