It takes a lot to be good at throwing knives, but one man proves that it doesn’t take eyesight to be a master knife thrower.
Retired army veteran Floyd Lee Fugatt may be one of the most badass people ever. I heard about Fugatt before but a recently updated article by KRCR ABC 7 News and some additional coverage by the great The Truth About Knives brought him to my attention again.
He was born without vision in his right eye since birth and started throwing knives when he was 8 years old. Then he joined the army and became an airborne ranger and was in the special forces, which is astounding considering he only had limited vision.
Fugatt was a master knife thrower who honed his skills until it all came to a halt in 2009 when a stroke took away the sight in his left eye.
But, a few years later, he reached out to a friend and former Marine Rick Lemberg to get back in the game. Lemberg, according to an article in the Half Moon Bay Review, is a world-champion knife and tomahawk thrower as well as a civilian throwing instructor.
The thing with Fugatt is that he already had the muscle memory and skill, he just needed a little guidance.
Here’s an excerpt from a 2015 article:
In coaching Fugatt, Lemberg fulfilled two roles. He helped Fugatt refine skills in zeroing in on the 4-inch bull’s eye target. Standing facing Fugatt, he would tap the center of the target in rhythm three times. Fugatt would throw the knife on the count of four, and Lemberg had between three and four to get out of the way.
The second role was to catch the knives if they rebounded off the target, thereby protecting Fugatt.
“I was breaking the safety rules,” said Lemberg dryly, “because I’m standing in front of a blind man throwing knives.”
But Lemberg had no cause for concern. Fugatt, who distinguished himself at the Nationals by scoring in the Expert tier 210 out of 300 in the Main Accuracy event at the Nationals, and had won a third-place trophy in No-Spin Knife throwing, threw true.
“The idea of a blind man doing this seems so improbable,” Lemberg said, but “he had all the world masters staring at one another.”
Watching him throw knives is simply amazing. You wouldn’t be able to tell he was blind if you didn’t already know. He uses sound and intricate guide markers to help him identify the targets.
Here’s a great profile video from Epic Blade Time:
Fugatt still competes in competitions and even came in 16 of 34 in a recent competition. Not bad at all for someone who can’t see.