loading
Picture of How to Throw Throwing Knives
53c743099d29c9d5c50003a5.jpg
53c743489d29c9e907000421.jpg

Knife throwing is a practice that has been around for centuries. It is a rewarding, and easy to learn hobby who's popularity is making a comeback. Really nothing's more awesome than the sound of a knife hitting a target from yards away. Knife throwing can be done with anything from a hunting knife to official throwing knifes. In this instructable, you will learn safe and accurate methods of knife throwing. We will go over: choosing knives, throwing basics, types of throws, throwing stance, advanced throws, and general tips.

Enough talking, let's go find some knives!

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Choosing a Knife

Picture of Choosing a Knife
IMG_8334.JPG
IMG_8338.JPG

Your choice of knives are endless. Any knife with a semi-sharp point and a little weight will work, but keep in mind different knives require different techniques. Throwing a hunting knife does not use the same grip as throwing a true throwing knife. I will go over the difference in technique later on, but for now lets just go around your house, cabin, local store, or shed to find some knives.

The ideal throwing knife will have these traits:

-No sharp edges, just a sharp point.

-Rounded corners are ideal for safety.

-Thick enough so that the tip will not become bent.

-About 200 grams in weight. Anything less will take more throwing accuracy. (Christian Thiel describes this on his website)

-Keep in mind: fancy grips do not make a knife any better than the rest. Find a knife that won't require later upkeep.

-Knives with perforations are more prone to breakage than solid blades. So if you have a choice, find a knife with minimal perforation as any hole in the knife can lead to a shattered blade.

Step 2: Throwing Basics

Picture of Throwing Basics
53c6f35c9d29c938e0000320.jpg
53c740979d29c94ebb0001b4.jpg

Before we throw a single knife, we need to learn exactly what our goal is, how we achieve it, and what we need to achieve it.

Besides a knife, we will need a target. Selecting a good target is critical for beginners and experts alike. For beginners, it is imperative that you have a soft and large target. This ensures that you do not focus on accuracy or power, and you do focus on working on correct rotations. A large rotting tree trunk is ideal if you're in the north woods of Wisconsin since they are easy to find, and meet our specifications stated before.

Safety is essential for knife throwing. While throwing, you NEED to wear hard shoes, and be sure your throwing space is away from people and pets. Before you throw, notify people nearby that it is dangerous and continue with caution.

Now that we have everything we need to throw knives, let's focus on what our goals will be!

The goals of knife throwing vary depending on your skill level. In this instructable, we will go over different "rotations". Our first goal will be to throw a knife with half rotation. Then we will focus on full rotations, and finally I will present advanced throws. All of these throws present a new challenge which will build your skills and will give you the gratification of conquering your goals.

Now that we know what we are going to do, gather your knives and let's get down and dirty with our throwing stance!

Step 3: Throwing Stance and Knife Grip

Picture of Throwing Stance and Knife Grip
53c6e07b9d29c9fe360003e6.jpg
IMG_8380.JPG
IMG_8378.JPG
IMG_8443.JPG
IMG_8442.JPG

Like other sports or activities, knife throwing requires a certain form and stance.

To prepare for your throw, first focus on your footing and body posture. Indicators of good throwing posture are:

-A relaxed body. If your body is tense, you will most likely try overthrowing the knife which leads to bad form and inconsistent throwing.

-Standing up straightly. Its important to stand straightly to ensure a straight, accurate throw.

-For right handed throws: Keep your right foot forward and your left foot slightly behind it. When throwing left handed, do the opposite.

Also, while throwing, you should focus on how you hold the knife. To hold a throwing knife correctly, hold it "as you would a hammer" (Christian Thiel). Be sure to keep your thumb on top of your other fingers and make sure no fingers will alter the trajectory of your throw.

If using a hunting knife (or any sharp edged blade) it is important that you leave room between the edge of the blade and your hand while you grip the knife. (See 5th and 6th pictures).

Once you understand correct throwing stance and form, get some shoes on and head out to your target so we can learn some throws!

Step 4: Half Spin Throw

Picture of Half Spin Throw
IMG_8385.JPG
IMG_8386.JPG

Now that we are all prepared, lets learn your first throw!

Our first goal will be to: throw a knife into our target with one half of a spin. Once you master this simple throw, you will be on your way to doing more advanced knife throws.

WARNING: Before preceding, you must take safety precautions. Be sure to wear hard toe shoes, especially if you are a beginner!

To begin this throw, you must first be at the right distance from your target. A knife thrower, Tim Valentine, wrote a great article on how to find an appropriate distance for each type of throw. However, your personal distance will depend on your knife as well. Generally for a half rotation spin, you will want to be about six feet from your target. (experiment with different distances to find your "sweet spot").

Next, grip your knife with blade facing you (handle towards the sky). Throw the knife at your target with moderate force. Don't try to throw the knife as hard as you can. Just a moderate throw will be sufficient if you have the correct target and knife.

If the knife will not stay in the target (and your rotation is accurate) make sure you are using a soft wood target and that your knife's tip is sharp!

Step 5: One Spin Throw

Picture of One Spin Throw
IMG_8352.JPG
IMG_8353.JPG
IMG_8354.JPG

After sticking the half rotation throw, you can move onto your first single rotation knife throw. This throw will take more precision so it is critical that you review correct throwing stance and knife grip.

WARNING: Before preceding, you must take safety precautions. Be sure to wear hard toe shoes, especially if you are a beginner!

To begin this throw, find your most optimal distance from the target. According to Valentine's article, for a single rotation throw you should stand about ten to eleven feet from your target. Once again, this is an estimate. Your knife and your form will alter these approximations, so try to find your own "sweet spot".

Now grip your knife from its handle (blade facing the sky). Throw your knife with moderate force at your target. Focus on your stance and staying relaxed, since this throw will take quite a bit more precision than the half rotation throw.

If the knife doesn't stick in your target, make sure you are using a soft wood target, and that your knife's tip is sharp.

Step 6: Advanced Throws

Picture of Advanced Throws
IMG_8311.JPG

Since this is a beginners guide, I won't be going over the specifics of other throws. However, for those looking for a challenge, I will mention some more advanced throws.

Basically, more advanced throws just involve more spins, or even no spins. Using Valentine's throwing distance formula: (toe distance - reach distance) / (turns + 0.25) = distance per turn (link to original site). You can find the approximate distance for any number of rotations of throws. In his article he even talks of a seven rotation throw.

Alternatively, there is the "no-spin" technique. This is a method of throwing where the knife has no rotation. This a more practical technique for close distance throwing, since there is no rotation any object that passes the knife's trajectory will be hit.

If you would like to get more into advanced knife throwing, there are plenty of articles and books on the physics of throwing and other techniques.

Step 7: Throw Safely and Practice!

Picture of Throw Safely and Practice!
FKZFYGJHXLMSB9O.LARGE.jpg
53c744969d29c9856900003f.jpg

The most important part of knife throwing is to continue to practice. Since much of throwing is in "muscle memory", practice can help you retain and build on your skills.

For more information on knife throwing visit one of these great resources:

-knifethrowing.info

-Spin Distance Formula

-International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame

I hope you have had fun learning how to throw throwing knifes, and are hooked on the sport. Please share your favorite knife throws in the comments section of this instructable! If you think this article was awesome please support me by voting in either the Great Outdoors, squeeze more awesome out of summer, or Vintage contest! Thanks for reading!

plazacutlery2 months ago

Very Nice.

Nice..

dope

DV Customs1 year ago

I have been into throwing knives since I was about 6 years old, I started with a couple sharpened butter knives till my mother seen her knives started to come up missing. lol But I have always been able to throw just about anything from files to screw drivers even pencils. I also throw my darts backwards ( tip first ) steel or plastic.Nobody could beat me at any knife game of stretch or chicken.

When I bought my house one of the first things I did was to hang a target on each wall of the garage, this way I always had a target cross the room. When my son was eleven I made him his own custom made throwing spikes. He was the only 11 year old I knew that could stick a Phillips screw driver 8 out of 10 times. Now that he is 13 he has gotten very good at throwing under handed with the knife hid behind his wrist.

Practice is the key to every thing!!!!!!!

Store bought knives can be good if you pay enough for them but there's nothing better than throwing your own creations.

VapeA DV Customs9 months ago

When you say you throw these items, are you throwing them in a traditional style ( rotation throw) or do know the art of the no-spin (a.k.a. combat throwing)? If not, look it up, it is right up your alley, especially considering the type of things you and your son are throwing. Ralph Thorn is America's ace when it comes to the no-spin technique, grab his book or DVD and enjoy!

Your mom must have been really patient! I've got 8 kids, and I can just imagine what would happen if one of them decided to start throwing knives....

Good Job

Dakota Joel9811 months ago

This is a sport/art that requires a lot of patience, so don't quit when you realize its a lot harder than it looks

arjunmenon1 year ago

There is also one technique. Knowing the heavy end. The knife can be blade-heavy or handle-heavy. Which ever it is, hold the light end and then throw acc to what you read. It will always strike the target with the heavy end.

You can find the heavy end by trying to balance the knife using the finger, which ever way it tips, that is the heavy end.

jwc45201 year ago

As a youth, I was always trying to get one up on the other young men in the neighborhood . So naturally when it came to a throwing knife, I went extreme, using a WWI bayonet as for target two old trees 32 feet apart made throwing fun as I could throw, pull the blade out turn and throw again. I spent the best part of the summer throwing that blade. of course my buddies were impressed, since the difficulty of throwing such a heavy blade...well you understand. Then for years the blade collected dust, until the day I came home and found my sons throwing blades at a target they had built. They ask if I would try, I stuck 5 out of 6 which is where I should have left it.....I went in and got the old blade out, then paced almost three times the distance the boys had marked off, almost twenty years the blade had not left my hand, but it flew straight, hitting a shade low on the target, but destroying the target...Oops! I help them build a more substantial target and retired the old blade once more.

gammerguy1 year ago

Sweet

danzo3211 year ago

Stand up straight, not 'straightly', college boy! Proceeding, not preceding! Good instructions anyway.

Jack Moran1 year ago

You've got my vote!

brmarcum1 year ago

Nicely done. Just a tip that I found in a book that I have on knife throwing - don't use plywood as your target, use solid wood instead. The cross-grain construction that gives plywood it's strength makes it difficult for the knife to penetrate and the knife is therefore more prone to bouncing off erratically into places unknown.

bergerab (author)  brmarcum1 year ago

Excellent addition! Are you into knife throwing too? Or was that just something you read? As usual, thanks for the comment!

Well done.You can easily read the knives.

point up = too close or throwing too fast

point down =too far or throwing too slow.

If knife is not embedded in the target with the blade straight with the vertical grain of the wood target ,your wrist is rotating as you release.A firm nonflipping grip is important. Thanks for your efforts!Dm

brmarcum is correct, plywood makes a bad target (from past experience) I haven't thrown knives for a while now, but used to throw most anything from screwdrivers to hatchets. Nothing beats a nice pine board or dead tree! I always liked a hunting or combat type knife with a bit more weight to one end. It just seemed to feel and throw better. Oh, and by all means dull the edge!! (again from experience! :-(owwwch).

I am into it but don't really have anywhere to actually practice. My wife got me a really nice set of Hibben knives and his book a while ago. I also became acquainted with a guy that knows Aikido and I could watch him throw for hours. He destroyed the IKEA couch cushion though :)

My thoughts have always been to retard the spin as much as possible. Less rotation increases the odds of a proper stick. For example if you can keep your rotation at 180 degrees vs a full rotation then you have much greater odds of getting the point to strike optimally. In order to retard the spin I hold and release my knives very differently than I see pictured in most articles. I usually don't go for a full rotation until after about 24 feet depending on the knife type and throw style. 540 degrees after about 32 feet plus.

To increase the amount of practice throws within a given amount of time I usually have 10 or more knives available to throw. In the beginning it is important to have all identical knives to help get dialed in.

Have 2 targets spaced apart the distance you want to practice for a particular session. Throw all 10 - 20 identical knives at target #1. Retrieve the knives and simply turn around and throw all knives at target #2. Repeat. By having two targets your time between throws is reduced. You are not walking 30 feet back to throw again at the same target. This can allow several hundred throws per hour or two.

Take the time to evaluate the performance of each throw. If you find yourself in a pattern of under or over rotation make this the focal point until you get a solid stick. IMO accuracy of where the knife strikes should come later. It doesn't matter if you are 6 or 16 inches off from your bulls eye. That focus will come after you can consistently achieve a stick angle of less than 20 degrees from a right angle of the target surface. In other words if 90 degrees is a perfect stick from the surface strive for an under rotation of more than 80 and an over rotation of less than 100 degrees from the surface.

Once you are dialed in with the rotation go for accuracy. I usually try for sub 4 inch groups from around 28 feet. Adjust group size down for closer throw distances. Never go higher.

This next part is a little strange but it is the reason I throw. After awhile (years / tens of thousands of throws) you will know before the knife leaves your hand how it will stick. You will know if the rotation is under or over and how far off your accuracy is. When it is still in your hand before release you will also know when it will hit perfect. I can't describe the feeling, the connection.

After you have gotten the basics down you will want to try different knives and different styles of throwing. Most people start out with some variation of an overhand kind of baseball throw. There are many different ways that keep it interesting and fun trying different throwing techniques.

Lastly don't stop with knives. You should get to a point that you can pick up anything, scissors, screwdrivers etc. Feel the balance and snap throw with a proper stick within a couple of seconds. Very gratifying.

Take responsibility. After a few days of throwing at the same trees you can injure a tree that was around when your great grandfather was a boy. Just be aware.

Safety. Others mentioned about the bounce back with plywood and I agree. I don't mind plywood so much because of the potential bounce it just doesn't last. Very quickly there is fist size holes where the knives will go through. Any surface can bounce back. I've seen some bizarre bounce backs and ricochets that I still can't believe. You must be prepared to move quick. No matter the surface if it's hard can bring the knife back to you. I've thrown at a tree, bounce and stick in the tree behind my head. Just be aware that that energy going away from you can come back in a fraction of a second.

How you are perceived. To me it is just a hobby but others seeing you throw may read something else into it. Just be aware of this perception others may have of your hobby. I personally do not advertise or let people see me doing it much. I've never had a problem but I can't help to think if someone a few streets over was attacked with a knife what kind of rumors may start. IDK?

Above all have fun and be safe.

mist42nz1 year ago

#1 throwing rule for anything (or even golf) is _consistency_ . If you change stance, angle, distance, arm shape, power, all the time you'll never develop anything.

Once you've got consistency you can develop parts of the throw to improve

swilus1 year ago

Thank you for sharing.This was/is really helpful!

dragonbtv1 year ago

Nice job!

In my experience, what you need is SPEED only. You may throw anything in anyway. After realizing that, I quit my practice.

pfred21 year ago

I used to throw years ago. I had a fairly good sticking percentage throwing a two and a half spin. That is about a 25 foot long throw. I could sink those about 80% of the time when I practiced. I never met anyone else into the pastime and eventually I lost interest in it. It is still kind of fascinating how it works though. I worked out everything on my own, I just got some throwing knives and had at it so to speak.