The History of Axe Throwing

Our thoughts // 16.12.2018

Here at Whistle Punks, there is one thing we know inside and out...axes and the art of axe throwing in particular. To appreciate an urban axe throwing experience, we thought it would be beneficial to take a deep dive into axe throwing history, exploring the different cultures and years of history that have led to axe throwing as we know it.

The history of axe throwing is a fascinating subject, and although, as far as we know, it isn’t a part of any educational syllabus (even if it should be), and if anyone should have a degree in axe throwing history, it certainly should be us.

Throughout history, axes have been popular as both a tool and a weapon due to the cheapness of their make, being one of the oldest tools known to man. They were common in the stone age, initially made without a handle (or haft) and a stone cutting edge.

They were quickly turned into weapons. However, thrown axes were not used until 400-500 AD.

Where Did Axe Throwing Originate From?

Axes are first thought to have been used in the early Middle age as a weapon, commonly associated with the Franks, typically using the Francisca axe, the most famous type of throwing axe, for whom it was the national weapon.

The Francisca axe was also popular amongst many other Germanic Tribes at the time. 

Certain historians believe that the thrown axe was not actually used in battles, many of whom believe it would have been folly to throw away a prized weapon and then be unarmed in the face of an enemy. Instead, other historians believe that it was used in food hunting due to the difficulty of getting within an arm’s length of an animal, making thrown weapons a great alternative.

Other historians have a different view of axe throwing history, claiming axes were thrown before hand-to-hand combat, providing a psychological edge to their war efforts. The Francisca would often have a random trajectory, so it was difficult to predict where the axe was going to go. 

After a volley, enemies would often run, fearing another volley would follow.

In the late Middle Ages, throwing axes were a common feature, made of iron, and were often used by both foot soldiers and knights.

Picking up axes

Evolutions On The Continent

Europeans brought them to the New World, providing them as tomahawks to the Native Americans

According to legend, the first axe throwing competitions were held by the frontiersmen in North America. Though there have also been reports of axe throwing competitions amongst the Celtic tribes. Many years later axe throwing is still a popular sport in many lumberjack sporting events. In the last 20 years, it has become a popular urban sport in many countries, including the USA, Canada, Thailand, Australia, France, and of course the UK, home to Whistle Punks.

Many types of axe throwing are still around, from double-bit throwing to tomahawk throwing. At Whistle Punks, we focus on the often looked-over hatchet, a single-bladed hand axe, perfect for throwing in the warehouses and railways arches that we call home.

An Urban Axe Throwing Experience

We were one of the first to introduce an urban axe throwing experience in the UK, combining competition with safety, allowing you to channel the axe throwing skills of your ancestors and hit some bullseyes.

We have a range of different axe throwing experiences available, including corporate booking and large events, such as stag dos or hen parties, with all our activity centres being fully licensed bars and pizza kitchens, including our London, Bristol, Leeds, and Manchester locations.

Are you interested in booking your slot now? Don’t hesitate to use our online booking system to ensure you gain your spot, and don’t miss out on an urban axe throwing experience like no other!

Words: Staff Writer

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