Knife-Throwing Tougher Than It Looks

Like most kids of my generation, I was always fascinated by the knife-throwing scenes that seemed to show up regularly in the action movies I watched. Whether flipped by an evil assassin lurking in the shadows or the valiant hero acting in desperation, it seemed as if almost anybody could grab any kind of knife and throw it with deadly accuracy, instantly stopping someone in their tracks.

Hollywood has always been good at fooling impressionable kids (and sometimes adults) so I guess it’s not surprising that I wholeheartedly bought the idea that throwing a knife was easy. In fact, I often tried to throw my own knives, which at that time consisted of a rusty pocket-knife and a stunted ‘hunting’ knife that I carried on Boy Scout camping trips. Of course, neither worked very well so I decided that I needed one of those keen knives advertised in the back pages of comic books.

I depended on comic book ads for a lot of my important knowledge in those days — after all, I wouldn’t have known about scientific breakthroughs like X-ray vision glasses without them — so when I spotted an ad for a ‘genuine imitation Moroccan throwing knife’, I wasted no time in sending away for it. When it arrived, a sensible person might have recognized it as a cheap, punched-out thing with a leatherette-wrapping on one end, but to me it was an exotic and deadly assassin’s tool.

It even came with directions, but of course I wasted no time with those. Instead, I ran out into the yard and immediately flung it at a tree. The knife promptly spanged off the side of the trunk and rocketed point first into the concrete driveway next to it. When I picked it up, the point was bent into a little curl and I realized that knife-throwing wasn’t as easy as it looked in the movies.

I never did get any good at it, even after hammering the point straight (sort of) but at least I didn’t have to worry about my mom trying it. Look at the poor kids in the video below.

Oscar Peterson Trio w/ Clark Terry – “Mack The Knife”

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