Watching Gangs of New York yesterday - it never ceases to amaze me how the good guy (or bad guy) who is so skilled with a throwing knife can save the day (or ruin the good guy's day).
Really? C'mon. This is a horribly bad idea, isn't it, to try to rely upon the extreme skill and luck that it takes (both) to hit someone just right to stick them from a distance in combat unknown to you, and at which you didn't specifically practice the distance, and stick them hard enough and in the right place to do significant damage.
AND, worst of all, you've just thrown away your weapon! In some cases, your last/only weapon.
And, if you're at a distance, you have a real chance to escape and evade or try to get closer to do some slice n dice with your contact weapon which you maintain control of.
Surely, there are no REAL knife fighters or other serious martial artists who rely on throwing knives, are there? It's a parlor trick only, no?
Seems incredibly stupid to me. Hitting stuff is HARD with a SPINNING knife, which can only get a direct hit if facing ONE out of 360 different degrees (or at most, 5-10 out of 360). Seems that even with incredible skill, you've still got *significantly* less than 90% chance to hit someone under real combat conditions, any more than a superficial flesh wound, and I wouldn't rely upon 90%, let alone less than that.
Although admittedly, it looks cool on film.
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September 15, 2009, 01:34 PM
Skeeter Vaughan and Harry McEvoy were two gentlemen who could pull it off. It was Vaughan who had witnesses that he threw a knife and got a German sentry in WW2 at some incredable disatance.
It can be done, but you have to dedicate your life to practice and even then have the God given talent to develope. Once in a while you just get someone with inhuman reflexs and eye-hand co-ordination. I've been shooting for 50 years, but that doesn't mean I'll ever turn inot a Bill Jordan.
September 15, 2009, 02:19 PM
I've never seen it done. Moving thrower, moving target, moving blade all makes for pretty dynamic problem.
If you're just attempting to distract out of despiration and you happen to get lucky that would be very impressive.
If you dedicate hundreds of hours to practice and you're blessed with exceptional talent you might be able to position yourself to get a solid stick.
Obviously none of us think movies reflect real life very accurately when it comes to exceptional martial feats.
September 15, 2009, 02:44 PM
After seeing some demonstrations (one involving a knife disabling a moving radio controlled car), I have no doubt that a small amount of throwers could accomplish some of these feats....however the majority would never be able to pull it off.
This is more theatrical suspension of belief, much like the never ending magazine, how a T/C contender is able to kill anything from any distance with a single shot, under any circumstances, etc.
Just take it as a show and have fun with it....well, unless it's appraoching Transporter levels of absurdity...then just avoid that movie.
September 15, 2009, 03:10 PM
It's not extremely difficult (assuming regular practice) to judge the distance and control the rotation of the knife (you choke up on it to make it rotate more slowly). It's done instinctively after many hours of throwing at targets at varying distances up to 10 yards or so.
Still, with a moving target coming toward you or going away a certain measure of luck will be involved.
Realistically, it's not a killing weapon, but it's a good way to distract an opponent and throw them off balance. Whether you hit them with the point or not, they're going to be paying attention to that knife and it's going to hurt. That's when you pull out your other knife. Never throw your last one.
September 15, 2009, 09:30 PM
It's a movie. It's fantasy. Somebody dreamed it up, and thought "Wow, I'll bet this would look better on screen if. . ."
I can't stand watching action films any more. They have become orgies of special effects and gore with a shred of plot to hold them together. And there is in most cases not even a token effort to obey the laws of physics or create a semblance of reality or believability. My youngest son feels the same way and is now totally hooked on classic films, B & W and silent era movies for the same reasons-"Dad it's better than 90% of the crap that they put out today." And all they have to do is generate controversy to get you to contribute to the film's bank account by going to see it "just to see how bad it really is". I mostly watch older films, documentaries, or something that got rave reviews at Cannes or Sundance. Academy Award stuff, mmmm not so much.
Sorry, my rant. YMMV
September 15, 2009, 09:33 PM
Ditto Sniper5! Give me "The Duke" and a bowl of popcorn anyday.
September 15, 2009, 09:51 PM
sorry... the oldie stuff is just as bad... ever seen someone shot flying though the air, through a window and out into the middle of the street? How many shots are there in a single action revolver?
I enjoy a good movie... period... true there are quite a few of them nowadays that are irritatingly absurd... if you sift through them, there are some good ones being put out nowadays.
September 15, 2009, 10:31 PM
Yup, crap is crap. First of all, I'm a consumer not a marketer. No one in the world has to like what I like. I am trying to get anyone to watch or not watch anything. I am merely expressing my own preferences. I never said ALL old films are good or ALL new films are bad. I generally prefer not to bother seeing newer films involving firearms or medicine-my hobby and my job. I find them generally not believable. I also avoid remakes. I look for films old and new where the plot or a fresh approach to a plot is the main selling point. I find that selling point is less common in newer action films than in old. Of the newer stuff some of the emotional thrillers, romances, and some sci-fi are enjoyable to me. Sci-fi almost by definition is dated.
But I save my real hatred, loathing, and contempt for the stuff my wife likes: CSI, NCIS, Numbers, and Bones (although at least fingers are usually off triggers). Usually have to go watch Military Channel when those are on to purge my soul. But like any great spouse, we have learned to be content to agree to disagree.
September 15, 2009, 11:06 PM
James Coburn's character in "The Magnificent Seven" ,in the classic showdown, pulls and throws his knife killing his adversary before said adversary can clear leather. All because of a bet to prove he COULD do it.
September 16, 2009, 12:27 AM
Whether killing a dragon single handed with a sword, out drawing 5 bad guys before they can clear leather, or hand to hand against 20 huge guys, it is all the same. I still enjoy movies even though I over analyze them.
September 16, 2009, 10:53 AM
Not a good way to fight, but it is pretty fun. I taught myself the rudiments of knife throwing when I was a kid, and there is something fun and satisfying about sticking a knife in a tree or whatever.
September 16, 2009, 12:56 PM
Sniper5, I agree completely. And also can't stand watching any film with guns and knives in it since The Matrix, which really screwed it up permantly. Before that there was the Rambo series and other's where throwing knives and impossible shots after a string of easy misses were the norm. Shoot, when I sit and watch any action film these days all i am doing is commenting on how much BS it is that every one cocks their weapon ever time the round a corner or whatever and about how someone can miss 200 easy shots in a over long firefight and then pull off some incredible impossible shot at the end as they are almost passed out of something.
September 16, 2009, 12:58 PM
Bear in mind when asking yourself whether something can be done.
The answer is usually yes.
Somewhere, there is some human with a completely mutated knife-throwing gene, I've seen a guy hit six steel plates in a blink. I've seen a guy hit a throw asprin with a bow and arrow. That dude with the slingshot was able to make trees fall whichever way he wanted to.
Somewhere, someone can do it.
September 16, 2009, 02:17 PM
True, but most of us mortals can;t do those things. It's like acrobats in Circ, they aren't normal and can do stuff with their body that normal humans can't
September 16, 2009, 02:35 PM
I dont watch movies much anymore. The books are usually better.
Stupidest throw I ever saw was in "The Green Berets". ( another pet peeve, they are not green berets, that is the cover they wear, the are Special forces. But I digress)
Kowalski has the point and commences to get a scrappin with a VC. Why neither one of them shot I dont know. Anyway Kowalski kills the VC by nailing him on a tree limb. A second VC appears and he thows this huge bowie and nails the VC in the chest.
Since this is NFW I wont recount all the weapon errors.
Also did anyone else notice at the end the sun settting over the ocean.
Last time I checked the sun went down in the west not the east.
September 16, 2009, 02:41 PM
Oh? You refer to "Mortals" Don't count for those of us who ain't:D Re: Knife throwing as our respectable Dr. Tad intended this thread to address. i have seen alot of weird doo doo in my years in the Service but I never saw anyone throw a knife like they do in the movies. Witnessed a trooper throw an e-tool right through a lister bag that I had just spent an hour purifying so's we could drink it without contracting Giardia or other tropical nasties. Last thing he threw when Top got aholt of him. At Rendezvous we have hawk and knife throwing but it is at known distances. Some fellers throwing there a pretty good. And they practice a lot! Anyways that's my 2 cents worth.
Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
September 16, 2009, 03:42 PM
Well, but lookit, this detracts from an otherwise very good movie, in my view. The movie (Gangs of New York) features an outstanding character known as The Butcher (acted superbly by Daniel Day Lewis), and the things he can do with his knives in hand are quite believable - even the things he does with the throwing knives on stage in a performance, as is depicted in the film is believable, as these are practiced things at known distances. He even kills a guy with a thrown hatchet, which is somewhat believable since it's a scene where he could have planned his spot to stand in, relative to the victim beforehand, and it's a close distance (only one spin of the axe). But then it just makes for a stupid scene when the knife is thrown impromptu in the blink of an eye at the good guy (Leo DiCaprio), for an easy direct stick, which was described by the Butcher as an intential wounding (intentionally not meant to kill).
September 16, 2009, 05:34 PM
Well I don't know Dr. Tad, Gangs of New York was a great movie, dirty, gritty, realisticly blunt and ugly face forward. If you think back in those days, immigrants probably did not have access to firearms as we do today, and probably not alot of civilian firearms either. So the obvious point they were making was that knife culture was the predominant thing whether is was self defense, gangs, carry, etc. So assuming that knives were the big and only thing, it stands to chance that many individuals became very proficent and quick with them. We see the rare knife expert do some pretty amazing feats now a days, but rarely considering knife culture is not as big as it was. Just think about today in our very predominate gun community, alot of people are very good and even more are better and faster than normal. The average guy can learn how to shoot 1000 yards with lots of practice, speed shooting or even 3 gun matchs and IDPA marksmen can seem inhumanly fast and accurate to alot of people, so I say it stands to chance that the "Butcher" was a blade guru. I mean he was the boss.
September 16, 2009, 07:58 PM
Pandabear brings up some very good points. We don't rely on knives for our only means of self defense. I suppose that when people were forced by circumstances such as not having any other means of self defense and a hostile and alien environment, they would become pretty adept at using tools that we today would find astonishing. Take for example a lot of forum contributors talk of when they were young having to rely on their adeptness with a .22 to help fill the larder at home. Not many kids today are forced by circumstances to be accomplished rabbit hunters. OK, I've babbled enough. I had minor surgery this morning and the pain medication they gave me is loosening my tongue. You guys make this lying still very bearable. I love reading your wit and wisdom. Thanks:D
September 16, 2009, 08:03 PM
Get better quick, Messerist
September 17, 2009, 05:57 AM
Bikerdoc! Where you been? What has happened to Mokwepa? Hope he's not lion poop. I have some work on the table and hope to get back to it this weekend. Thanks for your concern:)
September 17, 2009, 06:21 AM
I have some work on the table and hope to get back to it this weekend.
So do I, Have 5 started,one almost done. None of which are thowing knives. (wink)
September 17, 2009, 08:45 PM
Let's keep the focus where it's supposed to be here, on the tool, NOT on movies.
I have only known two people who were fairly reliably dangerous with thrown bladed weapons. One has been been featured on the cover of numerous Black Belt Magazines, and the other is on staff here (but I'm certain he's no longer that capable).
The time it takes to become reliably dangerous with a throwing knife is better served in getting better with almost anything else. I think it's a great idea to be versatile with your tools, but why (for instance) practice using a handgun as an impact device when you still have a 3 second presentation time from concealment? Priorities.
September 17, 2009, 08:58 PM
Seems incredibly stupid to me. Hitting stuff is HARD with a SPINNING knife, which can only get a direct hit if facing ONE out of 360 different degrees (or at most, 5-10 out of 360).
Just to clear things up a bit, A properly thrown knife does not spin into the target, It should do 1 flip, 180 degrees, and then fly like a short spear.
My "Kabar combat knife" will stick in just about anything I throw it at, (at least out to about 20 feet, the farthest I have tried, I also have several other hunting knives that perform well, along with a jap. bayonet that hits about 60% of the time.
September 18, 2009, 01:55 AM
As a secondary note to this post, The Green Berets was shot at Ft Benning, I was there and worked for the Post Sgt Major after I got thrown out of OCS. If you want to learn to throw a knife, throw underhand. Release point determines length of rotation. Underhand throw is far more controllable, think of softball slowpitch. If you are going to throw overhand, get a good belt axe (Gransfor Bruk?) and learn to carry and throw from a sheath over your strong side shoulder. Like shooting guns/pool or golf all it takes is practice. Oh yeah, old source for knife throw read the Saga Of Andy Burnett in original.
September 18, 2009, 09:54 AM
I messed with throwing knives for a while, forged a few experiments. Finally came up with one I can stick 75% or better in plywood, at any range I can hit at (not far, LOL). Granted, this one's a cheater, and pretty useless unless you throw it, but it's a bunch of fun....
Wait a minute, is it a throwing knife or a 2 blade star? I dunno. :confused:
It has been a pretty good proof of my HT for 5160 blades, as it has rebounded, ringing loudly, from many a rock and the odd concrete wall and floor (I really shouldn't throw it in the basement!:uhoh:), and taken no more than a minor ding or 2....
For the record, forged from the front coil spring of a Toyota Corrola I found upside down in the woods a couple klicks from home...
September 18, 2009, 11:53 AM
I work With a Mad French toolmaker who spends ALL day making knives (not his job). I've seen him throw Knives Hundreds of times and He is a freak of nature. the accuracy, power and skill with which he throws is amazing
September 19, 2009, 12:35 AM
The comment about underhand throwing is dead on. A knife held point-first on the palm can be thrown for short distances without rotation. Obviously not something you could do in a hurry in the middle of a fight, though.
I see the thrown knife as a distraction, to either let you get closer or get away. A pound or so of pointy steel flying at someone tends to get their attention.
Love that "two point star"! Is that your own work?
September 19, 2009, 01:36 AM
I got pretty good with throwing a Hatchet I had when I was a kid/early teenager...instinctive distance judgments and adjustment to regulate it comes after a while, far as throwing to stick in the Target.
Never tried Knives...
September 19, 2009, 03:48 AM
when I was younger (8 or 9) my granparents gave me a $10 hunting knife they bought at a flea market. I painted a silhouette on the fence and spent around 3 hours a day every day throwing that knife at that silhouette. I never got very good, but I could get about 4 out of 10 to hit the silhouette and stick. I got alot more hits than that, but not on the target and definitely not hard enough to do more than cut someone. I recently bought a $2 folder and threw it at a tree about 8 feet away. The first time I had done it in 10 years and it stuck. Of course it was luck, cause I tried the rest of the day and was only able to get one more to stick for about 2 seconds before it slipped out.
September 19, 2009, 03:36 PM
I'd like to see what kind of penetration most people would get throwing a knife at a person wearing winter clothes. I wonder how bad the wound would be? Would it be a fight stopper? How much force does a thrown knife have, or for that matter need to acheive effective penetration?
September 19, 2009, 04:15 PM
Well while I can't speak for winter clothes, I used a cardboard box from a car radiator, I filled it with cardboard sheets the size of the inside of the box, I could gererally get an average of about 2 inches with the Kabar, If I put more a$$ behind the throw I could bury it to the hilt from about 10 feet.
September 19, 2009, 07:12 PM
Many years ago, when I was still young and unpardonably stupid, I was fresh back from overseas with the USAF, camping at the Grand Canyon with my family, and had with me a pair of excellent Gerber hunting knives, a Shorty and a Mini Magnum, that I'd picked up on base while at Ramstein AFB.
I had been practicing with cardboard targets. The Mini Magnum was a little smaller than the Shorty, and though the balance was abysmal for throwing, I had found a way to use that imbalance to calibrate a fairly reliable throw. I was getting four out of five to stick.
This gave me just enough confidence to show off my new-found "skill" (and my entrenched foolishness) by throwing the knife at a pine tree.
It stuck the first time. Impressive penetration. A perfect throw. Snapped off the first inch of the blade.
I remember the feeling as my stomach fell through my feet.
I worked the end of that knife, gently, with a file for days, gradually re-profiling the tip until it looked like it had been made that way. Got a very serviceable edge on it. It looked like a totally normal kitchen utility knife with an extra heavy handle. I couldn't bear to carry it after that. Gave it to my mom for the kitchen. She loved it.
It taught me something about the characteristics of thin tool steel (as the Gerbers used back then).
It also cured me of throwing knives.
September 19, 2009, 07:34 PM
Claymore1500: Whoa! That's plenty of penetration. I'd hate to get hit in the face with that.
September 19, 2009, 10:48 PM
I just made this account to answer something on another post... But I find myself liking this forum a lot. My dad was always pretty good at throwing knives. When I was young, he showed me how to throw it so it makes exactly a half turn before striking the target. I practiced with my belt knife for years, and finally, I got the point where I could throw it accurately and start judging and guessing at distances.
I don't think I would get much penetration throwing it into a person though, especially through winter clothes. I found it's much harder to control the throw the more force you put behind it. However, my dad taught me right: Never throw away your last weapon in a fight.
September 20, 2009, 11:06 AM
The only knives I have thrown were at a ren faire. I could stick it every time... but the blade was extremely heavy and thick. My tomahawk on the other hand I could stick every time, under or over hand, from any distance between 5 an 20 ft. At 10 ft, I could nick a playing card every time, and sink it 1/2 -1 1/2 inches into a huge round cut from a tree. I was never that accurate with the knives. I do have a friend that has some knives that he will stick 3 out 4 times... as deep as you want in cardboard. The come straight from the ear, and I still haven't figured out when he puts the knife in his hand. He just raises his hand and the knife appears.
September 20, 2009, 11:02 PM
A better distraction "weapon" in a lot of places might be a handful of coins. Totally legal everywhere, but a quick underhand toss could send a coupla' dozen shiny disks flying right at somebody's face, giving you that second or two to start to run. They might even pause to pick up a coin or two.
Not to say that a thrown knife wouldn't work: I'm sure it can. I can't legally carry a throwing knife in Texas, though, and most knives that I can carry legally aren't very well suited for throwing. I can, however, carry some coins in a coat pocket with perfect legality.
I prefer solutions where no one gets hurt. Avoidance works and has worked for me many times. A show of force (and willingness to use it), and a fast retreat have worked for me, also. Distraction and escape can work, too.
September 21, 2009, 01:31 AM
I know a guy who makes his own knives/hatchets/spears and is also a very good thrower. He has won several competitions, but I have never asked him if he could hit a moving target on the fly. I am betting he could, but I don't know if he could do it on demand every time, especially under life and death stress. I think I will ask him about that.
September 21, 2009, 02:52 AM
Every time the knife is thrown! Someone dies!
That's the coolest part... it sticks in the heart and they DIE! or in the forehead, right in their brain! AND THEY DIE!
I say, "Evil."
Killing another human being is not something to be taken lightly and we get to watch it A LOT.
I don't understand that nor do I like it.
On the OP's post... yeah dude, not reality.
September 21, 2009, 11:19 AM
What I get even more offended by is the movie physics: Like when a thrown knife from 20+ feet away sends a guy flying backwards from the impact. Seriously? An (at most) quarter to half kilogram knife knocking a 70 kilo thug back 5-10 feet? I outta find the director's physics teacher and konk him one.
Without repeating my earlier Emergency Room commentary on the poor "stopping power" of deep puncture wounds in the torso, it's entirely possible for said thug to pull the knife out of himself and say "Thanks, I needed something to stab you with."
September 21, 2009, 01:59 PM
That double-bladed S-shaped knife I posted earlier... I throw it at 5/8" plywood, and generally penetrate about 1/2" with a spirited toss. It's got quite fine points, though.
It'd hurt, but in the end, is more distraction than anything. Not a good weapon, IMHO. Just a plaything.
September 21, 2009, 05:47 PM
The other weekend my 15 year old was out in the back lot fooling with a couple Harbor Freight machetes. It took him an hour or so to get to where he could stick them in a cedar tree trunk from a known distance 50-75% of the time. Then the handles broke off:rolleyes:. Anyway, I thought it was looking pretty good, and it kept him busy for a while.
September 28, 2009, 08:22 AM
It isn't so much that throwing knives at the bad guy is wasteful of a good knife, nor is it that it requires lots of practice to achieve, nor is it that they always seem to hit the target...although however irksome the above are the fact that the bad guy dies instantly is sheer and utter stupidity!
Another one is the instant knockout drug injected from a dart! Pure and utter Hollywood like the two gun firing, jumping over parked cars, hero!
Throwing knives and hawks is fun...we do it all the time at rendezvous, even won some events but if it's the last defensive item I have I'd much rather "beat feet" as the expression goes...
October 1, 2009, 12:36 PM
People, this is why ninja stars were invented.
It's like none of you watch ninja movies!
October 2, 2009, 12:31 PM
Depends on knife size, distance, half or whole spin handle /blade, how up on the blade or handle you hold. I can hit a 4x4 square at about 15 ft. Would I throw it? Probably not, to be honest I won't knife fight unless trapped or you run my a$$ down. But My father taught me how to throw with an M1 bayonet. And taught the logistic. Paratrooper in the 40's and early 50's. he thought it important. As we say today another tool in a tool box.
October 2, 2009, 12:48 PM
A slung rock will go 100 yards, 200 yards, if you time it right. This will outdistance a thrown knife any day, every day. And it will kill when it hits.
I have seen lots of historic bows and arrows, spears, and sling rocks. But I cannot recall any serious stone age/bronze age/iron age military throwing knives.
A thrown knife must have been a battlefield failure.
There have been wierd examples of four bladed "knives", and double bladed "knives".
I don't consider those knives, but it is a matter of opinion.
October 2, 2009, 07:52 PM
Blindhari, my dad told me the same thing. I think it alloys for less training but I could never master it. But I don,t advocate throwing knives just as I don't plan zippering someone 6 or 7 times with my AR 2. But I can do both and I continue to learn. I wasted too much time in SD physical. Instead it should have been mental prep and then maybe top ten type attacks along with trying to talk your way out of it without disgrace on either side. Sticks and cane use,( I carried a 3Dcell Mag). Knife throwing would be way down the list for me.
October 3, 2009, 12:03 AM
I have been throwing for fun at least 20+ years and am quite good at it. That being said -- I would ONLY throw a knife in "combat" if I had a 2nd knife and the "guy" had his back to me !!!
To get "good" , I learned to throw at wadded up newspaper on a semi-windy day --- every time the paper hits the ground , it lands at a different distance and you learn to "guesstamate" when to release the knife.
IMHO --- "underhand throwing" is nowhere near as accurate or powerfull as a overhand throw.
October 3, 2009, 12:49 AM
Ever play chicken gunfighter?
October 3, 2009, 01:02 AM
Ever play chicken gunfighter?
You bet I did and still have a scar to prove it !!! Only problem with playing "chicken" is IF YOU ARE THE BETTER THROWER !!! LOL
Also played "stretch" and was the King of Mumbley Peg !!!
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