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Knife Throwing is for Bad Asses

Knife throwing is exciting.  And it should stay that way.  Just ask any person who walks through the gate of any knife throwing instructor’s backyard.

“So, why do you want to throw knives?”

“Because I think it’s so bad ass!” is the usual answer 90% of the time.

So why do we want to make it sound like we’re teaching them golf or tennis?  Why are so many knife throwing organizations so focused on making this sport into a white bread, homogenous, Mayberry activity?

If someone wants a good, fun, family sport, they learn how to play baseball, volleyball or badminton.  But when they want to learn something risky and exciting, they learn how to ride motorcycles, hang glide or play hockey.

And then there’s knife throwing.  Yes, only the real adventurous thrill seekers who have a proclivity for pointy objects want to throw knives and axes.  Not the soccer families.  Or the baseball crowd.  Just the pointy objects crowd.

The origins of knife throwing are combative in nature.  Like the javelin throw, archery and target shooting, all projectile sports have their origins in hunting and warfare.  They were once the most important skills a hunter could have in order to provide for his family.  But today’s society no longer needs to hunt in the wild.  They hunt in the grocery aisles.  Not for game animals, but for deals and discounts.  The old skills have been forgotten.  Needless to say, modern man would die if left out in the wilderness to fend for himself.  If you don’t believe me, just watch an episode of Survivor or Man vs Wild on TV.  It’s pretty sad.

So why do we want to pretend that knife throwing and other projectile sports have no combative and hunting origins? Is it to make it popular in mainstream society?  Apparently, that’s the delusion.   But in today’s weapon-averse society, the mere mention of knives creates visions of maniacs running amok in the streets stabbing people.  So how do we attract people to join our sport if they are so sensitive to the mere mention of throwing knives?

Through education and honesty.

First of all, we don’t throw at living things much like sport archers don’t shoot at live animals.  And secondly, although we practice extreme safety when practicing and competing, there will always be untrained, uneducated people who get injured when throwing knives.  Not because knife throwing is so dangerous.  But because the throwers were not trained properly!  It’s like learning how to drive a car by yourself.  You may be able to get it out of the driveway, but once you’re on the city streets with other drivers, you’re probably going to cause an accident sooner or later.  Not for lack of trying.  But because no one ever really taught you the rules of the road.

Knife and ax throwing is a fun sport and anyone regardless of size, age, gender or disability can learn to become very good at it with enough practice and proper coaching.  But it’s also an adrenaline rush and a thrill to throw knives and axes like in the movies.  It can be dangerous if done incorrectly and like any sport, there is a risk of injury.  But there’s a higher chance of your son breaking his arm or leg in football than getting accidentally stabbed with a knife in our sport.  It’s relatively inexpensive and your abilities can only grow stronger with practice.

It’s a sport that appeals to a certain demographic and that’s who we need to focus on.  It’s the adventurous, pointy objects crowd.  It doesn’t mean we can’t attract other people to our sport.  But as water seeks its own level, we need to appeal MORE to those who find us most appealing.  And it’s not going to happen if we continue to pretend we’re something we’re not.

Knife and axe throwing is an exciting sport because it evokes fantasies of the hunt and epic combats in the field of battle.  It makes us feel like ninjas, cowboys, and Vikings.  It makes us wonder how it was back when humans had to hunt for food and defend their lands from invaders. And when that knife or axe solidly strikes a wooden target in the bullseye, it makes us experience what it means to be a bad ass!

TJ Cuenca

 

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