How to Throw Throwing Knives and Grow as a Thrower?
- Erik Himmel
Last week, a Hispanic friend made a call gasping heavily and asked, “Roberto (the nickname he prefers), how do you throw a throwing knife?” No greetings exchanged! I asked, “Why on earth are you asking?” He expressed his cause (mostly personal), and I eventually wrote and shared this post on how to throw throwing knives. If you’re anyone with the zeal for this sport, a few minutes of your time will be enough for my recommendations. Let’s get a good read!
How to Throw Throwing Knives?
If you’ve never thrown, this would require a little patience, discipline, and most of all, mental keenness, from choosing your knife to becoming a great thrower.
Choose the Tools
In order to learn how to throw a throwing knife, you need not gather a handful of tools. Just the appropriate throwing knife and the right target object would be fine.
Choosing the Knife
While choosing the right design, shape, size, and type is a standalone subject that requires you a lot to consider, I’m putting here the germane of buying a throwing knife in a ‘yes/no’ manner, so you don’t have to get stuck at this early stage.
- Sharp Edges: No
- Sharp Point: Yes
- Rounded Corners: Yes
- Thickness: Yes (enough to prevent the tip from bending)
- Weight: 200 Grams/ 7 Ounces (No less recommended)
- Length: 12 Inches (No less recommended)
- Cut-outs/Perforations: Not Preferred
- Handle: As simple as it gets
- Maintenance Requirement: Zero (Preferred)
Choosing the Target
This tool may seem ‘not so important’, but I insist you have some attention to the following suggestions.
- For Beginners: Cereal Boxes/Cardboard
- Preferred Material for Regular Thrower: Wood Log (Birch, Pine, Willow), Planks (Wide)
- Positioning: Freestanding, Hanging, and Mounted
- Preferred Log Design: A round portion of a large log
- Thick: No
- Soft: Yes (so the knife slides into smoothly)
- Ideal Sources: Local Classified Ads, Lumberyards (For Firewood, Scrap wood)
Once you’ve the appropriate gear in place, you’re one step closer to getting the ‘throwing knives how to’ in practice. Keep reading…
Prepare for Throwing
Okay, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the actual throw. You’ll be learning how to grip the knife, make the stance right, set the suitable body angle for the knife, and release the knife. So, let’s start.
Master How to Grip
Here, I’m showing you the golden rules of the knife-throwing procedure. You can hold your knife by the handle or blade. Try to throw the heavier of the two ends since it will help you gain more force into the action.
For example, use the three of your fingers (index, middle, and ring) to hold the knife. Then, have the thumb on the other side. Make sure your fingers and thumb stay in the center and near the end of your knife. Also, have your baby finger curling with the hand holding the knife.
It’s a common style of holding the knife. Grab it with the entire hand in a horizontal orientation. The style should be like holding a hammer. Put the thumb in the middle on the side.
This time, you need to follow a vertical orientation for holding the knife. Grip it with the entire hand just the same as a hammer grip while resting the thumb on the knife’s top edge.
Take your palm forward (in front of the body) and move it, so a crease occurs between your thumb pad and the palm. Identify the knife’s blunt edge and place it into the crease while having the handle positioned (pointed) away. Make sure the knife’s tip goes in line up with the crease’s bottom portion. Keep your thumb along a side of your knife blade with the fingers except the baby one along the remaining side. Pinch the blade avoiding any hard press against the sharp/pointed edge of the blade.
What if your knife is a double-edged version? Things are much the same as the procedure for a single-edged knife. However, for a stronger grip, I recommend you to follow the hammer grip method.
Make Your Stance
Here’s what you have to do to ensure that your stance for the job is okay.
- Determine your stronger leg.
- Place your bodyweight on that leg.
- Place the other foot ahead of the body but don’t put weight on it.
- Raise the stronger arm ahead of your body to get a perpendicular position to the ground
- Bend at your elbow to get the knife raised with (alongside) your head.
- Make sure there’s a comfortable distance between the knife and your head.
Three pieces of advice for you! Stay relaxed and loose but don’t lose the focus.
Set the Direction of Your Knife
Now, you’re almost ready to make a throw with just one step left. All you should do is set the right angle that the knife will follow as you release it.
- When you’re throwing at a close distance, have your wrist bent back toward the forearm. This position should cause the knife to take a quick turnover in the air, which is helpful for a close-range target.
- As you’re aiming to throw a mid-range distance, do the same for a little further target, but this time, you have to bend the wrist slightly.
- For a long distance, don’t bend your wrist. This position will discourage the knife from higher turnover in the air.
This is the last step of your knowing how to throw a throwing knife correctly. Have some patience, please!
Now, you’ll be swinging your knife forward in the following way.
- Shift the bodyweight to the weaker leg (from the stronger), so you can gain some forward momentum.
- Swing the forearm forward simultaneously from your elbow to make sure that the arm stays straight ahead of you.
There you go!
You have to release your knife from the above point.
- Let your knife slip smoothly from the hand with the arm pointing right toward the target while wrist being absolutely straight.
- Ensure that the body stays angled and forward (slightly because of the weight shift)
- Thus, your arm should keep swinging downwards.
Now that you’ve released the knife, you need to understand if it was a precise throw.
Did the knife fly nicely out of the hand while sticking into your target maintaining a horizontal position? if it did, congratulations! You made it!
If it didn’t, don’t lose hope, my friend!
Your fitness is what makes it easy for you to make a perfect throw. Make sure you can keep your (physical) movements fluid applying only the required amount of force, no more or less. In fact, it won’t take you to exert too much force if you can manage to handle the procedure efficiently. You can certainly do better with time and more practice.
Knife throwing is more about finesse than 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.
Assess the Aftermath
If you find that you hit the target with the butt of the knife instead of the blade and changing the angle of your wrist isn’t enough to compensate, adjust one pace forward or backward. Do not change the amount of force applied in your throw; you simply need to allow for more or less rotation. A good rule of thumb is that one pace equals a half-rotation of the knife.
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.
Hone Your Skills
At this point, I’ll be talking about some throwing techniques which are ideal for both beginners and advanced throwers. I promise these are going to be what you were really looking for.
To begin this throw, you must first be at the right distance from your target. 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.
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.
By now, you know how to throw a throwing knife properly. But, more advanced throws are about more spins, or even no spins.
Using Valentine’s throwing distance formula: (toe distance – reach distance) / (turns + 0.25) = distance per turn. You can find the approximate distance for any number of rotations of throws.
A Bit About No-Spin
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.
Let’s see how you can do a no-spin throw. It’ll be fun, I assure you.
Also known as the ¼ spin technique, this style has the knife making only ¼ spin in the air before striking the target. This calls for some adjustments to both distance and grip. Since you will be exercising half the spin, you should position yourself roughly halfway closer to the target.
So if your normal half-spin distance is 15 feet, you need to be about 7 to 8 feet from your target. Throwing distance is unique to the thrower, so adjust accordingly.
The grip for this throw is different as well and works best with a balanced knife. Practice using the following technique:
- Assume your normal throwing stance
- Grip your knife by the handle between your thumb and the second knuckle of your middle finger as close to the end as possible
- Rest your index finger along the back edge of the handle near the blade and curl the rest of your fingers naturally with your hand
- Raise the knife with the tip pointing to the sky
- Bend at your shoulder instead of your elbow
- Practice pointing the tip of your knife toward the target a couple times
- Wind up, step into your throw, and release the knife when the tip is pointing at your target
- Follow through ending your throw with your index finger pointing at the ground
This throw is quite a bit more difficult than the half-spin method. It is less natural and will most likely take practice to perfect since it is considered an advanced technique.
So, that’s it. These are how to throw a throwing knife correctly. Don’t you feel excited now? Well, I can guess from your expression (my assumption only).
Thinking if I’m inspired by the Great Throwdini? You bet…Follow the above rules and cautions! I believe you can boast exercising knife throwing techniques just like the way legends like Joe Gibson, William Wallace, Gustavo Arcaris, and so on.
I ain’t promising you anything. Just trying to stir the aspiring knife-throwing hobbyist in you! Hope you wouldn’t mind becoming one!