The cold steel rests comfortably between your fingers as you stare intensely at the target about 13 feet away. The whole world fades away as you put all your energy into the 12-inch throwing knife that propels toward the roughly 4-inch wide bullseye.
Not many things in life can top the 2-second sequence when you throw a knife at a target because it requires concentration, practice and skill. While throwing knives for fun or competition might look hard at first, it's not that difficult to get started.
Here's everything you need to know about getting starting with throwing knives.
Why You Should Learn the Art of Knife Throwing
While reading this, you may be on the fence about whether or not to learn knife throwing, especially if those around you may not understand your interest in the hobby. Here are four compelling reasons why you should pick up a throwing knife.
1. Throwing Knives a Part of History
If you're a knife buff, chances are you're a history buff. The art of throwing knives stretches back to prehistoric times and is filled to the brim with interesting history you can relive in your backyard with just a target and some throwing knives. Throwing knives and other devices were used by Native Americans and African tribes, not to mention Japanese warriors. Read more about the history of throwing knives.
2. You Can Make It Competitive
If you're down to just hang out in your backyard and let out some steam throwing knives, you can, but knife throwing is also a sport. Many organizations, such as the American Knife Throwing Alliance, have local competitions around the country that pit the best knife throwers against each other. If you need a little competition as motivation to be the best, knife throwing can give you that.
3. Knife Throwing as Entertainment
This one may be a no-brainer, but knife throwing doesn't have to be intense. It can be a relaxing and fun hobby akin to something like playing pool or throwing darts. Instead of wasting money going out or finding temporary entertainment, a good set of throwing knives and a target can offer countless hours of entertainment.
4. It Can Be Very Sociable
When you want to take it easy by yourself, knife throwing can accommodate, but it's also a great way to be social and make new friends. You can join competitions or hold informal gatherings in your backyard. If that doesn't float your boat, you can easily invite your friends over and teach them how to throw knives.
Basic Types of Throwing Knives
Before moving on to the instructional part of this article, it's important to look at the different types of throwing knives. There are, in fact, other throwing devices like the tomahawk and shuriken, but you can learn more about those as you become more advanced. Here are the three basic types of throwing knives.
1. Blade-Heavy Throwing Knife
The names of each type are fairly self-explanatory. A blade-heavy throwing knife is one that has more weight in the blade than in the handle. Although it's a little confusing at first, you want the heaviest end of the knife being thrown first, so you would grip the handle of this type of knife when throwing. Blade-heavy are sometimes considered ideal for beginners because they're easier to learn how to throw from the hammer technique.
2. Handle-Heavy Throwing Knife
A handle-heavy throwing knife features the bulk of its weight in the handle, meaning you would want to throw the knife so that the handle goes first. Since this requires you to hold the blade end of the knife, beginners may have a hard time getting used to it.
3. Balanced Throwing Knife
The two previous types are unbalanced, but on balanced knives, the center of gravity is in the middle. This makes it possible to throw from either the blade or handle without consequence. The rotations on balanced throwing knives are more predictable, but some beginners have a hard time at first with these types. Still, these offer much more flexibility.
Knife Throwing Kit for Beginners
The great thing about the hobby is that you don't need many supplies to get started. To help simplify things, we've created this beginner's kit for knife throwers.
This throwing knife set will give you everything you need to get started with knife throwing. The DVD "Fundamentals of Knife, Hawk and Axe Throwing" explains the basics clearly and thoroughly. It offers helpful tips for beginners and even covers some more advanced techniques. The set of three Gil Hibben throwing knives are among the most imitated throwing knives on the market and for good reason. They provide you with sturdy training knives that you can grow into.
It's always good to have different-sized throwing knives, and at 13.5-inches, the Cold Steel Perfect Balance Thrower is ideal for your outdoor adventures. Not only does its heavier weight and tip design make it great for sticking in the wood but it can also double as a hatchet. These three items, along with a good target (which you can make yourself) are all you need to get started.
Beginner's Guide to Throwing a Knife
Now that you have a little more info on why you should learn knife throwing and the types available, it's time to get down to business. Here are the basic steps to throwing a knife.
Image courtesy of knifethrowing.info
Start with the Hammer Grip
There are several ways you can grip a knife when you're throwing it at a target, but we're starting with the most basic throwing-knife grip: the hammer grip. The hammer grip is by far the easiest for beginners. As you might imagination, you hold the knife as you would a hammer. The fingers of your dominant hand should be wrapped around the handle of the knife and your thumb should be touching the handle at the top for extra control.
Get into the Right Stance
Stand about 10 feet away from your target. If you're right handed, put your left foot forward and have your right foot back, with your feet forming a 45 degree angle. Slightly bend your knees and make sure you're stable.
Keys to Getting the Throw Down
Again, if you're right handed, your left hand should be pointing at the target as if you're aiming. Bring the knife in your right hand straight back above your head. Propel the knife back down as though you're a butcher making a chop, Shifting your weight forward, let the knife fly. One of the hardest parts is knowing when to release the knife, but the key is to practice and be consistent in your throw. As you practice, slightly alter your release time and throw to correct any issues.
For more information and products related to knife throwing, check out our throwing knives section.