How to Throw Throwing Knives




About: I'm a student at UW-Milwaukee studying computer science with a passion for electronics. I'm always working on a project or thinking of new ideas. If you have any questions about any of my instructables, or w...

Knife throwing is a practice that has been around for centuries. It is a rewarding, and easy to learn hobby who's popularity is making a comeback. Really nothing's more awesome than the sound of a knife hitting a target from yards away. Knife throwing can be done with anything from a hunting knife to official throwing knifes. In this instructable, you will learn safe and accurate methods of knife throwing. We will go over: choosing knives, throwing basics, types of throws, throwing stance, advanced throws, and general tips.

Enough talking, let's go find some knives!


Step 1: Choosing a Knife

Your choice of knives are endless. Any knife with a semi-sharp point and a little weight will work, but keep in mind different knives require different techniques. Throwing a hunting knife does not use the same grip as throwing a true throwing knife.I will go over the difference in technique later on, but for now lets just go around your house, cabin, local store, or shed to find some knives.

The ideal throwing knife will have these traits:

-No sharp edges, just a sharp point.

-Rounded corners are ideal for safety.

-Thick enough so that the tip will not become bent.

-About 200 grams in weight. Anything less will take more throwing accuracy. (Christian Thiel describes this on his website)

-Keep in mind: fancy grips do not make a knife any better than the rest. Find a knife that won't require later upkeep.

-Knives with perforations are more prone to breakage than solid blades. So if you have a choice, find a knife with minimal perforation as any hole in the knife can lead to a shattered blade.

Step 2: Throwing Basics

Before we throw a single knife, we need to learn exactly what our goal is, how we achieve it, and what we need to achieve it.

Besides a knife, we will need a target. Selecting a good target is critical for beginners and experts alike. For beginners, it is imperative that you have a soft and large target. This ensures that you do not focus on accuracy or power, and you do focus on working on correct rotations. A large rotting tree trunk is ideal if you're in the north woods of Wisconsin since they are easy to find, and meet our specifications stated before.

Safety is essential for knife throwing. While throwing, you NEED to wear hard shoes, and be sure your throwing space is away from people and pets. Before you throw, notify people nearby that it is dangerous and continue with caution.

Now that we have everything we need to throw knives, let's focus on what our goals will be!

The goals of knife throwing vary depending on your skill level. In this instructable, we will go over different "rotations". Our first goal will be to throw a knife with half rotation. Then we will focus on full rotations, and finally I will present advanced throws. All of these throws present a new challenge which will build your skills and will give you the gratification of conquering your goals.

Now that we know what we are going to do, gather your knives and let's get down and dirty with our throwing stance!

Step 3: Throwing Stance and Knife Grip

Like other sports or activities, knife throwing requires a certain form and stance.

To prepare for your throw, first focus on your footing and body posture. Indicators of good throwing posture are:

-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 straightly. Its important to stand straightly to ensure a straight, accurate throw.

-For right handed throws: Keep your right foot forward and your left foot slightly behind it. When throwing left handed, do the opposite.

Also, while throwing, you should focus on how you hold the knife. To hold a throwing knife correctly, hold it "as you would a hammer" (Christian Thiel). Be sure to keep your thumb on top of your other fingers and make sure no fingers will alter the trajectory of your throw.

If using a hunting knife (or any sharp edged blade) it is important that you leave room between the edge of the blade and your hand while you grip the knife. (See 5th and 6th pictures).

Once you understand correct throwing stance and form, get some shoes on and head out to your target so we can learn some throws!

Step 4: Half Spin Throw

Now that we are all prepared, lets learn your first throw!

Our first goal will be to: throw a knife into our target with one half of a spin. Once you master this simple throw, you will be on your way to doing more advanced knife throws.

WARNING: Before preceding, you must take safety precautions. Be sure to wear hard toe shoes, especially if you are a beginner!

To begin this throw, you must first be at the right distance from your target. A knife thrower, Tim Valentine, wrote a great article on how to find an appropriate distance for each type of throw. However, your personal distance will depend on your knife as well. Generally for a half rotation spin, you will want to be about six feet from your target. (experiment with different distances to find your "sweet spot").

Next, grip your knife with blade facing you (handle towards the sky). Throw the knife at your target with moderate force. Don't try to throw the knife as hard as you can. Just a moderate throw will be sufficient if you have the correct target and knife.

If the knife will not stay in the target (and your rotation is accurate) make sure you are using a soft wood target and that your knife's tip is sharp!

Step 5: One Spin Throw

After sticking the half rotation throw, you can move onto your first single rotation knife throw. This throw will take more precision so it is critical that you review correct throwing stance and knife grip.

WARNING: Before preceding, you must take safety precautions. Be sure to wear hard toe shoes, especially if you are a beginner!

To begin this throw, find your most optimal distance from the target. According to Valentine's article, for a single rotation throw you should stand about ten to eleven feet from your target. Once again, this is an estimate. Your knife and your form will alter these approximations, so try to find your own "sweet spot".

Now grip your knife from its handle (blade facing the sky). Throw your knife with moderate force at your target. Focus on your stance and staying relaxed, since this throw will take quite a bit more precision than the half rotation throw.

If the knife doesn't stick in your target, make sure you are using a soft wood target, and that your knife's tip is sharp.

Step 6: Advanced Throws

Since this is a beginners guide, I won't be going over the specifics of other throws. However, for those looking for a challenge, I will mention some more advanced throws.

Basically, more advanced throws just involve more spins, or even no spins. Using Valentine's throwing distance formula: (toe distance - reach distance) / (turns + 0.25) = distance per turn (link to original site). You can find the approximate distance for any number of rotations of throws. In his article he even talks of a seven rotation throw.

Alternatively, there is the "no-spin" technique. This is a method of throwing where the knife has no rotation. This a more practical technique for close distance throwing, since there is no rotation any object that passes the knife's trajectory will be hit.

If you would like to get more into advanced knife throwing, there are plenty of articles and books on the physics of throwing and other techniques.

Step 7: Throw Safely and Practice!

The most important part of knife throwing is to continue to practice. Since much of throwing is in "muscle memory", practice can help you retain and build on your skills.

For more information on knife throwing visit one of these great resources:

-Spin Distance Formula

-International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame

I hope you have had fun learning how to throw throwing knifes, and are hooked on the sport. Please share your favorite knife throws in the comments section of this instructable! If you think this article was awesome please support me by voting in either the Great Outdoors, squeeze more awesome out of summer, or Vintage contest! Thanks for reading!

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    28 Discussions


    10 months ago

    i have same S&W Bullseye knives.

    i throw them in my yard at a large board

    P.S. good job on the tutorial


    1 year ago

    it didn’t work sad


    1 year ago

    Great tutorial! I actually wrote one on my blog as well, if anybody wants to check it out, it may help with some different visualization on how to do it!


    2 years ago

    When my older brother moved out and joined the army, he left behind a collection of switch blades and a couple of army knives he'd collected; he took over half the knives he owned with him and left the rest to me (the butterfly knives were among my favorite). You can imagine how my mom reacted to her daughter being passed down a couple dozen knives, but she was even more upset when I picked up knife throwing and a range of small-scale combat moves. We had an old tree slightly rotting in the back yard, so I'd go out just about every day and practice with it. The wood was slightly soft from termites and insects eating away at it, so the knives stuck easier than usual, which was perfect for practice for a teenage girl such as myself. I actually found that I preferred the heavy-grip locking switch blades for throwing and street fighting; they had design in the handle and blade, but were well balanced, compact, and surprisingly durable, on top of the fact that they're legal as a concealed weapon in the state of Texas; I could take them almost anywhere. I hardly had trouble with breaking knives, though that might be because of a lack of upper body strength (in comparison to a man). I'm told that while I wouldn't win a contest for the force of my throws and depth of blade entry into the target, my speed and accuracy is thoroughly impressive. It's important when becoming a knife thrower to decide not only what blades are best for you, but also what areas you wish to be best at. Maybe you want to throw the furthest, hardest, fastest, or most accurately. Don't be afraid to use an untraditional knife if it works for you, and having the most force behind your throw isn't always everything. Women, too, can be efficient in knife throwing, where speed and a lighter knife can be just as deadly effective as a heavy strong blade. I've personally found that simultaneously throwing up to three knives works best for me in general practice, though this requires special flat blade-only knives and an extra permit in Texas.

    The image I've uploaded is of one of my favorite everyday carry-around switchblades. The curve of the knife from hilt to tip makes it difficult for a beginner, but with practice it becomes a very effective throwing knife and is good for close hand combat. It's sturdy enough that in over five years of throwing and general use it has not broken; on top of that, it is styled and not bland or plain. It folds closed and is a legal carry-about weapon in some states, including Texas (with a permit, of course). Despite the shape, it is actually well balanced and certainly heavy enough for throwing, despite being somewhat smaller, the handle being only slightly heavier than the blade.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    There is also one technique. Knowing the heavy end. The knife can be blade-heavy or handle-heavy. Which ever it is, hold the light end and then throw acc to what you read. It will always strike the target with the heavy end.

    You can find the heavy end by trying to balance the knife using the finger, which ever way it tips, that is the heavy end.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I use a classic folding knife that has a heavy handle, but only sticks when I hold it from the blade, like any throwing knife. what kind of knife are you referring to?

    DV Customs

    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have been into throwing knives since I was about 6 years old, I started with a couple sharpened butter knives till my mother seen her knives started to come up missing. lol But I have always been able to throw just about anything from files to screw drivers even pencils. I also throw my darts backwards ( tip first ) steel or plastic.Nobody could beat me at any knife game of stretch or chicken.

    When I bought my house one of the first things I did was to hang a target on each wall of the garage, this way I always had a target cross the room. When my son was eleven I made him his own custom made throwing spikes. He was the only 11 year old I knew that could stick a Phillips screw driver 8 out of 10 times. Now that he is 13 he has gotten very good at throwing under handed with the knife hid behind his wrist.

    Practice is the key to every thing!!!!!!!

    Store bought knives can be good if you pay enough for them but there's nothing better than throwing your own creations.

    2 replies
    VapeADV Customs

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    When you say you throw these items, are you throwing them in a traditional style ( rotation throw) or do know the art of the no-spin (a.k.a. combat throwing)? If not, look it up, it is right up your alley, especially considering the type of things you and your son are throwing. Ralph Thorn is America's ace when it comes to the no-spin technique, grab his book or DVD and enjoy!

    racsterDV Customs

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Your mom must have been really patient! I've got 8 kids, and I can just imagine what would happen if one of them decided to start throwing knives....


    This is a sport/art that requires a lot of patience, so don't quit when you realize its a lot harder than it looks


    4 years ago on Introduction

    As a youth, I was always trying to get one up on the other young men in the neighborhood . So naturally when it came to a throwing knife, I went extreme, using a WWI bayonet as for target two old trees 32 feet apart made throwing fun as I could throw, pull the blade out turn and throw again. I spent the best part of the summer throwing that blade. of course my buddies were impressed, since the difficulty of throwing such a heavy blade...well you understand. Then for years the blade collected dust, until the day I came home and found my sons throwing blades at a target they had built. They ask if I would try, I stuck 5 out of 6 which is where I should have left it.....I went in and got the old blade out, then paced almost three times the distance the boys had marked off, almost twenty years the blade had not left my hand, but it flew straight, hitting a shade low on the target, but destroying the target...Oops! I help them build a more substantial target and retired the old blade once more.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nicely done. Just a tip that I found in a book that I have on knife throwing - don't use plywood as your target, use solid wood instead. The cross-grain construction that gives plywood it's strength makes it difficult for the knife to penetrate and the knife is therefore more prone to bouncing off erratically into places unknown.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Excellent addition! Are you into knife throwing too? Or was that just something you read? As usual, thanks for the comment!