We sat down with Krissy, a locksmith, and learned how to pick locks and escape from handcuffs. It felt like spy school. We needed to know more, so Krissy gave us the basics on lock-picking.
What exactly is lock-pick sport?
Well there are two ways to answer this question. First, let me explain a little about who we are. Augusta Locksports is a non-profit, charitable organization that not only teaches physical security education, but turns locks and picking them into a puzzle solving type of hobby. The real definition for locksport is “the hobby or sport of bypassing locking mechanisms”. We encourage people to understand how locks work so they can better understand the value of locks as a security feature and locks as an intricate, physical puzzle that can be solved.
How did you get into it?
I have always enjoyed puzzles of various nature. I am one of those people who can sit for hours working on a real puzzle or a book of Sudoku when it was all the rage. My husband, Rory (President of Augusta Locksports) began going to meetings and getting asked to come to conferences that I started helping at. I will admit, I had little interest at first, but then I was slowly understanding how they functioned and I began trying to pick them myself. That was until I discovered that attendees really wanted to learn about handcuffs, which I picked up on fairly quick and made it my specialty!
What do you enjoy most about it?
The physical aspect of lock-picking that I enjoy is how rewarding it feels to open a lock for the first time after being shown how to do so. I remember my excitement the first time and with every conference we attend, and every person we meet that we turn onto the hobby, I feel like it is my first time when it is their first time! It is its own reward to teach another person a unique skill and watch the gears turning in their heads as they try just the right torquing combination to open the lock.
Why would this be important for girls to know or get into?
I think it is important because, although it is not a necessary life skill, it is one that I think would be beneficial if the need arose in a particular circumstance. You never know when you might be locked out of your own home or lose a key to something you treasure. It is nice to have a understanding and some skill to try to manipulate the lock yourself before you go grabbing the bolt cutters. Most women that I have spoken to say that it can be very calming as well. The use of one’s hands and a hyper-focus on any task can sharpen your cognitive skills which is never a bad thing, right?
How can other people get into it? What kind of advice would you give them?
I would recommend coming to one of our meetings or come to an event that we will headed to. Our events calendar can be found at our website, and other information found on our Facebook page. For those who are not in the Central Savannah River Area or in the State of Georgia, there are organizations like TOOOLus that have state by state chapters for lock-picking which sometimes hold local events. Youtube is another good source for watching people pick locks as a hobby with a few buzzword searches.
The advice I would give those seeking to start this as a hobby, is that you have to have patience and really stick with it. You will become frustrated at times and your hands get tired before your willingness to give up kicks in! Patience and a steady hand is really the key. Remember, there is no win or lose in this hobby and it should always be done for fun. We do not condone nefarious acts with lock picking tools, nor do we condone picking any locks that you do not personally own.
What should people look for when getting their "tools" (quality, type, brand, etc)?
There are many companies out there selling tools but a good rule of thumb to remember is if you are paying a super low price for a set, you will get what you pay for. Metal thickness or thinness is a factor in how good or bad the picks can be; Too thick will not be as effective and too thin will break with repeated use. We sell a lock-pick set and practice lock on our website that we fully support the quality and design of.
What other things do you enjoy doing for fun?
Artistic things. I love to paint and create things with my hands. Anything from arts and crafts to DIY’s and of course the art of makeup. Anything I can get my hands on that seems interesting or unique is what I gravitate towards.
What other nerd/geek/fandoms do you enjoy or partake in?
I love text-based RPGs. I also love cosplaying whether it is wearing the costumes or creating the outfit for myself or others. I think it ties into the artistry of it. I enjoy graphic novels and super old Nintendo games! I love many tv shows as well, adding me to the list of avid binge-ers.
What is something that makes you feel like a kick-ass lady? (other than breaking out of hand cuffs)
I think that my artistic eye leads me to see more beauty in the world and more beauty in others. So often we get lost in day to day life and forget to enjoy moments for what they are and see the beauty in them. I think the embracing of my own beauty but those people I meet, is what makes me a kick-ass lady.
How can people get in touch with you if they have questions or want more information?
We can be found on Facebook with a name search or feel free to check out our website. We have a meet up in the Atlanta area scheduled for August 19, 2017 at Battle and Brew in Sandy Springs. Come meet me and Augusta Locksports while you learn the hobby and enjoy some food and drinks! I look forward to answering any questions or comments! Many Many thanks to Alice and Lindsey for the interview and getting this evolving hobby out there!