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