How to Throw a Tomahawk

Are you having trouble trying to get your tomahawk to stick? Don’t worry because with the right guidance anyone can learn how to throw a tomahawk. For centuries Mountain Men and Native Americans have used tomahawks and axes for hunting, chopping wood and for protection but now we also use them for recreational fun. With the skills you will learn you can learn to throw anything from an axe, tomahawk, or even a hatchet.

How to Throw a Tomahawk?

Throwing a tomahawk to a target in front might seem a fun activity; however, it has to be done in a manner that does not make your throw dangerous to anyone. Follow the three-stage process below to make your throws perfect:

Stage 1: Getting Started

  • The first step is to get yourself a proper throwing tomahawk, ideally a light weight one, as it would make your throw smoother.
  • Next, arrange for a 4-6 inches thick dead chunks of wood for the tomahawk to stick into, mounted on a stand. Affix your aim (card, drawn circles or line, etc.) on the front of that wood.

Stage 2: Body Position and Gripping the Tomahawk

  • Body stance: The key to a successful throw is the position of your body. Keep your stance upright with feet shoulder-width apart and comfortable. Your arms should be loose and comfortable as there is no need to put excess amount of stress on your body.
  • Holding the tomahawk correctly will determine how good or bad a throw would be. Hold the tomahawk with your stronger hand with the handle pointing straight at your body coupled with a strong grip of handle like a formal business handshake. Your thumb needs to be wrapped around the handle, as one does it while holding a hammer. When I first started, I used to keep my thumb constantly on the back, like holding a knife, because this was the natural position that came to me. However, I was quick to realize that it greatly affected my throw.

Stage 3: Throwing the Tomahawk

  • Distance to target: Usually, the distance to target is ‘five steps’ as any distance closer or farther than five steps would cause your throw to get too little or too more of the revolutions you would want. You can draw a line to set your final standing point so you can consistently throw from one point.
HEIGHT OF THROWER TOMAHAWK LENGTH ESTIMATED DISTANCE TO TARGET (ONE ROTATION)
5’5″ & below 16″ Hawks 5-6 paces
5’5″ to 5’10” 19″ Hawks 5-6 paces
5’10” & above 21-22″ Hawks 5-6 paces
  • Final positioning of your hand: When you are about to release the tomahawk, bring it up in a slow, straight and controlled manner. Your arms need to be very straight with a firm grip on the tomahawk. Your elbow should flex just slightly just when you reach the apex before you actually start bringing forward the tomahawk.

Always remember that the throw has nothing to do with the wrist and I can only request you to trust me because of the severe wrist pain I had to endure when I first tried to throw the tomahawk using my wrist power and movement.

  • Release point: The most important stage of a successful throw is where you release the tomahawk, called the release point. This is extremely critical to your throw as a fraction delay in throwing would case your tomahawk to spin into ground whereas releasing a touch early will send your tomahawk too high. The ideal release point is where you can see the middle of the handle in the top right corner of your vision. This is the part where it took me the greatest amount of time to excel, so be patient and keep trying.
  • Follow-through: The last step to complete a successful throw is the follow through of your hand and body. All you need to do is complete the motion of your arm back down to your side, rather than making your arm come to a halt abruptly.

Problems throwing your tomahawk

If you see that after a few tries you cannot get the tomahawk to stick then you might be having the distance wrong. There are mainly two reasons for this.It could be that the axe could be under rotating. Step back a little bit if it is under-rotating and step forward if it is over-rotating. The axe could be over-rotating because you might me be using a shorter handle tomahawk. Shorter handles take less time to complete a revolution. If you have a shorter handle then start a little closer to your target. This why the size of your handle determines the proper distance from your target that you should be. Don’t worry if you miss it a few times in the start because it will take time for your to find the proper distance for throwing your tomahawk. With a little luck and practice you will be able to stick it every time like a pro.

Fun ways to throw your tomahawk

As you get more advanced then why not try something more interesting.These moves are not for beginners but it is still fun to try them out so here we go.

Upside down Throw

This one is quite what the name implies.Unlike when throwing a normal tomahawk where the handle faces downwards,in the upside down throw the handle faces upwards instead of downwards.Follow steps 1 and 2 from the above steps.The difference is in how you hold the tomahawk.Instead of holding the tomahawk with the blade facing frontwards make the blade face backwards and throw a little harder.After some practice you will be able to master this move.

Long Throw

This throw requires a lot more strength and force  when compared to throwing a tomahawk with the goal of completing one revolution.The goal of this throw is to make the tomahawk complete two revolutions before hitting the target.Instead of stepping 6 paces away from the target go a little further back to about 10 paces and throw from there.From there onwards it is about practice and adjusting your distance from the target.

Safety

Throwing a huge stick with a handle attached to can definitely be fun but you still need to do it safely.When you are practicing there will definitely be times when you miss the target so you want to make sure that there is not one in the background that could get injured.A tomahawk is not a toy so be safe.

Conclusion

The key to throwing tomahawk is throwing it consistently and judging your distance correctly so that you know how much spin would it make before it hits the target. Also, tomahawk throwing is an art that each person develops himself, improving his technique over the period albeit following the above basic guidelines. So, the more you practice, the better your throws will get as you will be able to self-adjust the speed, your body positioning and hand grip of the tomahawk to make this sport work better for you.

Once you have practiced a lot and would want to know how good you have become at tomahawk target markings, you can get your skill level examined through ‘International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame’ which has an international ranking system to determine the skill level of each thrower.

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