Never seen the knife trick, Mike, so I won't offer postulations.
As for the other stuff, of course they're "basic usages." Isn't that what was being discussed -- the basics that look like magic, then -once the principles behind them are revealed- everyone says "is THAT all there is," and then you find that refining them makes you subtler and leads you into more sophisticated understandings, and so on? And, who's being "magicky"? The hand itself provides the lightest of touches. Again, isn't this what we're talking about? What the eye perceives, what is then revealed, and then the process of Brion's sweat equity, and so on?
There are just so many principles, but lots of ways to manifest them - some more sophisticated than others. We start at the basics, then add to that foundation as we grasp each level. Again, it's the trip of a lifetime. To me, one of the most intriguing aspects is that there are ways of using the body that are counter-intuitive; internal movements that people wouldn't normally think to do, and applications of those movements to provide external results. While the magician in the Strand Magazine demonstrated a handcuff escape that was a fraud (concealed key, but a clever way to retrieve it), this skill set we're discussing is for real, and it's a blast to see how far one can go with it in a lifetime.