By Kevin Ho
WHAT IS ARROWDYNAMIX?
ArrowDynamix is a tool for Cardists to explore the themes of direction, juxtaposition and flow within the context of Cardistry. In simple terms, it’s an arrow-themed deck of cards that can be used to accentuate one’s moves, as well as helping them create new ones.
Here's the official trailer:
Here are some amazing takes on the concept by Cardists around the world:
ArrowDynamix was inspired by the Symbol of Chaos, origami folding instructions, as well as the question, “What if a deck of cards told you what to do?”
The image of cards with arrows on them pointing out in all sorts of different directions seemed like a really cool concept to me, and so I got a hold of some blank playing cards and drew arrows on them. The rest is history.
The first big advancement with ArrowDynamix came when I added a shorter, horizontal arrow on the faces of the cards to complement the larger, vertical arrow on the backs. This allowed for a retention of vision while performing certain isolations and front-facing routines.
At the time of ArrowDynamix’s demo video that premiered at Cardistry-Con 2016, it was originally just a 4-card add-on that you could use to replace the jokers and ad cards in your own deck, so that way you could incorporate the use of ArrowDynamix with the cards you were already using. Nonetheless, you can also see some instances of a full deck of ArrowDynamix being used in the demo video below:
The idea to make a full-deck version didn’t seriously cross my mind until Zach Mueller suggested it to me in early 2019, 3 years later.
With the concept of a full deck in mind, I realized that adding a border to the back design would help frame the arrows and also improve packet definition when performing packet cuts and the like. While I was drawing arrows on blank cards during the drafting phase one day, it also struck me that if the backs featured arrows that were white-on-black instead of the original black-and-white configuration, then that would help improve the contrast between the backs and the faces, the latter of which would remain black-on-white.
The next stage of evolution involved the indices of the cards. Originally they didn’t exist within the context of ArrowDynamix , but then I played around with having the horizontal arrows on the faces point in different directions. The original ArrowDynamix concept deck featured an arrow pointing upwards on the back (⬆️) and if you turned the card over page-style, a horizontal arrow pointing to the left (⬅️). I then realized that I could have half the deck arranged in one configuration (up arrow on back (⬆️), left arrow (⬅️) on face and the other half arranged in another configuration, up arrow (⬆️) on back, right arrow (➡️) on face which would then allow for more versatility in terms of randomly generated arrow states when performing moves, and also allow for more possibilities when stacking the cards for certain directionally-based sequences. The obvious answer, then, in terms of how to tell each card apart, was to have the indices present, where all the black suits would be of one configuration and all the red suits the other.
Lastly, one of the final stages of evolution with ArrowDynamix was the name. When I first introduced the deck at CC16 it was called "ArrowDynamics", a play on the word ‘aerodynamics’. However, I later found out that Arrow Dynamics was a notable roller coaster company, and as such the #arrowdynamics hashtag on Instagram was flooded with photos of roller coasters. So, to save hashtaggers from typing an additional letter and to also claim a more unique space for the cards on IG, I changed the name to “ArrowDynamix”, which I later realized also included the word ‘mix’ at the end, making it an even more fitting name for a deck based around, well, mixing cards.
TIPS TO CREATE
Creating with ArrowDynamix is quite easy and pretty fun. To begin, perform an opener of your choice, and then examine the directions that the arrows you can now see are pointing. Try to then maneuver the cards and packets in such ways as to follow the directions that these arrows are pointing. You can either do this by shifting a card/packet in the direction of the arrow, turning over a card/packet in an arrow’s direction, or even rotating a card/packet into a preferred direction, and then following that up with either of the two aforementioned movements. It can be a challenge sometimes, but it’s a rewarding one at that.
OUR FAVOURITE ARROWDYNAMIX IDEAS
Here are some of our favourite ArrowDynamix ideas by Cardists around the globe:
Even though ArrowDynamix is an idea that started in 2015, I know that so much is still possible with it, and I hope that with the availability of the cards to the general public, more people will be able to explore what they can do with this concept. I’ve also been brewing on what’s to come next from Momentum, so if you want to stay tuned to all the latest new developments, be sure to follow my brand @momentum.cards on Instagram. Thanks so much!
Which are you all-time favourite ArrowDynamix creations, original and unoriginal?
KEVIN: My favourite ArrowDynamix moves are as follows:
Original Creation: My favorite original ArrowDynamix move is an idea that came to me later on that I didn’t actually film earlier for whatever reason. It was to use this backpalm flourish (that I believe Zach, Noel, and Chase co-created) as a satisfying looping sequence that you could perform up to 26 times in a row (it only works with the black suits, unless you slip the cards under the deck the other way with the red suits). It looks like this:
Unoriginal Creation: My favorite unoriginal ArrowDynamix move is Osmo by Kyle Tran! It looks like this:
Are you looking forward to making a different version of the deck in the future? If so, would you update the colorway or explore upon having newer types of arrows on it?
KEVIN: Yes, and I’d also like to explore additional arrow types in addition to new colorways.
Will you be making tutorials on moves for ArrowDynamix at some point?
KEVIN: Yup! It might have to wait a while though, it’s starting to get too cold to film stuff outdoors. Then again, perhaps I can film the entirety of said tutorials indoors.
What are your future plans for ArrowDynamix? What direction do you think it is headed to, moving forward? (Pun Intended)
KEVIN: That’s definitely dictated by the community - the more people can get their hands on ArrowDynamix, the more people there are to explore and expand upon what’s possible with this concept. I’ve been blown away by what Cardists have come up with so far, and I’m looking forward to being more surprised and delighted with people’s inventions using this deck.