How to Throw a Knife Without Spin
Okay, I am sure you have seen a lot of knife-throwing articles on this website (and others like it), but let me assure you that this one will be different. The fact is, anyone can throw a knife, but most people have terrible technique and thus get very inconsistent results.
I have a unique throwing method that I came up with myself, which causes the knife to fly straight rather than flipping end-for-end like most knife-throwing techniques. There are numerous no-spin throwing techniques out there, but I like mine the best.
Before I go any further, I should mention that although I did come up with this throw on my own, I have seen a few people who use similar (but not identical) throws. The laws of physics don't change from one person to another, so I am quite sure I am not the first person in history to throw a knife this way. I call it my technique because I came up with it through trial and error without being taught or shown by anyone. Years later, when I began to study a martial art called Taijutsu, I found that one of their hand strike techniques was almost identical to my knife throw.
Before we begin, you need to know that there are many techniques of knife-throwing, but they can be separated into two categories: Spin and No-Spin.
A spinning throw is one in which the knife flips end-over-end, landing (hopefully) point-first in the target. Here is a picture of such a throw:
Notice that he was holding it by the tip of the blade, and it is now flipping over as it flies. This is by far the most common way to throw a knife. It can give good results from impressive distances, but it requires very precise measurement of distance. You have to know exactly how many strides (big steps) away from the target you are.
The rule of thumb is that the knife will flip one time for each stride. So, if you are right up close to the target, you throw by the handle. If you are one strides away, you throw by the tip like the guy in the picture. At two strides, you hold it by the handle again, like the guy in the picture below, and at three strides you hold it by the tip again, and so on.
Here is a better illustration of this technique:
Here is my big problem with it: If you ever have to throw a knife for self-defense reasons, you will probably not have time to accurately gauge the distance. If you are wrong, which you probably will be, you will end up hitting with the butt of the handle, or the knife will just slap flat against the target. This would still hurt an attacker but probably wouldn't do enough damage to end the threat. To me, this technique is like a rubberneck showpony. It can be good for showing off but useless for any real purpose. I really do not like this throw and I never have, hence why I was motivated to find a better way.
Yes, I know most people consider throwing knives to be impractical for self-defense, but I do not agree. I know of very few people who would continue attacking with a knife or several stuck in them. Just make sure you never throw away your last one, though!
Anyway, a no-spin knife throw is one that makes the knife fly without turning end-for-end. There are many such techniques, but I only use one of them so I will only show one of them. Here is a video of my technique:
The distance you see me throwing at here is almost the maximum distance I can hit from. If this is disappointing to you, then you should remember that this is not a long-range weapon. A throwing knife never is, at least not if you expect to hit anything with it. As you can see, the knife never spins end-for-end. It flies point-first the whole way.
I feel that my throw is superior to the standard end-for-end throw because the technique is the same regardless of distance. The end-for-end throw can have better distance (if you're REALLY skilled with it), but as I said, it is useless without precise knowledge of how far away you are, and if you ever actually have to use this thing for defense, you probably won't have time to measure and won't be throwing from a known distance like the people you see in a knife-throwing competition.
With that introduction out of the way, let's get down to slingin' some blades.
This technique requires a single-edged throwing knife. By "throwing knife" I mean a knife that is balanced for throwing. There are all kinds of knives out there, so let me tell you which ones will work with my technique and which ones will not.
Let's begin with the knives that will work. This is my favorite kind of throwing knife right here.
Simple, single-edged, with a hole in the handle (in my next article, I will show you a cool trick you can do with that hole). For this technique, I recommend a knife of roughly this shape.
More importantly, it must be balanced. To check the balance of your knife you must find the balance point. To do this, just find the spot where you can balance it on one finger.
The balance point should be right about here, about a half-inch behind where the handle and blade meet. So, since this knife is single-edged, well-balanced, and straight-bladed, it will work with my technique.
Here is a knife that isn't meant for throwing, but works very well with my method.
As you can see, the balance point is right where the other one was, just a tiny bit behind the hilt (the place where blade and handle meet).
AK bayonets and tactical folders will also work well.
Of course, they must be properly balanced. The balance point on this one is a little farther back than I like but it still works.
My method works perfectly for throwing screwdrivers as well.
The proper balance point of a screwdriver is different than that of a knife. It should be right where the handle and shaft meet, like this one.
Almost any straight, single-edged kitchen knife will also work for this technique, provided the balance point is at least near the right spot. I have found that most kitchen knives are actually balanced right for this.
Now let's look at the knives that won't work for this. Throwing knives that are double-edged, like this one, are no good for my method.
As you can see in the picture, the balance point of this knife is too far forward. For some techniques this would be fine, but not for mine.
This one wouldn't work either.
As you can see, the balance point is right on the hilt, which is incorrect for this technique.
A curved knife, like this one, is also no good, regardless of balance.
Even though this one is only slightly curved, it is still no good for what we're doing today. You could turn it backward and throw it my way.
But it won't fly as far as normal, or as straight as normal, and you risk cutting your finger if it slips. I don't recommend you try it.
Here is a Balisong, sometimes called a "Butterfly Knife". These are straight-bladed and usually single-edged, but as you can see, they are not balanced for throwing, at least not my kind.
So, in summation, your knife must be single-edged, straight-bladed, and properly balanced. If you want to modify the balance point of a knife you could always take a grinder to the heavier end and keep checking the balance til it's right. depending on the design of the knife, though, it may not be possible without grinding off too much.
The proper grip for this throw is shown here.
Hold it loosely between the thumb and middle finger, with your index finger on the unsharpened back of the blade (this is why you can't use a double-edged knife). The ring and little fingers barely touch at all.
In some of the knife pictures in Step 1, you can see me using this grip. Scroll back up to Step 1 (right now!) and look back over the pictures. Note the pictures where I am using correct grip and those where I am not. You can know by comparing them to the picture in this step.
Okay, this is where it gets a little harder. As mentioned earlier, my knife-throwing technique is somewhat similar to a Taijutsu outside Shuto strike (look it up if you don't know what it is). The movement of the arm and the footwork are almost exactly the same. Start in this position.
Now bring your knife hand up like you're gonna wipe sweat off your forehead.
Begin to turn your hand palm-up as you come around in a small circle over your head.
And down at a 45-degree angle as you continue the turn of the palm.
When the palm is up and at 45-degrees, you release.
You basically whip your arm around and then let the knife slide out, using your index finger as a guide on the back of the blade.
Here is a video that shows it all at once:
Practice this hand motion a few times until it feels natural. It probably won't at first. Once you are comfortable with this, you will be ready to learn the footwork.
This throw requires a certain kind of footwork. If your hands are right but your feet are not, the throw will not work to its maximum potential.
So, let's get started. When you start, your feet should be about like this.
Left foot forward, right foot back at a diagonal angle.
You can't see it in this picture, but the knife is in my right hand. If you throw with your left, you would put your right foot forward and your left leg back at a diagonal angle. Most of the weight is on the back leg.
As you whip the knife over your head, your back foot steps forward like so. Notice that in this picture, the foot has not landed yet.
As the foot lands, the other foot sweeps backward in a circular motion.
The above picture shows the way your feet should look as you release the knife.
Here is a video that shows it all together:
That footsweep at the end is not always quite that big. It can be, but doesn't need to be. I did it with a big sweep in the video so that you could see it better.
At this point, you already know all that you need to know. You just have to put it all together. You must take the hand motions and the footwork and make them work smoothly as one. This will probably not be accomplished quickly or easily, so be ready for a little frustration here. I recommend trying it lots of times without throwing the knife before you actually try to throw. This is because, if the feet and hands are not coordinated, the technique will not work. The whole body must work as one.
Go back to the introduction and again watch the video of me throwing the knife into the target. Watch the videos that show the dry runs and work at duplicating those movements. Then finally, when the motion of it feels natural and comfortable, try your hand at throwing this way. I strongly recommend that you begin at a distance of 3-4 feet. Once you get consistently good results at that distance, move back a little. Once you can hit CONSISTENTLY at that distance, move back a little farther, and so on until you reach a distance you are happy with.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, "Aren't there easier ways?"
The answer to your question is "Yes...but most of them suck." Also, this throw, when done correctly, has an immense amount of penetrating power because of the way the knife spirals. As it flies toward the target point-first, the knife will spiral a bit, much like the way a drill turns. Not only does this provide spin-stabilization for maximum accuracy, it gives the knife a powerful drilling action for maximum penetration.
If you are one of those who have the patience to learn this, feel free to email or comment if you have any questions or require any extra help.
Until next time, I will leave you with a list of safety rules that you must ALWAYS FOLLOW when throwing knives:
- Make sure all living things are standing behind you before you throw. I don't care if they are off to the side or what...if they are anywhere but behind you, DON'T THROW!!!
- Don't let just anyone come along and throw with you. They might hurt themselves or you, or someone you care about. Only throw knives with people you know to be responsible adults.
- Make sure your target is strong enough that the knife won't simply go through it. I recommend this method for making a target: Take a stack of flattened boxes, tape them all together, and then stand it up against a big tree or maybe a telephone pole.
- When throwing, always be conscious of what is behind the target, because this is what you will hit if you miss the target. For instance, don't throw at a telephone pole if it's right next to the road! You might miss and hit a car, or maybe even somebody in it! Of course, if anything living is behind the target, DON'T THROW until it moves behind you! In short, make sure that you are not going to hit anything living or valuable even if you miss.
That's all folks. Have fun slinging blades!