By Allison Clare.
Axes have been thrown since the dawn of civilization, up until the modern ages in war. A war technique employed mostly by foot soldiers and sometimes by mounted cavalry, axe throwing in war is obsolete now. That does not mean it has gone the way of the dinosaur.
The game of axe throwing is, however, not something done since antiquity. It is a relatively modern sport that is increasing in popularity day by day. In essence, the game of axe throwing is simply throwing the axe at a target. Though the roots of outdoor axe throwing lie in ancient war techniques, the game to which axe throwing bears the most resemblance is dart throwing.
- The target board used in axe throwing must be made of wood. The wood generally used for this purpose is either cottonwood, poplar wood, or pinewood.
- Every concentric ring on the board has a score, and you can score the highest by hitting the center ring.
- The players must throw the axe from behind a throwing line, which is generally around 12 feet from the target board. The above distance ensures that the axe rotates only once in its trajectory.
- Each player only gets a certain number of throws in a contest (similar to darts or bowling). Generally, the number of throws is 10 for a match. Scores of all the throws are added up to determine the winner.
- In addition, there are generally two blue circles on the board, and hitting any of the two gains the maximum player points. If someone hits one of these, it is known as a ‘kill shot.’ But these are only activated in case of a tiebreaker or sudden death.
- When the axe lands in two rings, there can be two kinds of rules. Either the ring with maximum points can be considered, or the ring with the maximum part of the axe can be considered.
- The axe must remain affixed to the target. If the axe falls off after hitting the target, no points are awarded.
Axe throwing has been played as a part of timber sports for some time now. But its popularity among the youth can be traced back to the inauguration of ‘Backyard Axe Throwing League’ in 2006.
While axe throwing as a popular sport originated in Europe around 2001, most of the sport was played informally or in woodsman tournaments. Commercial axe-throwing arenas only started in Europe around 2016. Hotbeds of the axe-throwing event in Europe are the UK and Poland.
Gradually, axe-throwing bars have opened up in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and even Thailand. These offer a unique leisure activity one can perform with friends or even family. Various new axe-throwing companies have cropped up in these countries to cater to the growing interest. An axe throwing company provides arenas to practice axe throwing for a fee.
Axe-throwing has two major stances in which you can throw the axe.
- Grip: Hold the axe slightly loosely. Gripping it too tightly will make it difficult to throw the axe in a straight line.
- Bring the axe over your head and stretch your arms as you do in a soccer throw.
- Bring the axe forward in a swift motion, and release the axe near your eye level.
- Depending on where the axe hits the target in the first attempt, we can either take a few steps forward or a few steps backward. This is done in order to reach the ideal distance for our throw.
- Grip: Again, the grip should neither be too tight nor too loose. A very tight grip will make the release difficult and unpredictable.
- Bring the axe back next to your ear. We have to make sure that the axe is titled neither left nor right at this point. The axe should be brought back in order to touch the shoulder.
- The axe should then be swiftly brought forward and released when the axe is vertical with respect to the ground. This throwing motion is very similar to how we throw a dart.
- Again, we adjust our position a few steps ahead or a few steps back, depending on how the axe hits the board.
Axe throwing is a sport played with a weapon. Thus, the possibility of it injuring or even killing a person is always present. The casualty could either be the player or a bystander. Nobody is ever allowed to stand behind the target, as there is always a high possibility of the thrower missing the target.
Also, the other participants should stand at a safe distance from the thrower and the target. The path between the throwing line and the target board should also be cordoned off. The handle of the axe should be properly checked before the throw to ensure it does not come off during the throw. A first-aid kit should be readily available in case of an injury.
Axe Throwing is not just a sport intended for recreation. If done properly, the practice of axe throwing could be a useful exercise. Let us take a look at the possible benefits of the sport of axe throwing.
● Better Alternative to Darts
It is a bigger, badder version of darts. As opposed to darts, here you get the added thrill of throwing a heavy weapon, which lands with a thud and takes more muscle to propel through the air.
Throwing an axe can be a great stress-reliever, as the activity demands physical stress and mental attention (plus it’s really fun!).
● Great Core Workout
Throwing an axe is a great workout for our core. Throwing an axe requires our core to hold us in position while the momentum of the axe tries to take us forward.
● Stronger Shoulders
Throwing axes can help us get stronger shoulders. Whether it be a one-handed or two-handed throw, the motion of bringing the axe forward engages our shoulders, our arms, and our lats.
● Great Bonding Activity
Throwing an axe can be a great activity to bond with your friends or even your loved ones. A competitive environment brings out the best in us and helps us release our stress. Axe-throwing team building is coming into vogue nowadays.
Axe Throwing is rapidly becoming all the rage. More and more youth are exploring the sport in their spare time. Rather than spend time lying on the couch on the weekend, it is better to visit an axe-throwing bar and engage in something that strengthens the body and heals the mind.
Like every other new activity we perform, axe throwing helps broaden our perspective and helps us know more about ourselves. But proper safety measures must be followed, and an alert mind must be kept while performing axe throwing. After all, the axe is a deadly weapon wielded by our forefathers and should never be taken lightly.