If you’re easily offended, have thin skin or have a bent toward political correctness….move along. This post isn’t for the weak of heart. You see, I’m gonna discuss my ill spent youth and my yearning to fulfill a childhood fantasy of throwing knives and axes.
My introduction to axes and hatchets goes back many years. In fact, the first memories of using an ax came with a caution about losing a toe. My grandfather walked with a cane and legend had it he lost his big toe in an accident involving a piece of frozen wood and an ax.
I still get cold chills remembering my dad holding a piece of kindling in one hand, and ax or hatchet in the other and releasing the piece of kindling JUST before the blade hit the wood. My experience with sharp knives indicates I may not have the same eye hand coordination dad had. Now none of these things ever made me think of throwing an ax or hatchet at a tree or a stump to see if I could make it stick.
What really drew my interest to throwing a knife or ax were the abundance of Western movies I watched as a kid. In those days we still had games called cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, etc. We watched and read about Hawkeye in the Last of the Mohicans using his war ax for all sorts of tasks including taking out the occasional bad guy. And there was always that monumental moment when a knife flew through the air and the bad guy had his shirt sleeve pinned to the wall by that flying blade. Or how many times was the bad guy fatally hit in the back by a thrown knife just as he was about to grab some femme fatale by the throat. How in the world could any red blooded boy not want to be able to master those skills to help save the world.
Throwing axes didn’t register at the time but I did throw a fair amount of knives. Mostly unsuccessfully. The target was usually a gnarly barked oak tree. As I recall, if I have to be honest, usually the knife bounced off and landed in the grass. More then once it landed on it’s tip requiring a little hammer work to straighten the blade. That’s the advantage of cheap blade steel, it bends instead of breaking.
Sadly, as I got older I started to speculate just how hard you would have to throw a hatchet to hit the bad guy, break enough ribs to penetrate deep enough to incapacitate the him. And how lucky could you get to hit the bad guy with your knife with enough precision to slip between the ribs to hit a vital organ. It just made me start to question all those little things I’d taken at face value in my youth.
And from a purely defensive standpoint, there’s something about throwing your only weapon at the target, thus disarming yourself that just doesn’t seem right. That commands a pretty high level of confidence or stupidity.
Now one of the few great things about getting older is if you’re lucky, you have the time, curiosity and money to pursue some of those foolish childhood fantasies. And (hopefully) you have the wisdom to pursue them from a more realistic place. You know damned well you’re not going to save the world so you might as well pursue them for the sake of having some fun. This is where I’m finally at.
I look at it this way. It’s somewhat like playing with big darts. Same principal, bigger weapon bigger target. Or golf. Your aiming at a target you know damned well you’ll never hit but you keep trying anyway. PLUS, your not going to lose as many axes or knives as golf balls.
In Fargo an enterprising young (20’s) couple has followed a dream and opened a business that caters to those folks wanting to throw axes. I give them a lot of credit as it’s a pretty off the wall venture that so far, is paying off for them. While I’ve been planning on putting together a target and setting it up in the driveway, maybe I should go check out there operation. It just sounds like fun.