News: Acclaimed Lock Picker Explains the Art of Competitive Locksport

Acclaimed Lock Picker Explains the Art of Competitive Locksport

Acclaimed Lock Picker Explains the Art of Competitive Locksport

If anybody knows how to pick a lock, it's Schuyler Towne.

Towne is a competitive lockpicker, professional security researcher, founder of Non-Destructive Entry Magazine, and the genius behind Open Locksport.  He's also a frequent presenter at DEFCON, talking in the past about influencing lock manufacturers, using keys to your advantage, and most recently, DIY non-destructive entry. There's also a thorough post on the DEFCON website where he explains what rakes, hooks and profile lockpicks are and what they do.

Overall, he's an amiable geek who wants to share his knowledge, and in the video below, he gives us all an introduction to his basic locks and lockpicking course, telling us all about his passion for locks. He even shows the basics of lockpicking and master keys, gives a rundown of competitive locksport and tells us a story from his bouts in the Dutch Open (LockCon) back in 2006, where he faced (and beat) the #2 lockpicker in the world, Arthurmeister, and lost against the #1, Dr. Manfred Bölker (who is not just a lock cracker, but a dentist as well).

Towne, referring to his loss against Bölker:

"He was so calculating and ... taught me a very good lesson about paying attention to your opponent. You don't need to look at what you're doing when you pick except for when you set tension. From there, you can pick relatively absent-eyed, but if you're watching what your opponent's doing, and able to get to a point where you can process what you're feeling and what you're observing at the same time, you can gain so much information by watching your opponent pick the lock that you are about to have to pick.

"When I opened my lock, after having to go through quite a cascade, swapping the direction that I was applying tension, and so on and so forth, I said 'open,' I looked at him, he was looking me in the eyes and said 'Ah, and now I know how to open it, too'."

Some think of Bölker's method as cheating, but it's a technique used in most competitive sports, including poker... even Scrabble.

For more on lockpicking, check out this how-to which eliminates the use of standard lock picks.

2 Comments

That's a great video

Awesome video instructions! :D I really want to try it.. but I think the lock picks are Illegal in my country if you aren't a locksmith :/

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