What is Knife Throwing?

knife throwing

While knife throwing is considered a hobby and a form of entertainment, it is also a competitive sport that has attracted a loyal base of fans and participants around the world. The object of the sport is to throw knives at a target with enough force and accuracy that it sticks to the target. Although knife throwing hasn’t yet taken hold as a mainstream sport, there are a variety of knife throwing clubs that hold competitions. 


It is impossible to determine when exactly people started throwing knives, but the origins of the sport can be traced back to the days of early humankind when throwing sticks were used to hunt animals. It wasn’t until the 1800s that knife throwing became widely recognized as a form of recreation and entertainment through performances at circuses and Wild West shows. Today, groups like the American Knife Throwers Alliance and the International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame conduct knife throwing competitions each year.

Playing Surface

Knife Throwing Playing Surface

The most suitable playing surfaces for knife throwing competitions are outdoor environments with at least 30 feet of space in all directions. It is best to throw knives on short grass or soft dirt so that the knives won’t take any damage if they fall to the ground instead of striking the target. And of course, the area should be secured so that people or pets do not accidentally get in the way of an airborne knife.

Knife Throwing Equipment

Knife Throwing Equipment

Like any sport, having the proper equipment makes a world of difference. Of course, knife throwing is no different. Having a purpose-built throwing knife and a specially constructed target is essential.

Here is the essential knife throwing equipment you should have:

  • Throwing Knife: well-balanced knife between 12 and 15 inches long and between 12 and 20 ounces
  • Target: wooden plank target, ideally made of soft wood such as pine with the grain running vertically to permit easier sticking


Like sports such as darts and archery, the goal in knife throwing is to hit a target. Therefore, precision and accuracy are key traits to possess as a knife thrower. Knife throwing competitions usually include a variety of events such as walk-back precision throwing, single distance precision, long-distance, sports silhouette throwing, dual-cup, and no-spin knife throwing. These events allow knife throwers to test their skills from a range of throwing distances and experiment with a variety of styles and formats.

Rules and Regulations

Knife Throwing Rules and Regulations

Although there is no universally accepted set of rules for knife throwing, organizations such as the American Knife Throwers Alliance (AKTA) try to set standards for the sport. The following rules are set in place by AKTA.

Here are the most important Knife Throwing rules you should know:

  • Knives must be between 9 inches and 16 inches in length
  • Each target should be 16 inches in diameter with a 4 inch diameter bullseye 
  • There are 4 distances that knives are thrown from, including 7 feet, 10 feet, 13 feet, and 16 feet


Here are the most important knife throwing techniques you should know:

  • Stance: Stand up straight with the dominant foot placed slightly in front of the other foot. 
  • Grip: A balanced knife can be gripped either by the handle or the blade. An unbalanced knife should be held by the lightest end.
  • Throwing: There are several techniques to throw a knife, including the no-spin, the half-spin, and the full-spin. The thrower’s distance from the target determines how many rotations the knife will complete.


Knife Throwing Lingo

Here is the common lingo and slang in Knife Throwing:

  • Bullseye: The sought after red circle in the middle of the target.
  • Full-spin: When the knife performs a full rotation between leaving the thrower’s hand and reaching the target.
  • Half-spin: The most popular knife throwing technique. The knife performs a half rotation between leaving the thrower’s hand and reaching the target.
  • Rotation: The spinning motion the knife makes before hitting the target.
  • Sticking: Successfully embedding a knife in the target.

Knife Throwers

knife throwers

Here are the most famous Knife Throwers you should know:

  • David Adamovich: Known as “The Great Throwdini”, Adamovich has become wildly famous in the knife throwing community for breaking various world records for speed and accuracy in knife throwing.
  • Jack Dagger: Along with being a skilled performer, Dagger has won several World Championships and various other competitions.
  • Melody Joy and TJ Cuenca: Known as The Quicksilvers, this married couple have become famous for their expert-level knife throwing abilities.


Here are the most popular knife throwing leagues you should know:

  • American Knife Throwers Alliance (AKTA): Association of American and international sportsmen dedicated to the practice of knife throwing as a sport, recreation, and hobby.
  • UK Knife, Axe & Tomahawk Throwing Association (KATTA): Umbrella association of various knife throwing clubs in the United Kingdom.
  • Eurothrowers: Unites knife throwers and axe throwers across Europe, with the core event being the World Championship held in a different country each year.


Knife Throwing Events and Competitions

Events vary between the different knife throwing associations, but the following events are commonly held by Eurothrowers.

Here are the most popular events in Knife Throwing:

  • Walk-back precision throwing: Competitors take turns throwing from five distance markers (3m, 4m, 5m, 6m, and 7m).
  • Single distance precision: Competitors throw from a single distance (either 3m, 5m, or 7m depending on the event).
  • Sports Silhouette Throwing: Throwers aim at a target with two large red dots surrounded by 15 numbered smaller black dots. Standing 3m away from the target, the thrower’s goal is to hit the smaller black dots in numerical order.


What is the biggest knife throwing competition?

Organized by Eurothrowers, the “Big Throwers Meeting / World and European Championship” is recognized as one of the central annual competitions for knife throwers across Europe and around the world. The event is held in a different country each year and is considered the World Championship of knife throwing.

What are the best throwing knives for beginners?

If you’re just starting out with knife throwing, you’ll want something that’ll easily stick in the target. That means your knife should be the right weight, well-balanced, and also a good length. The following knives are great for beginners to the sport: