Throwing sharp objects has been a huge hit at our summer camp as well as the Youth Marksmanship Camp. After teaching thousands of campers over the past 8 years I’ve been able to narrow down instructions easy enough for a 6 year old to follow.
As with anything sharp and pointy – we must be safe. Spectators stay behind a large line several feet behind the throwers. The throwers themselves stand directly in line with the targets and don’t head downrange until the instructor calls “Fetching!” We use the term “fetching” because “no”, “throw”, and “go” can all sound alike.
We have found the Cold Steel Norse Tomahawk to be one of the best throwers due to its low weight and large head. We modify ours slightly by putting the head in a vice and driving the handle all the way to the top of the head. Afterwards we cut the handle down to 18″ below the head. This makes the head nice and snug and the handle short enough to manage. The American hickory handles hold up very well and as long as you don’t chop a handle with another axe we rarely have to replace them.
The throwing shovels are a different story – they are much weaker and you should keep spare handles on hand.
You can find everything we used as well as the throwing knives and even blowguns on Amazon: http://bit.ly/ColdSteelGear
Our throwing line is 13′ from the target area. It’s important to keep this consistent because everything revolves around consistent form and consistent distance. With your hand placed at the bottom of the handle you begin your throw by leaning your body toward the target and driving, or stabbing, the tomahawk towards the target. Then rocking your body back bring the hawk over your head keeping the hawk and arm inline with the target. Shoving off with the toes of your right foot begin to swing the hawk towards the target allowing it to slide out of your hand when it’s pointing at the target once more. Continue follow through with your throw after your release. If you are too close the handle will be towards the ground. A tomahawk handle point upwards means you are too far and it over rotated.
As long as you keep consistent form, release, and distance you will get the tomahawk to stick every time. Then you can work on accuracy.
As shown in the video shovels are roughly the same with an emphasis on locking your wrist and ensuring you release at the correct time.
Throwing weapons can be an excellent hobby and entertaining social event as well. The best targets are cut “tree cookie” sections. But in a pinch you can fabricate your own target with enough lumber, wood glue, and all-thread.
Be safe, throw straight, and have fun!