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So You Want to Be a Knife Thrower


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So you want to be a knife thrower? Well, as quick and to the point as can be, here are the fundamentals of becoming a knife thrower. You'll need to know how to choose a knife, how to grip it and how to throw it.

Choosing a knife. The type of knife you choose will have an incredible impact on how much you're able to enjoy knife throwing. Keep in mind that quality throwing knives do not have a handle. The blade is the throwing knife.

- Size: Knives that are between 12"-16" are a good size. They aren't too big and
not so small that you'd have to throw harder and strain to watch them in flight.

- Weight: Knives of the above size will fly fairly undisturbed from wind and
won't drift so much. They make a very satisfying sound when they find
their target. Wait for it.

- Balance: One of the most important fundamentals of throwing a knife is
controlling its spin. A good spin on the knife is accomplished by throwing the heaviest
part first. An unbalanced knife would be your surest bet. But if you'd like to be able to
throw your knife by either the blade or the handle, choose a balanced knife.

- Edge: For beginners, as you are, blunt-edged blades are best. Moreover, sharp edged knives aren't allowed in competitions or at social establishments, if that's where you're headed. If you really want sharp edges, switch only after you've acquired some skill throwing blunt-edged blades.

The grip. The easiest and most reliable grip is the hammer grip. As you are a beginner, this grip is recommended until you've mastered it. Hold the knife firmly around the handle as you would hold a hammer. Lift your thumb off of your fisted grip and place it alongside the blade-this would be the blunt-edged spine. You are now using a modified hammer grip. Remember, blunt edges for beginners, please. Safety first. You really don't want to risk slicing up your hands.

Throwing the knife. The majority of knife throwers are right-handed. The throw, therefore, will be considered for a right-handed thrower.

- Stance. Your left foot is about 2 feet in front of your right foot with your weight resting on the balls of your right foot. Both heels are on imaginary parallel lines. Both feet are about 45 degrees apart, with your left pointing towards the target. Knees are slightly bent. Arms extending in a straight line at chest level, pointing towards the target.

- Throw. Remember not to move your shoulders during this motion. The right arm, knife held in a firm grip, makes a fluid arc swing to the sky and onward to the back until the knife is beside your head. Now swing your right arm forward towards the target, shifting your weight from the back right foot to the front left foot.

- The chop. Imagine a large branch between you and the target. Bring your right arm down as though it were chopping this branch. Be sure to reach as you chop. When the knife is pointing directly at the target, release the knife as you snap your fingers back.

- Follow through. Although you'll be tempted to, do not stop the swing of your right arm. Follow through until it drops down. This is very important in your form and, consequently, in the success of your throw.

Alright then. There you go! Beginners, have at it! Practice, practice and practice. Good luck to you and be so careful!

July 2008

Len Q. is a master blade sharpener and an adventurer who strives to protect the natural world. If you would like to learn about

- Knife Sharpening: How to Sharpen Knives, Maintain and Store Them
- Tests for Sharpness, Steeling, Stropping and Much more
- Sharpening Other Edges (Maintaining and Storing Them)
(e. g. Chain Saws, Lawn Mower Blades, Gardening Tools, Axes)

Find it here at


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