If you can stick axes and knives in a target round
at one rotation while maintaining your plane of impact, read on.
If you have no idea what the above statement means,
go back to the home page and start reading from the Current rules on
down. Advanced throwing is going to take what you've learned in Basic
throwing and add a little "English."
Once you can consistently stick a tomahawk (or
whatever weapon you started with) at one rotation, the next thing
you'll do is throw with two rotations. Still using a standard tomahawk,
18 to 20 feet is the correct distance for two rotation. The only
difference is the amount of strength needed since you're throwing the
ax further. The same thing applies for three rotations, the maximum
you're likely to throw at a range (25 to 28 feet.) Multiple rotations
are possible with any weapon that normally rotates when thrown. What
must be remembered is that one rotation at twelve feet doesn't mean two
rotations is twenty four feet. A good starting point is to add 50% of
your one rotation distance for every additional rotation (i.e.: one
rotation at 12 feet, two rotations at 18, three rotations at 24.) If
you don't normally step while throwing you may find a step helps
add inertia for longer distances.
Note 1 1/2 rotations can be done also.
distance (yes, between 1 and 2 rotations) and hold the ax the same way
with one exception: the blade faces the thrower. When stuck the handle
should be pointing straight up.
The No-throw method can be used for two-handed
throws the same as one-handed.
Use both hands to hold the ax at the end
of the handle with the same grip you would use on a baseball bat. For
this you will want your body centered on the target with the ax
directly in front of you.
Bring the ax back straight so the ax head
ends up lower than your hands (beware of double-bit or spiked axes that
you don't bring it back and stab yourself in the back!)
Release the ax
with both hands simultaneously. Most two-handed axes have one rotation
at 20 feet.
Underhand ax throwing:
This is a great technique for people with injuries
that restrict throwing over the shoulder (since most people don't throw
underhand, it's also a cool way to show off.) There are two ways to
hold the ax for this throw. Both methods have the edge facing the
target, but when the ax sticks in the target the handle will point up
(12 o'clock) like a 1 1/2 rotation. Note that both of these throws have
the edge of the ax moving right past your leg. Pay very close attention
when underhand throwing. Also loose clothing (especially pants) are to
With the first method hold the ax so the blade
points toward you and not the target. Now lock your wrist and elbow all
way out so the handle is like an extension of your arm. Keep your arm
straight and bring it down to your side.
Throw the ax with your arm
straight, and release by just opening your hand (no wrist snapping.)
Release the ax when your hand is out in front of you and the same
height above the ground as your belt buckle (yeah, I know: my back
isn't perfectly straight.)
When the axes stick the handles will be pointing up.
With the second method hold the ax so the end of the
handle is near your thumb (upside down from a regular throw.) The ax
head will be on the same side of your hand as your pinkie finger. The
elbow needs to stay bent for the
entire throw, with the forearm parallel to the ground at release.
Keep your arm straight when winding up but the elbow needs
to stay bent for the
rest of the throw, with the forearm parallel to the ground at release.
This picture shows the two grips together. The elbow
bent is on top, wrist locked straight is below.
Sidearm throwing in my opinion is any throw where
the swing of the arm and weapon is anything other than a straight up
and down motion that can be noticed while a marshal observes the
thrower. If the weapon slips from the throwers hand half way through
the arc it could fly into the thrower standing at the next target. This
is why marshals clear the range, etc. before allowing sidearm throwing
(ergo: get the marshal's permission before attempting to throw
sidearm.) One rotation for sidearm throwing (still using the tomahawk)
is about 14 feet. The real difference in technique from a basic throw
is the rotation of the shoulder. In a normal overhand throw your arm is
moving straight down, using gravity as a guide. In a sidearm throw the
plane of impact
is now parallel to the ground. The way your arm has to rotate requires
twice the practice to get consistent. Because your arm
is twisting around more keeping your wrist straight (the ax handle
still wants to be 90 degrees to your forearm) is more difficult as well
as consistent release. You'll find your experience from basic throwing
is going to be your best guide to successful sidearm throwing.
Keep your wrist straight and the ax handle parallel
to the ground. Notice how your arm is twisted around a lot more than an
overhand throw. Also notice what would happen if the ax were to slip
while the picture was being taken.
Release the ax when the handle is parallel to
the face of the target.
Here's how the ax will stick with a sidearm throw:
Here's how the axes will stick with left and right
Knife throwing by the blade:
Note there is added risk with throwing a knife by
the blade as your fingers are near a cutting edge that will be in
motion. Single edged knives should be used since the blade can be held
without a cutting edge against your hand. Regardless of the style of
knife, do not use a sharp knife to throw this way.
The easiest way to throw by the blade (on the
thrower but not on the knife) is to hold the blade tip between thumb
and first finger so the flat of the blade is parallel to the ground,
the edge facing away from your palm. The blade tip should not be past
the base of your thumb. Be certain your index finger doesn't curl
around the sharp edge with this grip. Hold the wrist out straight, and
use the same technique for knife throwing shown in Basic Throwing
(there should be a straight line through the entire length of the knife
to your elbow.) The knife will flip and stick with the flat still
parallel to the ground. This is easiest to start with but will bend or
break the tips of knives quickly. Any weapon thrown tries to continue
rotating even after being stuck in the target (inertia, for you physics
majors.) With other throws the edge is inline with the rotation, so
inertia pushes the edge of the knife into the wood (like cutting a
slice of cake.) With this particular grip, the flat of the blade is
inline with the rotation. When the tip sticks into the target its the
same as if you were using the knife like a crowbar to pry 2 boards
An easier way (on the knife this time) is to hold
the knife so the blade tip is well past the base of your thumb, and
hold the knife so the edge is toward the ground upon release. The edge
will be inline with the rotation of the knife so damage is minimal. A
side effect of this grip is that depending on how far the blade tip
goes past the base of your thumb, you can easily vary the distance of
one rotation. For the beginner this is disaster, but to a more
experienced thrower it opens new doors. Often at competitions the given
distances are varied (especially when the competition is designed by
sadists.) Adjusting your grip along the blade to vary rotation distance
is your key to sticking the knife. This requires a degree of
familiarity with yourself and the knife not often seen in SCA
competition. If this not only sounds like a challenge but a cheap
attempt to raise the standards here in the East, I'm glad you were
Knife throwing without
There are some techniques that allow the knife to be
thrown with only 1/2 rotation before the knife stabilizes in flight and
stays point forward for the rest of the throw regardless of distance.
This is being researched and will be posted here when solid results
have been made.