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The other week my training partner was busy, so I was training solo and took a break from my regular schedule of 52 Blocks and Boxing to get back into one of the more recreational aspects of the martial arts – knife throwing.
This is something I've enjoyed since my dad first showed me how to throw knives as a kid. He had a good underhand throw, what Master James Keating calls the Riverboat Gambler style. Overhand he used a grip at the tip of the blade and a wrist-snap I could never figure out. Today I know that's because it's one of the toughest ways to throw a knife, but it was commonly taught in his day.
As a teenager I tried following the instructions in Harry McEvoy's books but with only limited success. My knife throwing by counting rotations was always so-so. In the 80's I worked with Ninja spikes and stars, preferring spikes (what the Japanese call “bo shuriken”) hands down over stars for ease of manufacture, carry and throwing as taught in Charles Gruzanski's classic book "Spike & Chain". Michael Echanis' book "Knife Fighting / Knife Throwing" was also inspirational not only as an introduction to the whipping and spinning throws, but also to the study of self hypnosis as applied to the martial arts.
As an adult, studying Mr. Keating's knife throwing elevated my game significantly as did Ralph Thorne's material, and I got some unusual techniques from videos by Vladamir Vassiliev and Bob Taylor such as reverse grip throwing. Salute to all these gentlemen!
Today I focus on short range throwing, practicing basic power throws for reps. All these throws are done from a handle grip and are at under 20 feet.
Note that I only count *the number of sticks* and not the number of throws. You throw the knife until you get 5 sticks, you don't just do 5 throws, get 2 sticks or whatever and then switch to the other hand.
My target is a dead tree in the woods. Never throw at live trees! Always wear glasses and beware of ricocheting knives, they do pose a danger. The round surface of the tree tends to bounce them forward and away from you, unlike throwing at a flat board where they tend to bounce straight back at you!
90 / 180 Throws are spins of 90 or 180 degrees and then the throw.
Flip Throws are where you flip the knife 360 degrees, catch it and throw it as one motion.
The Double Tap throw is a 2 knife throw done with alternating hands, the two knives being thrown so they hit the target with a quick one-two cadence. The less time you put between the two sticks the better. If only one knife sticks you do not count the rep, both have to stick.
The Flip Double Tap is a 3 knife throw that uses a Flip throw followed by a Double Tap. All 3 knives have to stick for the rep to count.
The 90 Throw Double Tap is a 3 knife throw that combines a 90 degree throw followed by a double tap. All 3 knives have to stick for the rep to count.
I don't imagine that many people will copy these exact routines but I post them as an example of what is easily done in an hour or so of work. Use the ideas to inspire your own practice and have fun!
All my very best to you,
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