How to Throw a Tomahawk
Video Throwing Demonstration
Before You Begin
Anyone can throw a tomahawk. Hatchet or tomahawk throwing is an activity that can be enjoyed year round in the back yard or in the woods. For centuries Native Americans and Mountain Men have used tomahawks and axes for hunting, chopping firewood, and protection, now they can be used for recreational fun. With these basic skills you can learn to throw anything from an ax, tomahawk, or even a hatchet.
Before you start throwing your hatchet or tomahawk, you will need good target. The best target is cut rounds from a fallen tree stacked like a pyramid or a tripod holding up the tree rounds. The bigger the target, the easier it will be to learn how to throw a hawk. The wood must be soft so that the blade of the ax or tomahawk can penetrate easily and “stick” into the logs, so older wood is sometimes better.
Grips & Stance When Throwing
Stance should be upright and level and feet comfortable side by side. Stand like you're about to throw a ball. Some people feel comfortable having one foot forward and resting on the extended foot rather than the one behind. Grip the tomahawk like you would a hammer and like you were as if shaking hands with the handle. Arms should be raised straight without bending the shoulder, extended towards the target. Tomahawk should be held perfectly straight so it wouldn't wobble when throwing. The most important thing is power and speed while throwing, you can worry about accuracy eventually by practicing more.
Steps to 'Hawk Throwing
1. Measure about 13-14 ft from target
From the target, measure about 13 -14 ft or about 5 - 6 paces and make a line in the dirt. From this distance the tomahawk, hatchet, or ax will be doing one revolution till it reaches the target. The distance is determined by how long the handle is.
2. Make sure the tomahawk blade is pointing toward your target
This is a little more obvious but you never know.
3. Pitcher's position
Position your feet in the pitcher's position with the foot opposite your throwing arm forward.
4. Hold handle at base of tomahawk
Hold the handle near or at the base with the tomahawk blade at the top.
5. Straight back & straight forward
Bring the tomahawk straight back and throw straight forward aiming for your target.
6. Follow through
Follow through with your arm while still keeping your wrist locked.
What is the Ideal Size Tomahawk For Me?
The best throwing tomahawk is one that has a tomahawk handle from 16 to 20 inches, but it is easily possible to throw anything with the right form and distance to the target. For more information on selecting the right tomahawk for your throwing needs go to our "The Best Tomahawk for You" article in our education library.
Suggested Tomahawks By Size
|Small Hawks(16")||Ideal For Women & Children
(12 & Under)
TM103, TM104, KT101, 310-103
|Medium Hawks (18"-19")||Ideal For Young Adults & Adults
(Teens & Women)
TM112, 310-102, 310- 103, KT102,
|Large Hawks (19")||Ideal For Adults
TM101, TM102, KT102, KT103, TM105,
TM106, TM107, TM111, TM113 & above
'Hawk Not Sticking? Diagnosing the Problem
If you find that you cannot stick the tomahawk or axe after a few tries you have the distance wrong. That could be because of two things. First, the hawk could be under-rotating. Take a step back and try it again if you think your hawk is under rotating. If it is over-rotating then you need to take a step forward. Over-rotation may be cause by a shorter handle than normal. Shorter handles take less time to do a revolution than larger handles. So start a little closer if you have a shorter handle. That is why the distance to your target depends on the length of the tomahawk. So don’t be worried if you miss the first few times it takes a few throws to calibrate the right distance. With luck and a little practice you will be able to stick it every time like a pro.
**Always remember that a tomahawk, axe or hatchet is not a toy and should be treated with respect and control**
Most important rule of all...Be safe and have fun!
Note: We were asked to write an article for the Boy Scouts of American on the Scouting Magazine blog for Scout leaders looking to safely add tomahawk throwing to your scouting events. To go to that article click here