The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Category: Throwing Knives

The Complete History of the Shuriken: The Ninja Throwing Stars

When it comes to warriors, there are few that are as fearsome as the samurai. While most of the world still used primitive weapons and methods, the samurai were some of the most sophisticated and well-equipped warriors in the world. 

They were completely dedicated to the art of war, spending their entire lives trying to master it. While most people remember samurais for their razor-sharp swords, there is another fearsome weapon in their arsenal that was just as deadly: the shuriken. 

The shuriken, also known as the ninja throwing star, was one of the most effective weapons on the battlefield. However, its uses in combat might surprise you. 

In this article, we’ll go over the history of the shuriken and how it was used by the samurai. 

The History of the Shuriken

The Japanese word “Shuriken” is made of three Japanese characters; “shu” (hand), “ri” (release), and “ken” (blade). All together, shuriken roughly translates to “sword hidden in the hand”. This description accurately describes the basics of a shuriken: a blade that can be easily concealed but is not necessarily thrown. 

A Bo-shuriken is a throwable weapon that is made of steel spikes, usually four-sided. This was one of the first designs of shuriken and was often made from common items like nails or carpentry equipment. The first documented use of these Bo-shuriken was at the Ganritsu Ryu school, which was active in the 17th century. 

The Bo-shuriken had many different forms that mimicked other weapons. These include the kugi-gata, or nail for, and the hoko-gata, or spear form. These were typically thrown overhand, but could also be thrown sideways or rearward as well. 

The most well-known shuriken is the hira-shuriken. These are flat, metal disks with four sharp points. While movies and shows show ninjas using the hira-shuriken, they were actually used by samurai. 

Throwing weapons have been documented earlier in Japanese history before the arrival of the shuriken. However, throwing a sword wasn’t practical due to their high value. So the invention of the shuriken meant samurais could hang onto their swords and have another tool in battle. 

Shuriken were thrown using two methods. The “direct hit” method in which the shuriken didn’t spin at all, and the “turn hit” method, which required it to spin. 

The Shuriken: Uses in Combat

In movies and shows, shuriken are shown as being very dangerous and lethal. But the truth is that they were rarely used to kill enemy soldiers. 

Because most shuriken don’t have long points, they aren’t capable of penetrating deep enough to cause mortal wounds. In direct combat, shuriken were used as a distraction, nuisance, or to weaken a target. Since they could only hit exposed skin or sensitive areas, shuriken were aimed at the feet, arms, face, eyes, and groin. 

These throwing weapons gave samurais a distinct advantage in battle. They could quickly throw shuriken and temporarily incapacitate or weaken an enemy long enough to deliver a deadly blow.

Shuriken were usually thrown from a distance of about 30 feet or so. This allowed the samurai to engage a target at a distance while being able to close the distance to the target. 

Shuriken were also used to distract or disorient enemies. If an enemy soldier was pursuing a samurai, the samurai would throw a shuriken at the attacker’s face. The shuriken would strike the enemy and disappear into the distance. 

This would leave the attacker disoriented and confused as to who hit them. This would give the samurai enough time to escape or cause the attacker to retreat. Shuriken could also be used to cause the enemy to dodge or open themselves up to attack for a moment. 

Shuriken were made of cheap or disposable material like scrap metal or broken tools. This is because they were meant to get thrown away and lost in the heat of battle. 

The Shuriken: Other Uses

Most depictions of shuriken depict them getting thrown at enemies to kill them, but they also had other uses in battle. 

Some samurai would cover their shuriken in potent poison. This way if it injured an enemy, it would eventually kill them.

They would poison shuriken with natural poisons that were available such as aconite. Samurai would also bury their shuriken in feces to cover it in dangerous bacteria. If it penetrated deeply enough into the enemy’s skin, it could cause an incurable tetanus infection and kill them. 

One of the most common methods involved wrapping a pitch-soaked cloth around the shuriken and lighting it on fire. It was then thrown onto anything flammable, such as huts, wagons, or enemy tents. This could disorient the enemy and cause chaos amongst the ranks in large battles. 

Another method involved wrapping the shuriken in poison-soaked cloth and throwing it toward the enemy. This would emit acrid, poisonous smoke, which disoriented and weakened the enemy. With multiple samurai using this method, it was very effective at weakening large numbers of troops. 

Another popular method didn’t involve throwing at all. Many samurai would bury their shuriken in the field before battle. This way, enemy soldiers would step on them and become more susceptible to a deadly blow. 

Other methods included using shuriken as a booby trap. Samurai would cover them in poison that could absorb through the skin and leave them to get found by the enemy. When the enemy picked them up, they would get poisoned. 

Learn the Art of the Samurai

Now that you know more about the history of shuriken, you can start learning the art of the samurai for yourself. Make sure to research the proper throwing techniques and safety procedures when throwing shuriken. 

If you have any questions about shuriken or which shuriken might be right for you, please contact us at 1-800-248-1987. 

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Why You Should Definitely Give Throwing an Axe a Shot

Are you in the market for a new hobby? Do you have any interest in getting more in touch with your ancestors? How about just finding a different way to relieve some stress after a long work week?

If you said “yes” to even one of the questions above, then you should give ax-throwing a try! 

It’s an incredible way to get a good workout while also trying something new. Not to mention… you get to throw an axe! 

If you still need more justification, here are several reasons why you should give ax-throwing a shot. These reasons will have you running to an ax-throwing range right away!

1. Stress Relief

Have you ever reached a point of frustration where you were so piping-hot that you felt like punching a pillow? While that’s certainly a great technique, it lacks a certain satisfaction.

Meanwhile, getting the chance to throw an ax at a piece of wood will give you the satisfaction that you’re hoping for.

Just simply envision yourself aiming the ax at the thing that’s currently frustrating you the most. 

Not to mention, it’s a great way to turn that negative energy into a positive one. By having a bit of pent-up aggression beforehand, you can relieve your stress while also getting an amazing workout in the process.

Few other alternatives are a better way to release that anger in a way that is as mind-pleasing as ax-throwing. Not to mention, it’s badass!

2. Bond-Building Activity

Ax-throwing is as fun with other people as it is to do by yourself. Many people will find it interesting and will want to test it out with you, whether it’s your first time or not.

One ax-throwing session can lead to major bonding and hours filled with laughs, smiles, and cheering each other on.

There’s a competition to see who can aim closest to the bullseye, but it’s not so competitive where you might create more animosity than chemistry-building.

People love seeking out new ways to go out for a good time, and it can be a great location for all sorts of events. You might want to organize it for a date night, company event, networking event, family get-together, or even a birthday party.

No matter what group outing or occasion that you choose to organize it for, it’s sure to be an experience people will talk about for years to come.

3. It’s an Incredible Hobby

Have you been feeling a void in your life lately? Perhaps you’re tired of the same old routine on the weekends or after work each night.

Imagine the excitement that you could add to your workday knowing that you get to go home that night and throw an axe around!

After your first try, you’ll probably be hooked. This could lead to becoming heavily invested in the different types of throwing axes that you purchase for yourself.

In fact, you might find yourself building a nice collection of different cuts, brands, sizes, colors, shapes, and styles.

Better yet, your newfound hobby will be a conversation starter for any event the rest of your life. People will find it fascinating to learn more about how you go about it and what your regimen is.

If you’re the type of person that likes to find out of the box hobbies to do, then throwing an ax is one that will you’ll definitely want to add to your list.

4. Both Men and Women Find It Attractive

Ladies love a man’s man. Men love a kickass woman. No matter which gender you’re trying to attract, they both find it sexy when you throw an ax.

It can be a great way for you ladies out there to prove to your man and his buddies that you can be just another one of the guys.

It’s also a great way for the men reading this to show their lady how strong and savvy they are with their wilderness side.

If you have someone in your life that you’re really trying to impress, throwing an ax with them can open their eyes to how awesome and individualistic that you are!

5. It’s an Amazing Cardio Workout

Sick and tired of walking or running on the treadmill at an incline? Looking for another way to strengthen your abs other than doing ab crunches for sixteen hours straight?

Throwing an ax is one of the best workouts that you can do for your entire body. It especially uses your abs to provide support to the other muscles you’ll be using to haul an ax around.

If you’re tired of going through the same workout routine and want a different method for cardio, then axe throwing is a tremendous option.

6. It Lives Up to the Hype

Not many activities that have this much hype around them actually pan out the way that you imagine them to.

However, ax-throwing is exactly that. Chucking an axe is as fun as it sounds and you can drink while you do it.

Whether you’re going for a social event or by yourself to try out your new set of axes, you’ll have a blast doing it every single time.

Give Throwing an Axe a Try… You’ll Love It!

Now that you’ve seen the many benefits and reasons why you should try throwing an axe, it’s time to test it out.

Are you interested in bringing your own axe to your initial axe-throwing debut? If so, check out some of the best-sellers that you can get your hands on today.

For more inquiries, feel free to reach out via our contact us page and we’ll be happy to assist you further.

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Blind Army Veteran is a Master at Throwing Knives

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.

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Top 7 Best-Selling Throwing Knives at Knife Depot

Few things are more satisfying than throwing a knife at a target several feet away. The weight of the knife, the feeling of your energy transferring into the piece of steel, the sound it makes sticking into the wood.

I contend that knife throwing has become an increasingly popular hobby just from the interest I’ve seen around the subject and because throwers typically top the lists of best-sellers here at Knife Depot.

So to continue our trend of revealing some of the best-selling knives in each category, we turn to throwing knives. These seven throwing knife sets reveal what types of throwers people are gravitating to the most.

7. United Cutlery Hibben Competition 3-Piece Set

Coming in at seven on the list is a set of throwers designed by the great Gil Hibben for United Cutlery. The three-piece throwing knife set is on the large side with the knives boasting an overall length of just over a foot. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback that these knives are durable, well-balanced, and comfortable.

It’s hard to ask for anything more in a good throwing knife.

6. Magnum by Boker Mini Bo-Kri Set

Next up is the curvaceous Mini Bo-Kri set from Magnum by Boker. These throwers are designed by the great John Bailey, who won first place in the World Quick Draw Knife Throwing Competition and designs knives. Here’s a quick video showing him in action:

The knives have a wavy appearance with a 10.75-inch overall length. Made from 420J2 stainless steel, the knives are made to stick deep in their targets thanks to their clip points.

5. Japanese Shinobi 12-Piece Set

One of the best pieces of advice I heard someone give to knife throwing beginners is to get a set with a lot of pieces. Not only is it a hassle to stop what you’re doing every three throws to go retrieve the throwers (which are likely strewn about pretty far) but you also mess up your flow.

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Targets For Knife and Tomahawk Throwing

Today’s post is by special guest Scott Gracia, who runs the knife throwing site The Great Throwzini.

Half the fun of throwing knives and tomahawks is trying to hit a target. Luckily, there are quite a few types of targets you can easily make for knife and tomahawk throwing. Here are a couple tips to get you started.

Planks of Wood

Perhaps the easiest target to make are from boards or parts of wood. Always place the grain of your target vertically, because the knife or ‘hawk will cut into the grain easier this way. Thin “planks” aren’t the greatest targets to have, but are better than not being able to throw at all.

To build a good target, get about four 2X12 planks, about 6 feet in length. Lay them out next to each other and attach them in the back with a few 2X4’s and lots of screws. Place a 2X4 on the top, bottom and middle of the planks and screw them down. Be sure to get a “softer” wood.

Log Rounds

These are my favorite target to throw at! Get them as wide across as you can. That way you can fit more targets on the face of the log and that will help prolong the life of the target.

If you only have one target on your log, you’re always throwing at the same exact spot (usually a bullseye), and that’s one sure way to chew up a target fast! (If you plan to compete in one of the many throwing competitions going on throughout the US, the standard target is 16″ so I would recommend getting a log with at least a 20″ diameter).

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Four awesome knife throwing scenes

We’re giving away a set of top-quality throwing knives and a $100 cash.  Learn how to win, here:

In the spirit of our throwing knives giveaway, we turn to the big screen for some awesome Hollywood scenes featuring the greatest and most badass fictional knife throwers. There’s nothing scientific about this selection, but the one criteria is the video must feature some flying knives. Here are four awesome knife throwing scenes.

4. The Expendables (2010)

The surprise star of this film featuring an unbeatable cast of all-stars was relative newcomer Jason Statham. He plays the incorrigible Lee Christmas who’s an expert in close-quarters combat, as demonstrated in this scene.

3. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

The appeal of this knife throwing scene from the comedy action film comes from the utter incompetence of these two supposed troublemakers. From their form to their motion, this is the perfect example of how not to throw a knife.

2. Gangs of New York (2002)

When the image of a knife thrower enters your head, you probably think of those old performers who would throw them at their assistants. In this scene, the “Butcher” played by Daniel Day Lewis demonstrates his knife throwing prowess against former flame Jenny played by Cameron Diaz.

1. V For Vendetta (2006)

You know a character is truly badass when he could take a barrage of hundreds of bullets yet still skillfully destroy his enemies with some amazing knife throwing expertise.

Inspired? We’re giving away a set of top-quality throwing knives and a $100 cash.  Learn how to win, here:

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Throwing knife instructions for beginners: How to throw a throwing knife

The Best Tips on How to Throw a Throwing Knife

There are many reasons why you should buy a throwing knife, but first, if you want to learn to throw a throwing knife, start here.

If you find the idea of hurling an extremely sharp object at a small target intimidating, you’re not alone. Knife throwing has been around for centuries, and is making an increasingly popular comeback – millions of people have yearned to take up the increasingly popular sport of knife throwing, but never did so because they didn’t know how.  If you’re one of these individuals, this is the resource for you. In this guide, we will review how to buy the right throwing knife, throwing basics, types of throws, throwing stance, advanced throws, and general tips

Step 1: Pick the right knife

United cutlery throwing knife - how to throw a throwing knifeWhen you’re first starting out, you may be tempted to grab one of your folding knives and throw it as hard as you can at a wall, but that’s the wrong way to begin.

There are a variety of throwing knives to choose from, including throwing stars and tomahawks, but don’t try to show off too soon.

Start with a simple throwing knife that weighs about 200mg and is between 7.5 and 12 inches long. Anything less than 200mg will require more throwing accuracy

Cold Steel knives are by far the best throwing knives. They won’t break like other cheaper alternatives. The 12″ Cold Steel Sure Flight Sport Throwing Knife is a good starter option as it is really well balanced w/a good length. This makes them good for beginners who aren’t sure whether they want to throw rotational or no-spin. It is a bit lighter in weight, which means it won’t be as good for throwing long distances. However, while learning, the lighter weight will keep wrist strain down.

Another option for the more advanced knife thrower is the Magnum by Boker Mini Bo-Kri Bailey. Although oddly shaped,  they have a great feel and are balanced in a way that makes calculating rotation easier. The shape means they still rotate well even though they are lighter and shorter than most rotational throwing knives.

Many top throwers use these and they were designed by master knife thrower John Bailey, each of the three blades in this set features unique contours and lines that’ll give you the edge you need to achieve whip-cracking speeds and bullseye hits. Bailey’s personal signature is stamped on every one of these blades, just so you know whom to thank later.

Step 2: Set up a target

With the knife ready, it’s time to set up a target. The target should be something like a wooden post, a wooden board or even a tree, just keep in mind that whatever it’s near could be hit by a sharp projectile. A perfect target is around the height of your chest and should obviously have the ability to catch a knife unlike, say, a brick wall.

For beginners, focus on a soft and large target. This ensures that you do not focus on accuracy or power, and instead focus on working on correct rotations. Feel free to draw a bulls eye on the target, but don’t expect to hit it every time when first starting. Use the first few times to practice holding and throwing the knife rather than aiming for the center of the target.

Step 3: How to throw a throwing knife

The stance

Good throwing posture includes the following —

  • A relaxed body: If your body is tense, you will most likely try overthrowing the knife which leads to bad form and inconsistent throwing.
  • Standing up straight: Standing straight, leads to throwing straight, so this is necessary for an accurate throw. Since throwing a knife involves the whole body, you want to make sure you have a stable stance that will help propel the knife forward.
  • For right handed throwers: Stand several feet away from the target and place your left foot in front and right foot in back. When throwing left handed, switch it. Your heels should be on a line, but your feet should form a 45 degree angle. Then bend your knees and have your weight rest primarily on the ball of your back foot

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Breast doctor by day, knife thrower by night

For anyone who thought knife throwing was only for die-hard outdoorsmen, you’re wrong.

A record-breaking doctor known by many for his breast augmentation surgery also spends his spare time throwing knives for sport. What makes this even more amazing is that he’s highly skilled at both.

Dr. Ted Eisenberg from Pennsylvania holds the Guinness World Record for most breast augmentation surgeries at 3,460, and he’s won multiple awards during tomahawk and knife-throwing competitions.

A few weeks ago, I posted about how to become skilled at knife throwing, and this just goes to show that knife throwing is such an enrapturing and peaceful sport that nearly anyone who starts instantly becomes hooked.

For Eisenberg though, it took him a little while to actually get started. After being inspired by the Crocodile Dundee and James Bond movies, he asked his wife for a throwing knife as a present.

The first time he thew it at a tree, he told AOL news he felt so bad that he even “went and hugged the tree.”

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How To Get Skilled In The Art of Knife Throwing

There are very few sports in which knives are the primary tool, which is why knife throwing is such an alluring sport for knife enthusiasts.

For anyone unfamiliar with the sport of knife throwing, it’s fairly straightforward. The goal is throw a knife at a wooden bullseye at various distances and try to make it stick as accurately as possible. While it sounds easy, it can be extremely difficult.

Those who practice consistently can do some pretty cool things, like the video here demonstrates.

If you’re interested in learning how to throw knives, here are some steps to guide you along in the process of becoming a great knife thrower.

1. Research knife throwing prior to doing anything

Before committing to buy a throwing knife, you should research the sport and be aware of the potential dangers that come with it. Reading up on safety instructions, looking at the different types of knife throwing styles and viewing videos at places like the Knife Throwing site will prepare you for the next steps.

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How to Hold a Throwing Knife

So you’re interested in knife throwing?  Well, before you go pro, the first thing you need to do is learn how to hold a knife.  There are two primary grips used by knife throwers, both of which we’ll explain below.

Hammer Grip

The hammer grip is the easiest method of holding a throwing knife and the appropriate method for beginners. As you might expect, in the hammer grip hold the knife just like you would hold a hammer. Remember to keep your wrist stiff and only grasp the knife by the handle, in order to avoid cutting yourself. The hammer grip is primarily used for heavy knives.

The Pinch Grip

The pinch grip is best for rapid and forceful throwing. With the pinch grip, the knife is pinched between the thumb and index finger. You should usually only use your thumb or index finger. However, for a heavier knife, you can use your middle finger as well.

Knife throwing grip images shown courtesy of KnifeThrowing.info.

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Jack Dagger: the king of fling

If you’re into throwing knives, you’ve likely heard of Jack Dagger.  Widely-recognized as one of the best knife throwers in the world, Dagger (real name Todd Abrams) has been making a living hurling knives for the last ten years.

He worked as the “stunt hands” for Adam Sandler in the movie “Don’t Mess with Zohan” and also had a role in the T.V. show “Monk.”  However, his main gig is performing; he’s had to close 1,000 shows since he moved to Los Angeles in 2003.

The highlights of these blade-throwing frenzies are Dagger slinging knives within inches of his assistant. He’s also become famous for his “cucumber slice,” in which he slices a cucumber off the arm of his assistant by flinging a knife at her from around 20 feet away.

Enough explanation, check out this video of Dagger on the Japanese T.V. show “Dream Vision.”  His assistant is about as cool as you could be while having deadly blades thrown at you, but the audience members seem on the verge of breaking down in hysteria.

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