*Knife throwing – A primer for a dying art*
Many people have an interest in this sport –hobby-art after seeing it done so well in the movies. Charles Bronson and others make it seem so easy. It’s not. Who can forget the Magnificent Seven movie and the knife thrown beating the gun? Just remember that’s the movies. Also, Throwing your weapon away is never a good idea :) This is for fun and sport.
Here are a few observations I have found in 35 years of throwing.
If you are good you will miss 2 out of 10 throws. (Non point stick)
If you are good you will hit point first but not in the 6 inch target square 4 of 10 times.
You need to develop maai (my-eye) a Japanese word for measuring target distance.
My term “Point Stick” definition:
This is when you are throwing and the point of the knife accurately impacts the target. It may NOT stick in the target. This is due to target density, material grain direction etc. It was however a good throw. It is not the ego booster that a solid level stick is but ego must be left out of knife throwing or you will die of frustration. Every miss is a lesson in how to do it better.
Softer targets are advised. I use cardboard over pine. The cardboard “prints” the knife impact if you miss. This will help you quickly adjust and improve your throwing. It also helps protect your knives.
If you are worried about breaking your knife, don’t throw it. Buy some knives you can throw. I have mastered throwing my everyday carry knife a CRKT M16-14LE folder. Most folders are too light to be thrown. The CRKT is solid metal and has straight lines
A lot of work goes in to a successful throw. A proper stance, estimating distance, factoring in both blade length and weight all make a difference.
If throwing point first and having a half rotation, the closer you are to the blade tip the closer you are to the target. The further up the blade you hold, the further it will travel. (Inside the 20 foot range.)
With a knife at about 12 inches long, you can throw from the handle and expect 1 full rotation at 12 feet. The smoother your release the longer you can stretch this distance.
The object is to have the blade traveling the last half distance in a way that it will impact point first. At a high rate of spin (many rotations) you opportunity to get a point stick is drastically reduced.
Power is always a question. Use enough to get the blade accurately to the target. Once you begin to point stick most of the time, increase power slowly. You will feel when it is right.
This is not a quick learn skill for most people. Some people have a natural ability. I trained XXXXXXX at the last IC and he was hitting 90% in no time. Some people can easily judge distance and what the knife will do if thrown consistency. Others have to work on acquiring those skills.
When you first start out, use the same knife. Once you get the feel for it add a similar knife. Once you are hitting in the 60% range mix it up a bit. Your percent will drop but that means that you are flexing your skill muscle. After a while you will be able to throw most anything. I have trained folks in self defense. As part of a silly demonstration I throw a craftsman screwdriver through a board to illustrate a point. You can develop the skills to use anything in throwing.
Once your skills increase, move to better knives. Throw what you carry or carry what you throw. I have a friend that is a chef in a restaurant I showed him how I throw large kitchen knives. He is now ready for trouble in his work environment.
Don’t forget the safety aspect of this sport. Where glasses or goggles. Knives bounce back when you miss. Most of the times they will not make it back too far. There are exceptions. Keep a first aid kit handy. Your knives do not need to be very sharp for target practice, just pointy. Do not throw from a blade hold with the edge in, even if it is dull.
Sometimes your children bet you that you can’t do something. Sometimes you win!
Sometimes you do it twice and then you amaze both yourself and your children. (Two knives thrown simultaneously.)
You may ask what you can do with this skill. Well don’t count on killing many snakes. It is a Hail Mary at best with self defense. There are so many better options, IF you have a choice.
I have hunted small game with a knife with some success. You normally do not kill it outright with a knife. You will wound it and possibly pin it down. When hunting like this it is best to use a (long) club or a frog gig along with your knife to hold and dispatch your prey. There are the rare occasions that you have a nice clean kill and don’t spoil meat but don’t plan on that.
Most of the time, it is just a fun way to spend a couple hours outdoors de-stressing.
Knife throwing a Practical guide……Harry McEvoy
Another good a book that goes in to Extreme detail of the throw is Pananadata guide to knife throwing. Pat is a black belt in Aikido and a skilled thrower. He takes you through his journey of beginner to expert in throwing. He has great illustrations in the book
Have fun and always throw safe and responsibly.
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