There’s something pretty cool about knife throwing which is why I decided to try it out in the first place. In this knife throwing beginners guide you’ll learn how to throw a knife and some other useful information about starting up in this hobby!
So lets delve straight in!
What is Knife Throwing?
Knife throwing is the skilled art of throwing knives at a target, this art is regularly used as a form of entertainment and is also a competitive sport.
There are many different types of throwing knives with many different styles of knife throwing.
Knife Throwing History
There’s not enough evidence to be sure about where knife throwing originated or its exact history, however, It is thought that the art of knife throwing began in prehistoric times where early man would use “throwing sticks” to hunt for food. As available materials advanced through discovery and metal was used for craft, it was then that the throwing stick developed into a throwing knife.
Over time many cultures would use throwing knives not only for hunting but as weapons in combat. Knife throwing was particularly common with Japanese warriors and African and Native American Tribes.
Introduction to Knife Throwing
In the following Knife throwing beginners guide, I will teach you the very basic knowledge and skills, just enough to get you started, I can’t teach you much more because I am still learning myself.
You’ll learn about beginners knife throwing equipment, throwing techniques, knife safety and other basic aspects of this fun hobby.
I do however recommend searching for a local club or expert tutor you will learn the art of knife throwing much faster and more efficiently. It’s also safer at the beginning to be supervised by an expert.
Types of Throwing Knives
Different types of throwing knives fall into a few simple categories which I will now explain:
Blade Heavy Throwing Knife
The name pretty much explains the knife and this is the same for the next few types of throwing knives. Obviously, this type of knife has a weighted blade that is heavier than the body or handle.
Perhaps one of the most popular types of throwing knife for the beginner, it allows you to practice the basic hammer grip.
You hold the knife by the handle with the hammer grip and throw.
Handle Heavy Throwing Knife
Not recommended for total beginners the handle heavy throwing knife has more weight in the handle of the knife. Therefore you grip the blade when throwing so the handle propels forward first.
Balanced Throwing Knife
A balanced throwing knife unlike the previous two we have explained have the centre of gravity in the middle of the knife they are neither blade heavy or handle heavy. This allows you to throw the knife either gripping the blade or gripping the handle.
Throwing daggers are triangular in appearance with the blade coming to a point. You have probably seen these in movies, they were made popular by Ninjas in Japan as an alternative to stars.
How does knife throwing work?
To better understand the dynamics of knife throwing we must first understand the components of a throwing knife:
As a beginner, you should be looking for a knife with a weight of around 200 grams.
The lighter the knife the more difficult it becomes to control.
For more distance when throwing generally speaking you should opt for a heavier knife of 250 grams plus.
As a beginner, the balance is a very important aspect of a throwing knife and the centre of gravity should be, give or take 1cm, in the middle of the throwing knife.
To find the centre of the knife take the knife and balance it on your index finger.
Some throwing knives as I will explain below are not balanced, this kind of knife is more for someone with experience and who has developed the skills. A general rule of thumb when throwing a weighted knife is to grip the lighter end before throwing.
The most popular throwing knives are the ones that are crafted out of a single piece of metal, especially as a beginner knife thrower. These will be released from your hand much more smoothly.
Wooden handles are a little more comfortable to hold but are not as durable.
You will also find handles can be made of plastic and leather.
Contrary to popular belief the blade of a throwing knife should not be sharp, as a beginner the last thing you want to do is injure yourself.
Believe it or not, having a sharp blade will not help the knife stick better into the target.
What is most important is that it has a tapering blade and the throwing of the knife.
When you buy a throwing knife you should try to look for one or a set that comes with a sheath.
A sheath is a cover for your knife which is used for transporting or carrying it around with you. (please see legalities of carrying a knife further down this article)
If your knife does not come with a sheath or cover you can buy these separately or if you’re quite good with your hands, make your own.
What equipment do I need for Knife throwing?
The beauty of the knife throwing hobby is you need a minimal amount of equipment to get going, you’re only going to need a throwing knife and a target, and if you want to practice safely a first aid kit for emergencies.
Most standard throwing knives will be relatively cheap to buy making this hobby a great choice if you haven’t got much money to spare.
The following is what you will need should you wish to start knife throwing as a hobby.
Knife throwing equipment list
As a beginner I would suggest you start with the blade heavy throwing knife, this is, of course, your own choice though.
All different kinds of targets exist in the world of knife throwing perhaps even more than types of knives.
Many people opt to create their very own knife throwing targets, which is relatively simple to do. If you aren’t the DIY type though you can get yourself one from here.
Many plans, how to guides and video tutorials to make your own knife throwing target can be found by doing a simple search on google.
Check out this cool tutorial on how to create a DIY knife throwing target.
Where can I buy Throwing Knives?
There are many places to buy throwing knives all over the world. However, depending on where you live will depend if you can go out and buy them from a shop nearby.
Buying online is a little more simple and there are many trusted retailers that you can purchase your throwing knives from. Here’s a couple of highly recommended online stores that deliver worldwide.
How to throw a throwing knife
Now that you have decided to learn the art of throwing knives you will need to learn the basic fundamentals of how to throw the knife.
To begin you will need to learn the beginners grip often referred to as the “Hammer Grip” it is the most basic of grips to learn and will not take you long to master.
How to grip the knife
- Imagine if you will that you are holding a hammer.
- Using your strongest hand whether that be your left or right, take the throwing knife and wrap your hand around it like you would a hammer.
- Then using your thumb to add extra control by placing it at the top of the handle, so your thumb is pointing upwards very similar to giving a thumbs up sign.
In the picture, you can see how your hand should look placed around the throwing knife.
How to stand
- Next, let’s focus on your stance, you’re going to want to be between 8 and 12 feet away from your target.
- Place your left foot forward and your right foot behind, then turn your feet to an angle of approximately 45 degrees.
- Bend your knees very slightly until you feel stability and are comfortable. Try not to tense up and relax as much as possible without sacrificing stability and balance.
How to throw the knife
Now you’ve got the grip and stance down we are on to the throw!
- Let’s assume you are right-handed, put your left hand in front of you as if you are pointing towards the target.
- Take your right hand with the knife and bring it over your right shoulder above your head.
- Bring the right hand back down as if you are chopping something below, while your weight shifts forward you should now release the knife.
The release is the most important part and this comes only with practice, each time you throw take a mental note of where the knife ends up and then adjust your release accordingly.
Beginners Knife Throwing Tips
- Practising every day can help develop muscle memory and in turn accuracy.
- Carry more than one knife with you when knife throwing to save time going back and forth to the target to collect them after throwing.
- If you don’t have a target at hand a tree, flat piece of wood or other wide wooden surfaces make good targets.
- As a beginner knife thrower your knife will hit the target by the handle quite a lot and bounce back. Ensure spectators are stood well away.
- Keep an eye on the handle of your knife and not the blade tip, if the handle hits the target first, adjust your position by moving forward a couple of inches.
- Keep your wrist slightly locked and try your hardest to release the knife smoothly. Allow your hand to slide off the knife as you follow through, don’t overthink “letting the knife go”
Knife Throwing Safety
With knife throwing being a target sport you should adhere to a similar set of rules as you would in archery and when shooting targets.
Common sense is paramount, and if you use it then injuries and accidents are rarely heard of.
Ensure before throwing your knife that there are no people, kids, pets etc near to your target. Before throwing it is good practice to adopt a 20 feet rule. Do not throw until everyone is at least 20 feet away from your target.
Although uncommon, it is possible for the knife to rebound off the target so you should stay alert and aware.
Breakables and valuable property
Before setting up your target check the area, make sure that there are no valuables or breakables anywhere near where you are throwing. As previously mentioned knives can bounce back the last thing you want is for it to bounce from the target hitting something valuable.
Safety checks of your knives
Before you handle a knife or throw it you should check it. This ensures that there are no sharp pieces of metal hanging off your knife, these sharp pieces of metal could potentially end up in your hand. It is good practice to carry files and tweezers to help remove these “burrs” safely
Throwing Knife Maintenance
After you have finished practice or using your throwing knife it is very important that you give them a clean.
You can simply take an old wet cloth and rub your knife down vigorously to get rid of any marks or stains.
Afterwards, take your knife and rinse it thoroughly in water and then dry it. You must make sure that the knife is dried completely.
You can also add a coat of protective oil, then rub it off before your next use.
Throwing Knives should be stored in a safe, dry place.
If you notice a nick or a dent in your throwing knife you can use a file, be gentle when filing and just take the nick out.
For bent throwing knives simply lay them across a hard flat surface and use your body weight by standing on them to straighten them out.
Knife Throwing FAQ
Are throwing knives illegal?
The legalities are solely based on the location you are in.
All states in the US have their own laws. As a general rule, it is illegal to carry the knives but not illegal to use them on your own property.
In the UK the basic laws on knives state that it is illegal to sell a knife to a minor or to carry a knife out in public without a good reason for doing so. Laws are more relaxed on knives with 3-inch blades or less, especially folding blades.
How sharp should my throwing knife be?
Not sharp! Sharp blades are very dangerous when knife throwing. They will cut your hand and are more brittle than a blunted blade. As long as the blade is tapered and has a point it will stick.
What age would you say is good for the knife throwing hobby?
This highly depends on the child. As a rule, anyone under 12 shouldn’t start this hobby. That being said if they are with a responsible adult and the throwing knife is not heavy then you could be a couple of years younger when you start. Under 16’s should always be accompanied by an adult when practising.
How hard should I throw a throwing knife?
Hard, but not stupidly hard! Hard enough for the tip of the throwing knife to be able to stick into the target.
Useful Links & References
In this section, I will list all of the websites and references that I have found to be useful to learn knife throwing.
Hobbypatrol.com strongly advise the reader to use all safety precautions and tips made in this beginners guide. We are not responsible for any subsequent injuries if you choose to participate in knife throwing. We would also urge that as a beginner you look for a local specialist instructor or club to help you learn the art of knife throwing.