Written in a clear and easy-to-understand language, The Basics of Knife Throwing by Ken Tabor Jr. delivers what its title promises.
Twenty years ago, I watched the 1999 movie, The Girl on The Bridge. It's a French film about an aging circus performer (Daniel Auteuil) who rescues a suicidal young girl (Vanessa Paradis) from jumping off a bridge. He takes her under his wing as his assistant in a knife-throwing act—eventually, the pair falls in love.
After seeing it, I went through a brief knife-throwing phase. I was hooked on the adrenaline and romance of this unique art form but ultimately moved on to other, less lethal pastimes.
The Basics Of Knife Throwing caught my eye while browsing the Lybrary.com catalog and instantly revived my long-dormant interest in what's gruesomely known as the impalement arts.
Knife-throwing acts have entertained crowds at circuses and wild west shows since the 19th century. While those nostalgic days have passed, these days, you can find knife-throwing acts making appearances on tv shows like America's Got Talent and its British Isle counterpart, Britain's Got Talent.
The danger and skill displayed in such performances, especially those involving a blindfolded thrower hurling sharp blades at a sexy, half-naked assistant strapped spread eagle to the spinning "wheel of death," is jaw-droppingly impressive.
While this work has nothing to do with circus-style knife tricks and showmanship, if that's your intended goal, then Ken Tabor Jr. will put you on the right path. He's distilled his 30-plus years of knife-throwing wisdom into a compact 28-page book. It's light on fluff but heavy on basic body mechanics like proper grip, stance, and release, not to mention fundamental safety issues that will help keep you and others injury free.
With simple step-by-step instructions and accompanying photos, it's as easy to read as it is to understand, making learning proper throwing techniques accessible to anyone, which, if you've never tried it, is more complicated than you think.
Learning to properly throw a knife is like learning a card trick or juggling: all the reading and studying in the world won't do the work for you. It's going to take practice: hours and hours of practice.
My first attempts were pitiful. It seemed like I had a better chance of hitting the lottery than I did my intended target.
Eventually, after figuring out the science and the physics behind the spin, the knives started to stick to the mark. After a couple days of practice, I could impale a cheap steak knife into the trunk of a box elder tree 5 out of ten times.
Tabor isn't a "professional" writer. This is strictly an amateur effort born out of love. The grammar is a bit clunky, and there are a few misspelled words, but the information is sound and easy to grasp.
It's worth your time and effort to read this e-book. There may be longer, more expensive manuals on the same subject, but this is an excellent, no B.S. starting point. And, at the low price of $2.99, it was still cheaper than a 12 oz. cup of coffee at Starbucks.
All you need to provide is the knives, a few afternoons, and lots of patience!