Throwing knife

Last updated
Collection of throwing knives Throwing knives.jpg
Collection of throwing knives

A throwing knife is a knife that is specially designed and weighted so that it can be thrown effectively. They are a distinct category from ordinary knives.

Contents

Throwing knives are used by many cultures around the world, and as such different tactics for throwing them have been developed, as have different shapes and forms of throwing knife.

Throwing knives are also used in sport.

Central Africa

A selection of African throwing knives in the British Museum A selection of African throwing knives in room 25 of the British museum.JPG
A selection of African throwing knives in the British Museum

Throwing knives saw use in central Africa. [1] The wide area they were used over means that they were referred to by a number of names such as Onzil , [2] [3] Kulbeda, Mambele , Pinga and Trombash . [1] These weapons had multiple iron blades and were used for warfare and hunting. [1] [4] A maximum effective range of about 50 yards has been suggested. [1] The weapon appears to have originated in central Sudan somewhere around 1000 AD from where it spread south. [4] It has however been suggested that the same weapon is depicted in Libyan wall sculptures dating around 1350 BC. [1]

The throwing knives were extensively collected by Europeans with the result that many European and American museums have extensive collections. [5] However the collectors generally failed to record the origin of the blades or their use. [5] As a result, the history and use of the throwing knives is poorly understood. [5] A further complication is that the label Throwing knife was attached by ethnographers to various objects that didn't fit into other weapon categories even though they may not have been thrown. [6]

Western tradition

Throwing knives are commonly made of a single piece of steel or other material, without handles, unlike other types of knives. The knife has two sections, the "blade" which is the sharpened half of the knife and the "grip" which is not sharpened. The purpose of the grip is to allow the knife to be safely handled by the user and also to balance the weight of the blade.

The knives are of two kinds, balanced knives and unbalanced knives. A balanced knife is made in such a way that the center of gravity is at the center of the knife. Such a balanced knife will follow a near circular trajectory in the flight. For an unbalanced knife, the center of gravity does not match the geometric center. If the knife's handle is heavier, then the circles of the handle and the circles of the blade in flight will be of different diameter, making the trajectory less predictable. The unbalanced knives are generally thrown by gripping the lighter end. There are also knives with adjustable weights which can slide on the length of the blade. This way, it can function both as a balanced or unbalanced knife depending upon the position of the weight. Balanced knives are generally preferred over unbalanced ones for two reasons: Balanced knives can be thrown from the handle as well as from the blade and it is easier to change from one balanced knife to another. [7]

The weight of the throwing knife and the throwing speed determine the power of the impact. Lighter knives can be thrown with relative ease, but they may fail to penetrate the target properly, resulting in "bounce back". Heavy throwing knives are more stable in their flight and cause more damage to the target, but more strength is needed to throw them accurately.

Hans Talhoffer (c. 1410-1415 – after 1482) and Paulus Hector Mair (1517–1579) both mention throwing daggers in their treaties on combat and weapons. Talhoffer specifies a type of spiked dagger for throwing while Mair describes throwing the dagger at your opponents chest.

See also

Related Research Articles

Utility knife Knife used for general or utility purposes

A utility knife is any type of knife used for general manual work purposes. Such knives were originally fixed-blade knives with durable cutting edges suitable for rough work such as cutting cordage, cutting/scraping hides, butchering animals, cleaning fish scales, reshaping timber, and other tasks. Craft knives are small utility knives used as precision-oriented tools for finer, more delicate tasks such as carving and papercutting.

Dagger Short, pointed hand-to-hand weapon

A dagger is a fighting knife with a very sharp point and usually two sharp edges, typically designed or capable of being used as a thrusting or stabbing weapon. Daggers have been used throughout human history for close combat confrontations, and many cultures have used adorned daggers in ritual and ceremonial contexts. The distinctive shape and historic usage of the dagger have made it iconic and symbolic. A dagger in the modern sense is a weapon designed for close-proximity combat or self-defense; due to its use in historic weapon assemblages, it has associations with assassination and murders. Double-edged knives, however, play different sorts of roles in different social contexts.

Knife Tool or weapon with a cutting edge or blade

A knife is a tool or weapon with a cutting edge or blade, usually attached to a handle or hilt. One of the earliest tools used by humanity, knives appeared at least 2.5 million years ago, as evidenced by the Oldowan tools. Originally made of wood, bone, and stone, over the centuries, in step with improvements in both metallurgy and manufacturing, knife blades have been made from copper, bronze, iron, steel, ceramic, and titanium. Most modern knives have either fixed or folding blades; blade patterns and styles vary by maker and country of origin.

Blade Sharp cutting part of a weapon or tool

A blade is the portion of a tool, weapon, or machine with an edge that is designed to puncture, chop, slice or scrape surfaces or materials. Blades are typically made from materials that are harder than those they are to be used on. Historically, humans have made blades from flaking stones such as flint or obsidian, and from various metal such as copper, bronze and iron. Modern blades are often made of steel or ceramic. Blades are one of humanity's oldest tools, and continue to be used for combat, food preparation, and other purposes.

Rondel dagger Type of stiff-bladed dagger

A rondel dagger or roundel dagger was a type of stiff-bladed dagger in Europe in the late Middle Ages, used by a variety of people from merchants to knights. It was worn at the waist and might be used as a utility tool, or worn into battle or in a jousting tournament as a side arm.

Japanese kitchen knife Type of knife used for food preparation

A Japanese kitchen knife is a type of a knife used for food preparation. These knives come in many different varieties and are often made using traditional Japanese blacksmithing techniques. They can be made from stainless steel, or hagane, which is the same kind of steel used to make Japanese swords. Most knives are referred to as hōchō or the variation -bōchō in compound words but can have other names including -kiri. There are four general categories used to distinguish the Japanese knife designs: handle, blade grind, steel, and construction.

Switchblade Type of knife

A switchblade (aka switch knife, automatic knife, pushbutton knife, ejector knife, flick knife, flick blade, or spring knife is a type of knife with a sliding blade contained in the handle which is extended automatically by a spring when a button, lever, or switch on the handle or bolster is activated. Virtually all switchblades incorporate a locking blade, where the blade is locked against accidental closure when the blade is in the open position. It is unlocked by a mechanism that allows the blade to be folded and locked in the closed position.

Knife throwing

Knife throwing is an art, sport, combat skill, or variously an entertainment technique, involving an artist skilled in the art of throwing knives, the weapons thrown, and a target. In some stage performances, the knife thrower ties an assistant to the target and throws to miss them.

Butterfly knife Type of folding knife

A butterfly knife, also known as a Balisong, fan knife or Batangas knife, is a type of folding pocketknife that originated in the Philippines. Its distinct features are two handles counter-rotating around the tang such that, when closed, the blade is concealed within grooves in the handles. A latch holds the handles together, typically mounted on the one facing the cutting edge.

<i>Kunai</i> Japanese gardening and masonry tool adapted as a weapon

A kunai is a Japanese tool thought to be originally derived from the masonry trowel. The two widely recognized variations of the kunai are short kunai and the big kunai. Although a basic tool, in the hands of a martial arts expert, the kunai could be used as a multi-functional weapon. The kunai is commonly associated with the ninja, who used it to gouge holes in walls.

Trench knife Type of combat knife

A trench knife is a combat knife designed to kill or incapacitate an enemy at close quarters, such as in a trench or other confined area. It was developed as a close combat weapon for soldiers attacking enemy trenches during the First World War. An example of a World War I trench knife is the German Army's Nahkampfmesser.

Kitchen knife Knives intended for use in the process of preparing food

A kitchen knife is any knife that is intended to be used in food preparation. While much of this work can be accomplished with a few general-purpose knives – notably a large chef's knife, a tough cleaver, a small paring knife and some sort of serrated blade – there are also many specialized knives that are designed for specific tasks. Kitchen knives can be made from several different materials.

Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife Dagger

The Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife is a double-edged fighting knife resembling a dagger or poignard with a foil grip. It was developed by William Ewart Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes in Shanghai based on ideas that the two men had while serving on the Shanghai Municipal Police in China before World War II.

Knife juggling

Knife juggling is a variant of toss juggling using blunt knives as props which are thrown and caught. Although knives are sometimes juggled recreationally, it is generally a performance art. Knife juggling is typically seen performed by street entertainers as part of a routine, or at art or historical festivals.

United States Marine Raider stiletto Dagger

The United States Marine Raider stiletto was issued to the Marine Raiders and 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion during World War II.

Ek Commando Knife Co.

Ek Commando Knife Co. or Ek Knives is an American combat knife brand produced by several different companies since the original founded by John Ek in 1941. In May 2014 the Ek brand was purchased by Ka-Bar which began selling its versions of Ek knife designs in 2015. Although not officially issued gear, Ek Knives have seen use by US forces in six major conflicts: World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. Ek Knives manufactures Bowie-style blades, daggers, and a Fairbairn-Sykes MkII. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Clark Gable, and General George S. Patton have been identified as Ek knife owners.

Mambele African hybrid knife/axe

A mambele is a form of hybrid knife/axe in central and southern Africa, originating from a curved throwing dagger used by the Mangbetu.

Mark I trench knife WW1 era American combat knife

The Mark I trench knife is an American trench knife designed by officers of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) for use in World War I. It has a 6.75 in (17.1 cm) double-edged dagger blade useful for both thrusting and slashing strokes, unlike previous U.S. trench knives such as the M1917 and M1918. The handle is made of cast bronze and uses a conical steel nut to hold the blade in place. The Mark I's blade was blued with a black oxide finish, the bronze handle was chemically blackened, with cast spikes on the bow of each knuckle. The spikes were intended to prevent an opponent from grabbing the knife hand, as well as to provide a more concentrated striking surface when employed in hand-to-hand combat.

M3 fighting knife Fighting knife

The M3 fighting knife or M3 trench knife was an American military combat knife first issued in March 1943. The M3 was originally designated for issue to soldiers not otherwise equipped with a bayonet. However, it was particularly designed for use by forces in need of a close combat knife, such as Airbornes and Army Rangers, so these units received priority for the M3 at the start of production. As more M3 knives became available in 1943 and 1944, the knife was issued to other soldiers such as Army Air Corps crewmen and soldiers not otherwise equipped with a bayonet, including soldiers issued the M1 Carbine or a submachine gun such as the M3 “grease gun.”

Native American weaponry Weapons used by Native Americans for hunting and warfare with other Native American tribes

Native American weaponry was used by Native American warriors to hunt and to do battle with other Native American tribes and European colonizers.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Blackmore, Howard L (2000). Hunting Weapons from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century: With 288 Illustrations. Courier Dover Publications. pp. 80–82. ISBN   9780486409610.
  2. Mary H Kingsley, West African Studies (1899), London, MacMillan, 1901
  3. Jan Elsen, De fer et de fierté, 2003, p.98
  4. 1 2 Ehret, Christopher (2002). The civilizations of Africa: a history to 1800. Courier Dover Publications. pp. 338–341. ISBN   9780486409610.
  5. 1 2 3 .McNaughton, Patrick. "The Cutting Edge: West Central African 19th Century Throwing Knives in the National Museum of Ethnology Leiden. A. M. Schmidt and Peter Westerdijk. Leiden: National Museum of Ethnology and C. Zwartenkot Art Books, 2006. 112 pp. Reviewed by Patrick McNaughton" (pdf). Indiana University. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  6. Throwing knives (Museum label). Room 25, British Museum. 2011.{{cite sign}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  7. Thiel, Christian. "Balance and the center of gravity". KnifeThrowing.info. Retrieved 30 January 2015.

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Throwing knives at Wikimedia Commons