North Texas Daily

A jack of all trades

A jack of all trades

Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

A jack of all trades
September 24
02:33 2015

Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

@kayleighnic0le

Local jiu jitsu gym owner has a few tricks up his sleeves

As a kid, Top Game Jiu Jitsu studio owner Blake Dvorak wasn’t focused on kicking a soccer ball around, building train sets or playing with toy cars. Instead, his interests lay within a simple deck of playing cards.

Ever since he was 10-years-old, Dvorak has spent his time learning different magic illusions.

“I watched a David Blaine TV special right around my tenth birthday,” Dvorak said. “Right after I watched it, I went out and bought my first magic set. That was it after that.”

Growing up, Dvorak and his family moved around a lot since his father, Dave, was in the Air Force. One of those moves took his family to Las Vegas when he was in sixth grade.

“We lived in Vegas for a while,” Dvorak said. “I got to grow up in an environment where so many magicians lived and performed. I got to see how it worked out first-hand.”

Dvorak said when he would walk down the Strip or explore different parts of Vegas he liked to perform tricks for passersby. Just a kid at the time, he wanted to show people what he could do.

One of Dvorak’s biggest supporters when he was starting out was his sister Brittany. She said her brother would constantly come to her asking for advice.

“We moved around a lot, so we were each other’s best friends,” Brittany said. “He would come into my room at night after spending hours practicing, have me drop everything and watch his new tricks. His face would always light up when he was doing any of his tricks.”

There are thousands of different magic tricks and illusions, but Dvorak chooses to focus on card tricks. He plans to continue improving his skills and has signed up to try out for “America’s Got Talent” next year.

24_MagicianWEB1

Blake Dvorak balances cards under his chin, showing off his tricks at the Jiu Jitsu gym Top Game where he teaches on Wednesday, September 23, 2015. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Dvorak said card tricks are fun to do at parties or when he is out with friends, but he also feels he has the right skills for them.

“I have always been more of a card man than just a magician,” Dvorak said. “It has been more of moving away from step-by-step tricks and going with the flow. I have more of an arsenal of slight-of-hand techniques as opposed to just tricks, and I can use those techniques to build up more of a variety of card tricks as I go.”

One particular person that became extremely interested in Dvorak’s card skills was his wife of nearly five months, Katy Dvorak. They met in high school when they both worked at McAlister’s Deli.

“Whenever he would clock out of work, he would go sit down at one of the tables and pull out his deck of cards,” Katy said. “It would always draw people in –including me – because I thought it was so fascinating. It isn’t something you see everyday or some card trick that everyone and their mom knows.”

Now, Katy always carries around an extra deck of cards for him in her purse.

Dvorak said a single trick could take months of rehearsal, but added practicing is one of his favorite things to do.

He said the trick to performing is mastering each movement until it is completely smooth, so clunky and unnatural actions look like the simplest task. If a trick is not fluid, it ruins the whole effect.

“I love learning new skills, especially difficult ones, and finally nailing them down after a lot of practice,” Dvorak said. “I keep drilling a trick over and over again in my mind until I feel I’ve mastered it, and that is actually extremely fun to me.”

While practicing his skills and spending time with his wife, Dvorak also opened Corinth-based Top Game Jiu Jitsu Studio in April 2014 with his father. Dvorak has been practicing jiu jitsu since he was a sophomore in high school. He now spends most of his days at the studio, which means he isn’t able to practice his card tricks as much as he would like.

Although he is busy trying to find ways to balance his love of card tricks with his interest in jiu jitsu, he said at the end of the day, the two are not much different.

“Jiu jitsu is really similar to card magic in that it takes a long time to learn, a lot of drilling and a lot of dedication to master it,” Dvorak said. “It gives me a reason to wake up every day, really. It’s something I have that’s mine that no one can take from me.”

For the past 13 years, Dvorak has been challenged with balancing multiple aspects of his life, but he said no matter what, he won’t stop performing. Not only does it make him happy, he said, but he also loves the looks on peoples’ faces after he has successfully completed a trick.

“I like to use my card tricks to take people out of their lives for a second and have them believe that something impossible just happened before their eyes,” Dvorak said. “No matter what, though, everything I have put my heart into has come to fruition so far, and I hope that it stays that way.”

Featured Image: Blake Dvorak poses in his jiu jitsu gym on Wednesday, Sept. 23. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

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