Is it possible to throw knives like in the movies?

I’m not talking about the projectile / missile throw you will often see, ie. thrown knife travels point-forward at speed and embeds in the target like a spear. That one is plainly not humanly possible and comes about from smoke and mirrors.

No, the question is whether it is possible to acquire a degree of knife throwing skill such that coming to an unfamiliar place the subject can throw a knife a moderate but unfamiliar distance and still have it strike a target point first, most of the time.

I googled “Professional Knife Throwing” and it appears there are tons of materials out there that will help you become The Guy You See In Movies. I’ve seen people just screwing around with the art and making some pretty accurate hits. I think it’s real.

Most circus knife-throwing acts are actually throwing knives. It is possible, but you need specially designed knives and a lot of practice; you can’t just pick up a kitchen knife and expect it to go to a target point first.

In TV sitcoms, the knife throwing is usually faked. It’s not that hard to do: the “target” has slits in it (sometimes covered with paper – you can see them when the set up the trick). The “thrower” fakes a throw and keeps hold of the knife. A stagehand shoves a knife through the slit. The illusion is pretty good.

As for whether you could really throw a knife to hit a target point first, the answer is yes – provided you bring your own knife.

Yes, you can. Gil Hibben has some great throwers and a great book on it.

To start you stand about 3 to 5 paces from the target and hold the knife by the handle with one or two fingers on resting along the side. You try to make the knife flip exactly once: --> \ | / <-- \ | / -->O Adjust your distance from target so that this happens consistently. Practice this a few hundred times, then move back twice that distance and try to make the knife flip exactly twice: --> \ | / <-- \ | / --> \ | / <-- \ | / -->O. Then after another 1000 practice shots you increase the distance and make it flip exactly 3 times. After that you move closer and start to learn to adjust your throw so that you are further away with 1 flip until you are almost at the distance of your 2 flip position.

As for a weapon - fergeddabout it. Why would you want to throw away your weapon and allow someone else to pick it up and use against you? For hunting? fergeddaboutit. Probably better to use a throwing stick (like a big boomerang, but it won’t come back to you) to hit rabbits and birds. This is just for fun.


Back in the late '70,s a co-worker was very good at throwing knives. He made them out of plastic (we worked in a plastic factory) balance was the most important part. I would stand aganst a cardboardwall, he would draw an outline and then I stood behind him. I’m crazy not stupid. In over 1000 tosses, we kept track, only one hit in the body. Practice alot.

I knew a kid in college who got his hands on an actual throwing knife, the kind used in circus acts. He would throw it against the inside of his wooden dorm room door. It always freaked me out because he wouldn’t lock the door, so anyone could walk in while the thing was hurtling toward the door. One day he threw it, it stuck point-first into the door, then his roommate swung open the door a second later- he obviously had no idea what his roommate had just done, and if he had been a second earlier he would have taken the knife to the face.

I chose never to be around when he was throwing, I didn’t want to witness the carnage.

I doubt it, except for the most exceptional. One must gauge the distance and rate of spin accurately, if either is off, it won’t work. The thrower must then adjust the rate of spin to precisely match the distance from the target and the speed of the throw.

The problem with the examples as compared to the question is that it’s easy to find examples where someone practices with a certain knife, at a certain target, from a certain distance until mastery is reached. Being in an unfamiliar place, at an unfamiliar distance, with an unfamiliar knife is completely different; i.e. the knife throwing by Uma Thurman in Kill Bill Vol. 1. (Okay, she had a familiar knife, but you get the idea.)

The way to throw a knife is underhanded. Hold your hand out palm up, and lay the knive so that the point is extending straight out from your fingers and the ass end of the knife is pointing up your forearm. Now draw your arm back and give it a sharp, underhand throw with (hopefully) no spin. That way the knife travels point forward. I’ve tried it with a few different knifes at different targets and at different distances with no practice and have had surprising success. (A low success rate, but much higher than expected.)

Underhanded? Only if you’re a meter from your target and you don’t want the knife to spin, according to my copy of Knife Throwing, A Practical Guide by Harry McEvoy.

You always throw overhand, keeping the knife vertical if throwing by the handle, and horizontal if throwing by the blade.

Yep. I read that in a knife-fighting manual about a decade ago, and as I said, I’ve had success. Maybe it just had a different emphasis: knife throwing for sticking objects vs. sticking someone in the belly under conditions of desperate need.

So, I’ll take your word that what the OP asks is possible. :slight_smile: It’s just not how I learned to do it.

Is the subject allowed to take a step or two back or forward to adjust the difference? If so, no problem at all. I wasn’t even very good at it, but I could stick point-first on the first throw most of the time when I practiced. My technique wasn’t good (I held the knife by the blade when I threw), but I could guess the distance and stick it probably 3 out of 4 times.