Working Out, Practicing, and Training

By:  Bob Huber

I’ve been involved in organized sports since I was a kid: little league, bowling, wrestling, and Judo.  I had to attend tournaments for all these events.  It wasn’t until I was about 16 that I met some real competitors.  A couple of guys and a woman in their early 30’s.  They had heard about our class and came back to try competing in Judo again.

I had competed in a few Judo tournaments.  Our class was in a Jr. High School and taught by one of the school’s teachers.  Our classes were never about true training for a tournament.  But when these three new students arrived, I saw how they changed their sessions as the tournament neared.  Their styles became more aggressive and powerful than how we practiced.  They were training.  After the competitions, they changed gears back to working out and practicing.

It was then that I realized there was a difference between working out, training, and practicing.  There is an evolution from working on the basics to training for the real conditions of a competition that involves a personalized plan.  Once I learn the basics, I must work out.  I have to build my body and knowledge base until I am skilled enough to perform without focusing on the basics.  Then, I’m ready to hone my skills through practice.  Lastly, I must train in conditions that closely match the competition.

I’ve been throwing for about 2-1/2 years.  I have never thrown steadily for more than 3 months on a good range.  Over the winter is one time most people don’t get to throw.  I’ve had the same problem.  So every spring I start getting out before the Blade Aces event in Vegas and try to prepare for the competition.  I need to get into shape.

My throwing muscles are weak.  I have to retrain my body to the proper throwing posture and form.  My mind needs to remember the timing, the rhythm, how my posture should be.  And more.  I know before even stepping onto the range that I couldn’t stick 3 knives from 6 or 7 meters.  Combined.  I know how to throw, I could teach someone how to throw, I just can’t throw.  I am totally in workout mode.

I get my knives and hit the range.  My posture is awful, my muscles have fallen back into their old, bad habits.  My timing is non-existent, I’m awkward, accuracy is a faint memory.  I am not even concerned about scoring myself.  So I start at 2-3 meters.  I may throw ½ spin for 10 minutes.  Never getting over 8 points in 3 knives.  Even if I even stick all three.  Then I go to 3m for ten minutes.  I’m getting better.  But I’m still not confident about my distance, at 1 spin, and I think I’m throwing too fast.

I just pass on 4m because I’m sucking at my 1-½ spin.  I keep over spinning and I’ve moved up to 3.6m.  I go back to 5m, and I can stick 2 out of 3 in the 2 ring, barely.  Throw at 6 and 7 meters?  Forget it.  I throw for another 10 minutes at 3 and 5 meters, because I can’t do anything but slap knives at 4m.  I’m tired, frustrated, and I think I have some soreness coming on.  Not even 45 minutes, and I’m shot.  I need to work out.

After a couple more weeks on the range, I’ve found my distances through 5m.  Instead of moving around, I’m realizing that my knee wasn’t bent, or I leaned, or my arm was locked.  I figured out my ½ spins were suffering from a bad grip and throwing too hard.  My timing is getting better, I’m forcing my proper throwing posture less.  When I make a mistake I’m figuring out how to correct it faster.  My mind is coming around and I’m realizing what I need to do, but my muscle memory is slow to return.  My accuracy is only improving because I’m technically throwing better, not controlling better.  Trying to aim at this point usually just screws me up.

I’m still in workout mode.  I am sticking 2 out of 3 or better at 6 meters, but I can barely keep it inside the 2 ring.  I can randomly stick at 7 meters, but usually below the bullseye if on the target at all.

After another couple of weeks, I’m still throwing my distances erratically.  I may start at 3m for 9-15 knives.  Then move back to 4m for 15-21 throws.  I keep going back like this.  Deciding how many times I want to throw by how it feels or how well I think I’m throwing.  I may stop after throwing 6-9 knives at 6m and 3-6 knives at 7m.  I do this two or three times.  I can stay out for over an hour now.  There is still no formal pattern to my throwing.

I’m focusing on my aim more up front and trying to keep it in the 3 ring at 6-7 meters.  As my timing, strength, and posture improve and become second nature, I can focus on my accuracy.  I still just throw for the 3 ring as I get back farther and work on my problems past 5m.

Within another month, I should be at a point where I am not constantly hindered by my bad habits.  My posture, form, timing, and strength are now at a level where I do not have to primarily focus on them to perform well.  I can consistently throw a whole set from 2-7 meters without dropping more than 2-3 knives.  I am ready to practice.

I now need to focus on my accuracy and scoring.  I am throwing well through 7m, but my accuracy is still poor.  Now is the time for some training exercises that focus on setting accuracy goals.  I begin close and move back.

One exercise I like starts at 2m.  I can only move to 3m after I’ve got 15 points.  Then 14+ points at 3m, 13+ points at 4m and 5m, then 12 points at 6m and 7m.  It may take me a week before I can get to 6m or 7m in one practice session.  Even once I do succeed, I won’t do it every session.

Another exercise I like starts at 2m on the left target.  Throw.  Move to 3m on the center target.  Throw.  Move to 4m on the right target,.  Throw.  Collect my knives.

I start the same pattern at 3m on the left target and end at 5m on the right target.  I follow this pattern until I’m back at starting at 2m on the left target.

This exercise helps my accuracy as I change distances.  The greatest adjustment for me is from 7m down to 2m.  This exercise has helped my problems with that adjustment.

Eventually, after warming up with an exercise or two, I’ll throw a complete competition round.  After a few weeks of throwing competition rounds, I will begin scoring myself.

I will start throwing a whole event round and recording my scores.  One of my greatest motivators is competing against myself.  Calculating and following my average tracks my progress and reveals weak areas in my throwing.  Tracking my average also keeps moving that goal post ahead for me.  The better I do, the better I have to keep doing.

I will now primarily practice throwing competition rounds, recording my scores and updating my average.  I will occasionally throw some exercises to increase my stamina.  The exercises can also be played as competitive games when I have someone to throw with.  The gaming helps my skills while putting me in a different rhythm.  Sometimes, I just go throw for fun without any pressure to do well.

Now, while I am going through the above steps for conventional knives, I am also working on my no-spin and hawks.  I might mix hawks and conventional one day, and conventional and no spin the next.  I usually just throw once a day, sometimes more on the weekends.  I should be able to go out just about any time, throw a warmup set, and be ready to throw a respectable competition round in any event.

About 4-6 weeks before an event is when I want to begin training for a tournament.

To me, tournaments are not a vacation.  A vacation is where I get to do what I want when I want.  I wake up when I want, I have no schedule to follow, I eat and sleep when I’m ready.  But not at a tournament. Tournaments are stressful.

I’m in a different place and time zone.  I’m not throwing when I want.  I will have to throw at  times I’m unaccustomed to.  It’s not work, but it’s not a vacation either.  With all that stress, I have to throw well.  But, It’s nothing like how I practice at home.  I have to throw 3 events in one day.  Some events don’t have a warmup set; I may have to throw a cold set 5 times in just one event.  Others have a warmup set, and then I have to throw 4 more competition sets; that’s 75 knives in a row, on someone’s commands.

I have to go beyond practice, I have to train.  I must replicate the conditions I’ll face at the competition.  I go out cold, throw one set, and record my scores.  I then throw 4 more sets and record the scores.

My first set is most similar to a cold, head to head match.  I can now keep a “Cup Average.”  I add this score with my next three sets for a cold round score and calculate a ‘cold average.’   Then I add the 4 last sets for a conventional round score.  That score is calculated into my average.

But I still haven’t come close to competition conditions.  Normally, at home, I throw, walk up, score as I pull, and write down the scores on my way to the next distance.  Sound familiar?  That ain’t the way it happens in competition, though.  I wait to throw, I throw, I wait to go score, I wait for the knives to be scored, I pull my knives, I wait at my next distance.  If someone appeals a score, I wait even longer.

So how do I train for that?  I throw, I count to 5-10, I walk up, score it, wait for a second or two, pull my knives, go to my next distance, count to X, get ready, and throw.

Slow, boring, the risk of distraction, too much time to think between throws?  Well, that’s the rhythm of a tournament.  If I’m unaccustomed to these delays and distractions, I might get anxious, or jittery.

I must be conditioned for spare time in between throws or I will want to go faster, but I won’t be able to.  Nothing good can come of that mindset.

I have to train to ignore the pauses.  I have to train to focus on setting up my throws without overthinking.  Don’t think about my score.  Don’t worry about my last throws.  Every throw is starting from a score of zero.

In training, I have to throw more too.  I have to build my stamina.  I have to throw a 5 set round at lunch of hawk, conventional, or no spin.  Then, I have to do one round after work of a remaining event.  On the weekends and holidays, I will throw before 9:00 am, late morning, and in the evening to get three events in a day.

Rest is also important.  I rarely practice or train more than three days in a row.  When I’m working out, I may throw 5-6 days in a row, because I am not forcing myself to throw 200 times or more a day.  I’m getting into shape slowly.  It’s not a rigorous schedule. But, practice and training should be stricter and more physically demanding.  Weather and life will impede throwing, but not always enough to rest and recuperate.

This is my personal plan from a general outline.  I hope you can take this information and develop a plan to make your throwing better at home and in a tournament.  Get strong.  Get Accurate.  Throw for the money.

GOT (Tentative) Schedule of Events

(Subject to minor changes)

The Game of Throws schedule of events is as follows:

Thursday, April 19

6:00 pm – General Information and Rules:  We will be disclosing the events of the weekend, upcoming championships, upcoming events and the goals of Blade Aces

11:59 pm – Early Registration deadline – all registrations received after midnight will incur a $25 late fee.

Friday, April 20

8:30 am – General Rules overview and Scorekeepers meeting

9:00 am – Knife Throwing Begins (on time)

Silver Aces – Amateur, Senior, Junior, Youth

Golden Aces – Pro Division

1:00 pm – Axe Throwing Begins (TBA)

Silver Aces – Amateur, Senior, Junior, Youth

Golden Aces – Pro Division

5:00 pm – End of the day

7:00 pm – Wedding Vow renewal of Leslie and Jim Leone at the Little Chapel of the West on Las Vegas Blvd.  everyone invited!

9:00 pm – Meet up at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country at Town Square across the freeway from Blade Aces HQ.  There may be a small cover charge. Must be 21+ to enter.

Saturday, April 21

8:30 am – General Rules overview and Scorekeepers meeting

The massage therapist will be available by appointment.

9:00 am – Conventional Knife Throwing begins (on time)

Amateur. Senior, Youth and Junior

12:30 pm –  No Spin Throwing begins Pro and Amateur

2:00 pm Conventional Axe throwing begins (TBA)

Amateur, Senior and Pro

Last appointment for massage therapist will be at 3:30pm.

7:00 pm – Game of Throws Feast & Costume Contest

7: 45 pm – Athletic Assistance Auction (to benefit Adam Celadin Cancer Treatment fund)

8:00 pm – Awards Ceremony

8:30 pm – Early Registration Door Prizes

9:00 pm – After Hours Festivities In-House Poker Tournament

Stic-Tac-Toe

Sunday, April 22

8:30 am – General Rules overview and Scorekeepers meeting

9:00 am – GAME of THROWS – Mini games

Silhouette Throwing Game

Trick Throw

Roulette

Quick Draw

12:00 pm – Demonstration Games

Killer Grand Prix (we are testing this event for inclusion in the next Game of Throws)

Atlatl Throwing (we are testing this event for inclusion in the next Game of Throws)

3:00 pm – Awards Ceremony for Final Day

 

UPDATE: Game of Throws Las Vegas

UPDATED WEEKLY:  3/03/18. With less than 2 months to go, the Blade Aces Game of Throws Knife & Ax throwing Championships will be the biggest knife & ax throwing championship ever held in Las Vegas.  The event will take place at the Blade Aces HQ at the Superhero Foundry on April 20-22, 2018.  The final day of registration is Thursday, April 19.  Because we need the names from all registrations ready to go for the brackets of the Golden and Silver Aces on Friday morning, there will be a late fee of $25 applied to any registrations received after April 19 at midnight.  In order to respect other guests planned activities during this weekend, we will start and end on time every day.

There will be a General Information Meeting on Thursday night at 6:00 pm to go over rules, events and answer questions about the Blade Aces organization.  We will also allow potential members to sign up for the Blade Aces membership (free of charge to competitors) and distribute registration packets to paid competitors.

Starting on Friday at 8:30 am with a Throwers and Scorers Meeting, the first event will be the Golden Aces Knife throwing for the Pro Division and the Silver Aces Knife throwing for the Amateur Division.  The Golden Aces Event will take place in the indoor Pro Range and the Silver Aces Event will be in the outdoor Amateur Range.  The Axe throwing events for Golden Aces and Silver Aces will take place right after the Knife throwing events.

There will be a wedding vow renewal ceremony for Leslie & Jim Leone at the Little Chapel of the West on Las Vegas Blvd.  Everyone is invited to join us! Guests are invited to join us after the vow renewal at Stoney’s Rockin Country at Town Square located across the freeway from the Superhero Foundry at 9:00 pm.

Saturday’s events will start at 8:30 am with a Throwers and Scorers Meeting.  The first event will be the Conventional Knife Throw with the Pro Division taking place at the indoor range and the Amateur Division taking place at the outdoor range.  Conventional Ax throwing for Pro division will also take place at the indoor range and the Amateur Ax throwing division will likewise be at the outdoor range.  First prize for Conventional Pro Division Knife and Ax is $500 each.  Second place is $300 and third place is $100.

The Pro-Am No Spin Knife throwing event will take place right after the Pro-Am Divisions knife throwing event and before the Ax Throwing event. First prize for Pro Division No Spin Knife is $500, second prize is $300 and third prize is $100.

Saturday night will be the Game of Throws Feast, Costume Contest, Special Auction to raise funds for Adam Celadin and Championship Awards ceremony.  There will be beer and coolers available for sale with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the local Veterans Transition Resource Center.  We are also celebrating the birthday of Dan Pegg and the wedding of Sylvain Guenegou from France. After the Feast, we will continue the evening with more throwing games, in-house poker and more!

Sunday’s events begin at 8:30am with a Thrower’s meeting.  The first events will be the Silhouette Game and Trick Throw at 9:00 am.  Roulette and Quick Draw at 11:00 am.  There will be demonstration games happening from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm such as AtlAtl Throwing and The Killer Grand Prix. Rules and video coming soon.

A variety of adult beverages will be available for a small donation during this event. Must 21 years old and show proof of age in order to drink alcohol. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to benefit the Veterans’ Transition Resource Center.  NO OUTSIDE ALCOHOL is allowed on the premises.

MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Texas State Knife & Tomahawk Throwing Championships May 19-20

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MAY 19-20, 2018 at the General Sam Houston Folk Festival in Huntsville, TX

Professional, Amateur and Youth Divisions in Mountain Man style Knife & Tomahawk Throwing.  With performances by International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame World Champion Christopher Miller and Sarah Miller of Bandaids and Blades!

  • Period 1840-1900 Costume required.
  • One of the easiest and best hawks is the norse hawk. There is no hawk handle length requirement
  • Knife length is a minimum of 12″. Knives also must have a leather, bone, stag or wood handle/scales, no synthetic materials.
  • Pre-register before May 19, 2018 and receive 10% off.
    • Pro Division : $60  ($54 if paid before May 19)
    • Amateur Divison: $50 ($45 if paid before May 19)
    • Juniors & Youth Division; $20 ($18 if paid before May 19)
  • Throwers Meeting at 8:30am and starts at 9:00am
  • Great fun for the whole family!
  • Supported and sponsored by Blade Aces.org

Send payment to Paypal address to: twistedbraindesigns@yahoo.com

For sponsorship opportunities for this event, please contact Chris Miller at cmiller13.ikthof@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

2018 Sturgis Buffalo Chip Championships Announced

PRESS RELEASE: Blade Aces Will Hold the First Ever 2018 Buffalo Chip Knife & Ax Throwing Championships

Posted 2/9/2018

LAS VEGAS, NV (Feb 5, 2018) – BladeAces.org has announced that it will be holding the first ever Knife & Ax throwing Championships at the World-Famous Buffalo Chip during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally August 3 to August 12, 2018, from 9am until 3pm daily. The Buffalo Chip Blade Aces Championships held at the free-access CrossRoads will be the largest knife throwing event ever attended.

Team Blade Aces is extremely excited to be a part of the Buffalo Chip entertainment family and to hold this event at such an amazing venue. Headquartered at the Superhero Foundry in Las Vegas Nevada, BladeAces.org is operated by the World’s Highest Ranked Knife Throwing Couple, Melody & TJ Cuenca. Melody is an eleven-time world knife throwing champion. They will also be joined by International Knife Throwing Hall of Fame World Champion, Chris “The Killer” Miller and other champions as well.

There will be four major events happening at the Blade Aces booth including the Amateur rules conventional knife and ax throwing event, Quick Draw competition and an atlatl throwing demonstration.

The Quick Draw Competition is a head-to-head competition between two competitors throwing at two wooden targets wired to an electronic timer. The fastest clocked time of the week at the Quick Draw Competition will win the magnificent Buffalo Chip Quick Draw Trophy.

The 2,500 sq ft Blade Aces booth will have 12 targets and four lanes of knife and ax throwing, two designated Quick Draw targets and the atlatl exhibition lane. Classes are just $20 for a 30-minute lesson, $40 to enter the Daily Knife and Ax Competitions, and $10 for three tries at the Quick Draw Competition. This event is open to the public and everyone is welcome to enter.

Members of Team Blade Aces will also be performing exhibitions of knife throwing, whip cracking and gun spinning at the various concert stages and locations all throughout the Buffalo Chip.

For more information contact: (702) 785-3111 https://BladeAces.org or http://superherofoundry.com

About Blade Aces

Blade Aces is an organization with one mission in mind: To design, create and build the most professional, standardized, and fun precision projectile sports organization in the world. Designed by professional competitors for professional competitors, the Blade Aces organization is a non-political, commercial entity that does not shy away from committing to competition from all over the world. Blade Aces hosts competitions for: Knife throwing (Spin & No Spin), Ax/Tomahawk throwing (Tomahawk & Small Axe), Large ax (Single and Double Bit), Archery (Long Bow and Compound), Atlatl (Traditional and Modern), Throwing stars (Small and Large), Spear (Lance and Javelin), Boomerang (Hunting boomerang and Throwing Stick), Blowdarts (Short and Long Blow gun),Sling (Ancient and Modern), Rifle (Air and Gunpowder), and Pistol (Air and Gunpowder).

About The Sturgis Buffalo Chip

The Sturgis Buffalo Chip is the Largest Music Festival in Motorcycling™. Established in 1981, the venue’s nine-day festival, known as The Best Party Anywhere®, remains one of the world’s most televised and longest running independent music festivals. Buffalo Chip guests have the freedom to party and play while experiencing world-class concerts, outrageous events, moving freedom celebrations, thrilling PowerSports and more. Located three miles east of Sturgis, SD on 600 creek-fed acres, it offers cabins, RVs, camping, a swimming hole, bars, mouth-watering food, showers, paved roads, and more to visitors traveling from all corners of the world. The Chip’s concerts are free with camping. More details are available at http://www.BuffaloChip.com.

NOTE: A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit Semper Fi Fund.org.  This will be the third fundraising event that we’ve held for Semper Fi Fund and we are proud to support their mission to assist wounded members of the US Marine Corps and their families.

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Atlatls – A Historical Perspective

by Angelo Robledo

Fifteen thousand years ago, right here in southern Nevada, a bighorn sheep died. Now, this wasn’t a strange occurrence with the circle of life and everything but HOW this bighorn sheep died is the strange part. It was killed by a strange two-legged animal standing about 15 meters away wielding a strange stick-and-spear weapon. Oddly enough, at the same time, in New York, a woolly mammoth was killed by the same stick and spear weapon by the same two-legged animal.
And in northern France, ancient caribou is killed the same way. And in Australia, a kangaroo dies the same way. Now this two-legged animal was, of course, human, but the weapon they wielded was something the animal world had never seen before, an atlatl. The atlatl is a 30,000-year-old spear type weapon used by ancient man to hunt big game. Predating the bow by 15000 years, the atlatl was the first two-part weapon or tool system ever invented by man, and next to the gun, it is the most universal of all time, found on 6 continents.

Let’s look at some of the technological design elements that helped it to become one of
the ingenious weapons ever created. The first part of the design that needs to be examined is the fletching or feathers on the back of the dart. The feathers cause drag on the back of the dart allowing for a straight flight and stability, increasing its aerodynamics creating greater accuracy and velocity. This piece of the design obviously carried over into many projectile weapons today, like arrows and even rockets, who’s fins act the same way as fletching.
Even though archaeological evidence of atlatl use was prevalent, and archaeologists
found atlatl artifacts, no one was able to replicate the feats written about by the Spaniards. They were using thick stiff spears as the projectile and getting no more than 15 meter throws with almost no velocity and horrible accuracy, not the 80 meters written about with the accuracy and velocity to take down a mammoth or Spaniard.

In 1973 an archaeology/engineering double major at Montana State University named Robert ‘Atlatl Bob’ Perkins examined the atlatl from a physics standpoint after learning about it in one of his anthropology classes. He theorized that instead of a thick stiff spear, a thin flexible dart was necessary for a powerful flight. At the 1974 Montana State atlatl competition, he debuted his flexible dart model and shattered every accuracy and distance record at the time. He realized through applying Newton’s laws that the force of the throw would cause a stiff spear to go straight up and fish-tail because the weighted tip would resist motion. A flexible dart, however, would flex with the throw and store potential energy, releasing that energy at the apex of the flight, causing it to spring off the spur of the atlatl and keep itself straight in flight.

The next piece of engineering genius in the atlatl comes from the concept of the atlatl
itself. The atlatl system uses the idea that propelling a projectile from behind the center of gravity is more effective than propelling it from the midpoint like a javelin. This idea has translated itself into almost all projectile weapons since. If you think about it, an arrow is just a shrunken down atlatl dart. The bowstring goes into the back of the arrow and propels it from behind its center. The arrow also flexes and stores similar energy on a smaller scale as an atlatl and dart. Even firearms benefit from this, as the gunpowder goes behind the bullet pushing it forward.

Finally, the atlatl serves as an extension of your arm, creating a third arm segment that
uses leverage to transfer even greater energy into the back of the dart. All of these developments together created a weapon that shaped the development of mankind in a massive way, setting up the next 30,000 years of innovation and invention.

Atlatls are a key part of our history as a human and the universality of our development
and culture. Through understanding the history of this weapon, the genius of our ancestors in its design, and it’s translation into our modern society and culture, we are able to fully understand and appreciate our collective ancestry and what got us to the world of technological innovation.
we live in today.

Knifemaking as a Business – the Rewards and Challenges

by Patrick Brewster

Knifemaking is a combination of artistic and mechanical design and fabrication. On one hand, knifemaking is artistic sculpture – the knifemaker envisions the form, flow, and visual balance of the finished work, and skillfully transforms raw material into this vision. On the other hand, knifemaking falls under the category of tool making – the knifemaker must be skilled and knowledgeable in the areas of material science and selection, mechanical design and engineering, ergonomics, machining, and manufacturing. Furthermore, when knifemaking becomes an occupation, the knifemaker becomes a businessman and must be competent in the areas of finance, marketing, customer service, liability, bookkeeping, inventory management, tax compliance, and accounting. Furthermore, the knifemaker must deal with credit card processing, graphic design, web programming, and website and social media management.

Artist, toolmaker, and businessman – generally speaking, each is a respectable and well-paying occupation. As a frame of reference, the average salary in the US is $52,000 – and this number is also the approximate average salary for a plumber or toolmaker. It seems reasonable to think that someone who is an artist, toolmaker AND businessman could easily earn the same as a plumber, but this is not the case. It is extremely difficult to sell knives at a price that is commensurate with the sacrifice, skill, and risk demanded of the knifemaker. This is the fundamental challenge of knifemaking as a business.

Value is determined in the market, and here where this problem is rooted. The craft knife market is composed of a spectrum of knifemakers – scam artists and incompetent makers at one end, master craftsmen at the other end, and everything else in between. Most knifemakers are hobbyists, and for obvious reasons, hobbyists will always sell for less than professionals, which creates an “artificially” low market value. The knifemaker who aspires to make a living from the craft must address the following three questions. How do I distinguish my product from the competition? How do I compete in a market with artificially low perceived value? How do I cope with these difficulties while also maintaining my artistic inspiration and motivation?

The rewards of knifemaking are the same rewards experienced by the accomplished artist, toolmaker, and businessman. The artist enjoys the creative process, result, and public reception of his work. The toolmaker enjoys the inherent satisfaction of solving problems with science, technology, and ingenuity. The businessman gains a sense of accomplishment in treating customers with integrity and making people feel like their money was well spent. The challenges of knifemaking are considerable, but the rewards are profound.

https://flyingsteel.com

No-Spin : No-Stigma

No-Spin No-Stigma by RC Samples

It was the summer of 2013; I had been out of army training for only a few months and was living in Jacksonville, Florida.  While driving about I had noticed a knife dealership with reputable cutlery brands painted on the window.  I had been filming my journey learning the art of no-spin knife throwing and was uploading knife-throwing content on my YouTube channel on a regular basis.  I walked in, the owner said “hello” and barely looked up.  I wandered past the expensive folding knives, past the cheap folding knives, and was soon staring down into the case housing throwing weapons. The typical items were all there: small United Cutlery throwers, Chinese-made stars, and steel cards.  The owner looked up and asked if there was anything I found interesting.  I told him I had a YouTube channel where I taught knife throwing tutorials and showcased my skillset.  He then told me that two young men my age had come into the store asking about throwing knives, claiming that they had seen a man on YouTube who could throw a knife like an arrow; “no-spin” is what they called it.  The owner said that he had been selling knives for decades and throwing knives all his life and that no one could throw a knife in such a way.  I looked him in the eyes and told him, “The man they were referring to in the video was me”.
He had a perplexed look on his face. I then showed him on his laptop one of my recent videos.  He was stunned and from that day on we began a friendship that would last four years, and I would buy as many of my knives as possible from his store.  His name was Danny Ridenhour and he passed away this past month. I will greatly miss the conversations we had.
Danny’s generation of knife enthusiasts has been close-minded to the realm of knife throwing, as is the case with martial artists, hunters, and even knife fighting experts.  The knife throwing community itself was close-minded to the idea up until late 2013. I was there at the first world championship in 2013 and was quite possibly the first person to use a no spin throw during a competition.  By 2014, I and others had our first sanctioned No-Spin event.  The No-Spin event drew a crowd of young, unconventional, backyard roughnecks, with raw talent and little regard for tradition or preconceived notions. Our skill has been shrouded in myth until the last few years, but within those years are numbers have grown, secrets have been revealed, and the technique is no longer a mystery.  For us, throwing a knife is throwing a knife; we are growing.  No-spin is no longer a novelty, but a way to expand the window of point first flight patterns.  Seeking independence from inches as variables and counting rotations, our throwing is more violent in nature and a spectacle to behold.
No-spinners have had to battle a stigma from the beginning; we were seen as greenhorns chasing a pipedream as if we expected our way to outshine the old.  It can be debated that our style is older anyways and has roots in Japanese shuriken-jutsu, but debating has caused a divide, and divides are something we need less of in our sport.  Our intent is different, the no-spin sensation is different, and our competitors are different in nature from the previous generation.  No spin has a certain appeal, is addictive in nature, and rewards the thrower with a sense of achievement like no other.  You have mastered the knifes’ flight; it has not mastered you.
By R.C. aka TheCombat KnifeThrower
https://www.youtube.com/user/knifethrower72194

Ram-bo, the Blade Aces Mascot

Why a mascot?

While watching a pro game on TV at a restaurant last week, I noticed something fascinating about the people around me.  For some bizarre reason, everyone was wearing the logos and colors of their favorite teams while watching the game.  They were avid fans. Passive participants, but their passion for the team was exemplified by their willingness to become associated with them through uniform colors and images. They became one with the players and even chanted phrases associated specifically with the sport or that team.  They defended the honor of their teams. They cheered and cried for their teams.  In fact, they were in love with their teams. It was mesmerizing.  It was something that our sport desperately needed.

The uniform makes a difference.  All professional sports have a uniform look.  Football has jerseys.  Basketball has tank tops.  And hockey has really long jerseys.  Even volleyball has a distinct uniform that sets them apart from other sports.  All professional sports have a distinct look. But what does knife & axe throwing have?  Plaid shirts and beards?  Circus-stripe tights and handlebar mustaches?  Or cowboy hats and boots?  What is an official, distinctive look for knife throwers?

The answer is none of the above.  This has never been established and therefore knife throwing is NOT considered a professional sport.  Why? Because our fans can’t be passive participants.  We have no official colors.  No official uniform.  Not even a mascot.

The Blade Aces organization’s mission is to make knife & ax throwing a professional sport that is worthy of being included in the Olympic Games.  This is no small task.  The requirements for making a sport into an Olympic sport are lengthy.  And they have to be done by the numbers.  I’s dotted and t’s crossed.  Inclusion into the Olympic Games is for the very best sportsmen and women in the world.  There’s no denying that fact.  And in order to even be considered for that honor, a sport has to be operated by professionals for professionals.

Several knife throwers have proposed a collared polo shirt with team colors and logos. While others, such as Blade Aces Las Vegas uses an athletic, color-panel, t-shirt with Sport Fit fabrics due to the arid desert climate.  Therefore, shirts with short sleeves, such as polos and athletic tees are acceptable as long as they are clean and matching.

Long pants would be preferable especially since it would help deflect those errant bouncing blades.  Closed-toed athletic shoes are essential for traction and safety.  And ball caps would be acceptable wear especially when outdoors.  Special events such as the Texas State Knife and Tomahawk Championships in Huntsville, TX requires period clothing and would, therefore be an exception to the athletic wear rule.

Color choice would be completely up to the individual leagues and their members, such as the black and white color scheme of the Full Tang Clan. The eagle wings logo of the FTC with their personalized names gives them a polished, team appeal while keeping costs down.  Other leagues/clubs may choose to use more elaborate designs and fabrics, like the different team uniforms in the movie “Dodgeball”.  However, uniformity and personal branding for the league is the start of establishing a recognizable look for presenting the sport.

So when asking the initial question, “Why a mascot?”, one must acknowledge the fact that ALL professional teams and sports have a symbol that represents the virtues and qualities exemplified by the players and the organization.

Blade Aces has chosen Ram-bo, the bighorn black sheep.  This heavily muscled, hard-headed animal represents the edgy, rebellious nature of our organization. Just like other black sheep, we revel in our inclusive nature as we accept all styles of legitimate throwing and projectile sports in the hopes of establishing camaraderie and cohesiveness in these, otherwise, dangerous sports.  We’re different and we like it.  The animal is also reminiscent of the US Marine Corps bulldog, a symbol that represents several members of our Advisory Board.  Ram-bo carries a throwing knife, ax and archery bow.  He will later be shown carrying other indigenous weapons as they become integrated into our events.

The symbolism doesn’t stop there.   The colors used by Blade Aces are also very representative of our mission. The color black signifies professionalism and seriousness.  The color red stands for innovation and energy.  Silver stands for reflection and transparency.  And white stands for truth and clarity.  The Blade Aces Bad Asses Alliance or BABAA represents the black sheep of the throwing world whose power, strength and influence will propel the sport into the Olympics and into the public’s eye for what they truly are.  It is our identity and our brand. And we are bad ass to the bone!