The Art of Knife Throwing
By Desiree Weeks
While knife throwing was once more associated with sideshow acts and stage performances, it has now become a hobby that anyone can enjoy (although we recommend using inanimate targets rather than humans).
Knife throwing is an art form that involves throwing a knife, typically made of a single piece of steel, in such a way that the blade's point sticks to a target.
To achieve consistent throws, it's important to focus on four main principles: equipment, distance, grip, and throwing technique. When choosing a throwing knife, consider factors like size, design, handle, weight, and balance. Select a knife that suits your needs and feels comfortable in your hand.
If you're just starting out, a balanced knife is recommended. This means the weight is evenly distributed, allowing you to choose whether to grip it by the handle or the blade. Holding a throwing knife by the blade might seem scary, but it's not necessary for the knife to have sharp edges since only the penetrating point matters when hitting a target.
Distance plays a crucial role in knife throwing. Adjust your grip and throwing technique based on the distance you're throwing. Closer distances require fewer rotations, while greater distances require more rotations. Experiment with standing in different places and using paces to measure distance to find your optimal distance for consistent throws.
Grip is vital for controlling the knife's aim and flight. Try different grips like the hammer grip, pinch grip, or a combination of both to find what works best for you.
For a hammer grip, firmly hold the knife handle in your dominant hand, wrapping your fingers as you would when holding a hammer. Place your thumb on the spine of the handle with the tip pointing toward the blade's tip. Make sure you have a secure grip with your remaining fingers.
A pinch grip involves grasping the knife handle firmly with your dominant hand and pinching it between your thumb and index finger, with the spine resting against the side of your index finger and the palm pad of your hand.
Mastering throwing technique involves various factors. Keep your shoulders square to the target, lock your wrist, and keep your elbow tucked in for accurate throws. As for your feet, find the most comfortable stance for you, whether it's with your dominant or non-dominant foot forward in a staggered position. Maintain momentum and follow through with your arm to ensure a smooth release.
Understanding the Theory of Rotation can help correct common mistakes. More contact on the knife slows down rotation, while less contact speeds it up. You can adjust your throw by manipulating knife contact rather than altering the distance.
Accuracy in knife throwing relies on the combination of equipment, distance, grip, and throwing technique. Visualize successful releases and practice to develop muscle memory.
Common mistakes, such as throwing too high or low, over-rotation, and under-rotation, can be fixed by adjusting distance, altering knife contact, or modifying grip and angle.
While we offer a wide range of throwing knives, here are just a couple of examples of superb sets by master weapon makers.
Gil Hibben Champion Throwing Knife Set
This set is one to check out and has the backing of custom knife maker and International Throwing Hall of Fame member Gil Hibben. Hibben designed this exclusive Champion Throwing Knife Set. Each of the three knives is one-piece stainless steel construction that measure 11” overall. The handles have grooving on each side for a secure grip and all three can be carried in a tough nylon belt sheath.
Kit Rae HellHawk Throwing Knife Set
Another great set from a known maker is the Kit Rae HellHawk Throwing Knife Set. While Rae is more known for his fantasy sword and blades, he is also an avid throwing knife and axe enthusiast. While this set may be a bit outside the norm for Rae, each of the three knives certainly has that Kit Rae look that we love. Each is constructed of one solid piece of 3Cr13 stainless steel with a balanced handle to blade design. The leather wrapped grips give a unique look to the knives while also providing a secure grip.