A Beginner’s Guide to Knife Throwing
Knife-throwing looks impressive, and is easy to learn. Obviously, the image that springs to mind is of a magician throwing knives at a woman as she spins around. This is not a good trick to begin on: try throwing your knife at a cork board, and work up to targets from magazines.
One of the most fascinating yet lesser-known types of competitive sports is the art of knife throwing. The skill has been utilized throughout history as an effective means of hunting, warfare and hand-to-hand defense. Many of today’s military personnel are trained with the skill, while a few special circuses and magic acts still perform knife throwing demonstrations to sold-out crowds.
You need a large knife, with a long blade – between 6″ to 10″ in total length. You will need to hold this by the sharp edge, so consider using a blunter knife to begin with
Hold the knife between your index finger and your thumb. Hold it by the point of the blade, as close to the tip as you feel is possible. It is more important to have control of the knife than it is too look cool, so be sure that you are holding enough of the blade. Dropping it on your foot can be painful.
You should have the cutting edge of the blade towards you, as you bring the handle of the knife near to your ear, so that the knife is just shy of being parallel with the ground. The knife should not be touching your head, but also not too far away. Your forearm should be on the same alignment as your body.
Throw the knife by bringing you arm down sharply, and parting your fingers. Keep your arm towards the target, and be careful not to drop the knife as you throw forwards. You will not need to throw as hard as you imagine, since the momentum of the knife will cause if to travel for some distance.
Tips to keep in mind:
— Knife throwing is more about finesse than sheer strength. It is most important to keep the entire movement fluid, and only apply as much force as is needed. Once you get the hang of it, you will be amazed at how little force is needed to be accurate.
— Different knives will have differing blade to handle weight ratios, and thus the location of their fulcrums will differ. Knives that have the center of gravity located directly at the hilt (where the blade meets the handle) are better suited for learning to throw. They tend to be easier to control. So don’t try this with a Bowie knife right off.
— As always, heavier objects will require more force to propel them at the desired speed over the required distance. Instead of increasing the strength of your throw beyond the point of losing fluidity and control, you might consider aiming for a point slightly above your intended target when throwing with larger/heavier knives.
— It helps to count your paces away from the target (assuming it is stationary) so that you get a feel for how hard you have to throw the knife and can use the distance for a reference.
— If you find that you hit the target with the butt of the knife instead of the blade, adjust one pace forward or backward. DO NOT change the amount of force applied in your throw. You simply need to allow more or less distance for rotation. A good rule of thumb is that 1 pace equals 1/2 rotation of the knife. You want to be at the correct distance (or multiple) for the blade to be pointing at the target when the knife reaches it.
— You want the knife to fly with a smooth rotation, which if should not be a problem if you grip it at the fulcrum.
— Practice, Practice, Practice!
— After completing a practice session, always clean the blade of the knife. Oils from your hand can degrade the metal in the blade and cause it to rust.
— Throwing knives, even dull ones, is extremely dangerous. Use common sense. Never aim at a person. Never do this where any person or property might be damaged. Adult supervision is required.
— The knife might bounce back if you miss, so stand back and don’t take your eyes off the knife until you know it is safely at rest.
— Always use common sense and DO NOT practice with a sharp knife.