How to Throw a Tomahawk

Throwing a Tomahawk Correctly
An adult must first get a tomahawk with an 18" or 19" handle that weighs 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. Children usually use a Mousehawk with a handle at least 14" long. For a target you can use a heavy board with the grain going up and down (vertical). But the best is a slice of a log, well seasoned, at least 6" deep and 20" across. The best way to get a log target is to contact someone who removes trees and have them cut you off a piece. The end grain in a log is the best to stick a tomahawk. Nail a board across the back of the target and nail the board to a tree or a 4" x 4" post buried in that ground. I usually have the top of a target no more than 50" from the ground.

To begin, place tape measure in front of target and measure (13.6 ft.) if using large Tomahawk, or measure (11.6 ft.) if using a Mousehawk. Then mark that place with something flat on the ground.

The Trick
The trick is to throw the same way every time. If your axe hits the target handle first you are too close—move back 1/2 step. If your axe hits the target with the top of the blade you are too far away—move forward 1/2 step. If you are right handed, place your right foot forward with your toe on the mark, if left handed, use your left foot, then step slightly back with the other foot to keep your balance.

With the blade forward hold the tomahawk over your shoulder with elbow bent. Make sure that the bottom of the handle is even with the bottom of your hand making a tight fist over the handle. Do not put your thumb on the top of the handle. This will cause the tomahawk to turn sideways. Keep your hand in a fist over the handle. Then bring your arm straight toward the target letting the tomahawk slide out of your hand. Do not flip your hand; the tomahawk will turn on its own. If the tomahawk goes over or under the target consistently do this little exercise—remove the tomahawk from your throwing hand and practice bringing your fist forward and opening your hand toward the target.

Tomahawk

This will help keep you from flipping your hand. Throw the tomahawk like you would throw a stick or a ball. If the handle strikes the target first, move back 1/2 step; if the top of the tomahawk hits the target, move forward 1/2 step. Keep adjusting yourself until the tomahawk blade sticks in the target with the handle straight down. It won't be long before you are sticking the blade almost every time. Don't worry about accuracy in the beginning. When you see that you are sticking the blade consistently then staple a playing card on the target and aim for it. Or, you can paint rings on the target in black and white or red and white. Keep your eye on the card till you start cutting it. Practice makes perfect.

When throwing your tomahawk, it should make one complete turn and then stick. This is the throw that is used in all competitions.

Upside Down Throw
Another throw that is a lot of fun is the upside down throw. This throw leaves the tomahawk with the handle up instead of down. Pace from the front of your target—heel to toe—20 steps and mark the spot like you did before in the first throw. Place your foot on the mark, like before. Turn your tomahawk backwards with the blade facing the rear and throw fairly hard. With a little practice you will be sticking it consistently.

Long Throw
Then there is the long throw. In this throw, the tomahawk will turn 2 times. Measure 27 steps—heel to toe—and mark the spot. With the blade forward and your feet in proper position, throw as hard as you can. Remember a good tomahawk weight is 1 to 1 1/2 lbs., so you have to throw hard to get the tomahawk to reach the target. Adjust your throw, moving forward or back, the same way as the short throw, until you are consistently sticking the blade.

Safety
When setting up your range, remember there will be a lot of misses, so make sure the background is safe. A tomahawk is a lot of fun, but you have to be careful. A tomahawk is not a toy, it is a weapon.

Tomahawk throwing is an enjoyable, addictive sport and a good source of exercise.