If you find the idea of hurling an extremely sharp object at a small target intimidating, you’re not alone. Although there’s no scientific evidence to support it, 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.

Pick the right knife

When 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 9 inches long.

Lighter or shorter knives require more accuracy to throw properly while heavier ones require more strength. It’s a good idea to begin with this type of throwing knife, but once you become better, experiment with the other sizes.

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. 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-By-Step Instructions

The stance

Stand several feet away from the target and place your left foot in front and right foot in back. 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. 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.

The grip

There are actually a few ways and techniques to hold a knife, but the hammer grip and pinch grip are most popular. With the hammer grip, which is what beginners should start with, you basically hold the grip of the knife as you would a hammer. Your five fingers should be wrapped around the grip with the blade sticking straight up. The pinch grip requires pinching the end of the blade between your index and thumb. The knife should be pointing straight out and away from the body.

The movement

With the stance and grip down, it’s time for the motion. Point both arms directly at the target. Leaving the left arm pointed at the target, lift the right arm with the knife up and over your head, similar to an exaggerated chop of a butcher’s knife. Once you start bringing the knife back, shift your weight from your back right foot to your front left one. Release the knife as your right arm comes down and follow through all the way.

Knowing when to release

This is the hardest part of knife throwing and requires a lot of practice,  because it’s what separates skilled throwers from novice throwers. A good rule to remember is to release the knife when your right arm is about even with your aiming arm (left arm).

Keep practicing

There’s a good chance that when you threw your first knife, the handle hit the target and it bounced right off. Don’t give up. At some point, everyone throws a dud, but it shouldn’t discourage you. Keep practicing consistently and try to set up a throwing group with some of your friends.

Knife throwing grip images shown courtesy of KnifeThrowing.info.


Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at Tim@knife-depot.com.
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