Archive for the ‘Projectile’ Category

Throwing Knives – Part Deux – The Art of Throwing Knives!

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

OK, so it’s been a while since I posted anything, truth be told, I’ve just had waaaaay too many things going on. So much so that any spare time I might have is a rare and precious commodity. And as you might imagine, rather than sit behind a computer screen during this free time, I prefer to get out and do… Things. Yes. Things. physical things. In ye great outdoors. Or indoors. And stuff. Yeah… OK… Enough of that.

Anyhoo, one of the “things” I like to do in my spare time is… Throwing knives. I may have mentioned it in a previous post, but I have been a knife thrower, on and off, for many years. However recently I’ve been noticing a resurgence in knife throwing interest. Of course it may just have been that I haven’t been looking in the right places, but I think that the relatively recent flood of knife throwing protagonists in movies, anime and video games, may have something to do with it.

I mean if you look at the way throwing knives are used in games like as Assassins Creed and COD:Modern Warfare, anime like Naruto, and of course, Jason Stathams “Hai guise, I’z so hard core ima bring throwing knives to a gunfight” guy from movie The Expendables, it’s kind of hard to miss the glamorization that they have undergone. Much like the lowly Japanese garden trowel morphing into the almighty ninja Kunai…

Incidentally however, even though all I have seen of  The Expendables is the trailer, I thought I should point out that in real life, if anyone was stupid enough to bring throwing knives to a gunfight, they would be dead. Yes. I said it. Jason Statham’s character should have been dead. Many times over. Riddled with bullet holes dead. Dead as a doornail dead. Dead as a doornail riddled with bullet holes dead. D-E-D… Dead. I’m just saying.

And on that note, I’d like to show you a humorous video  I found on Youtube that actually addresses some of the more interesting points about how throwing knives are portrayed in the movies:

A point about throwing knives

A point about throwing knives

Now this guy makes some great points, though he kind of makes a mistake when he presumes a knife that misses it’s target can’t hit (and stick, point first), into the wall behind them. In reality this depends on how the knife was thrown. There are three  main ways to throw a knife. The first, and arguably the most common is what is called the spin or Circus throw, technique.

A knife thrown using this technique spins end over end on the way to the target, which means that the point is only present to the target at specific distances, which limits a thrower using this technique because they must stand at specific distances from the target in order for a stick to occur. Too far outside one of these “sweet spot” distances and you don’t get a stick.

Skilled circus style knife throwers learn ways around this limitation, such as imparting additional spin, by flicking the wrist, or retarding the spin of the knife with the thumb, as it leaves the hand, so as to shift the sweet spots closer or farther away, but personally I think there are just too many variables to learn to take into account to use this style as anything more than a recreational experiment. I do like to use this once in a while, however, since one of it’s great benefits, in my experience, is that it is one of the most powerful throwing techniques, allowing sticks to occur in the hardest of targets.

The second throw type is some times called the “no-spin” though it is technically a very slow quarter spin throwing technique. Now with this style, you have a whole lot more leeway with your distance, since the spin is so very slow, that your effective point stick distances are much , much larger than with the circus style throw. However the knife still spins, albeit slowly, and a thrown knife that misses it’s target, may still hit point first a little ways behind it, but not by all that much. This is the throw I use most often.

I personally find that it is not as powerful as the circus throw, however you are not dependent on being in a “sweet spot” in order to get a stick. Below is a demonstration of the quarter spin through with a unique twist (pun intended), demonstrated by the Japanese weapon throwing expert Houzan Suzuki:

No spin (Quarter Spin) knife throwing - Screw Style

The last, perhaps most difficult, but most interesting, is the spear style throw. Now this throw can actually be performed in a couple of different ways. Some spear style practitioners throw their knives like actual spears, pushing them straight forward, like darts. Yet others accomplish the spear style throw with an overhand or sideways throw. However the distinguishing feature of this style of throwing is that when the knife leaves the hand, it is already point first toward the target, and stays that way across the entire trajectory of it’s flight.

No Spin Wave Knife Throwing Technique

No Spin Wave Knife Throwing Technique

This last method of throwing, demonstrated above by the Russian martial arts expert Yuri Fedin, using either a sidearm or overhand spear throw, is perhaps the most difficult of all to master, but it is the one throw for which a point first stick is almost guaranteed, regardless of where the target happens to be along it’s trajectory. This means that you can miss the target, and still get a point first stick quite a ways behind the intended target. This is the style I’d like to master, but believe me, it is not an easy one to learn.

At the moment at which you release the knife, you must use a a light brushing motion along the spine of the knife, with the forefinger or thumb, to counteract the knifes natural tendency to spin due to the rotational inertia imparted to it by the arc of the throwing arm. Too much and it will rotate in the opposite direction, too little and it turns into a quarter spin throw. You have to get it just right. I can do it fairy easily at half spin distances, but beyond that, it’s hit or miss… Yet again, pun intended.

I leave you with a video clip of what an expert who has mastered this style of no spin throwing can do with… well… anything that has a point on it…

Enjoy!

Fedin System No Spin Knife Throwing

Fedin System No Spin Knife Throwing

IT’S 2010? ALREADY!?! WELL HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Wow… It’s 2010 folks… 2010!

2009  just flew away… And didn’t even look back.I, for one, would like to thank the thousands of you that read this blog on a daily basis, believe me, I never thought I was writing anything that interesting. Well at least not to anyone but me… 😀 But I can’t say it hasn’t been rewarding. And to my regulars, I say Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu. Thank you very much! I will do my level best to continue to keep you all entertained in 2010!

And 2010 looks like it will be an auspicious year. It’s a nice round number, for one thing. And It has a movie named after it… though somehow I doubt the events in the movie will actually occur in real life… 😀 But either way, I think this is going to be an amazing year… I can just feel it in my smoldering bones. I’ve got some interesting projects planned, and I think you will all like them.

This will be the year of really, really, cool stuff. And I leave you with one such piece of cool to contemplate:

The Sword Gun

The Sword Gun

Awesome to 2010 and BEYOND!!!

Best wishes for the new year, from me, your perpetually fiery host, from the Realm of the Dark Blade! 😀

~Phyreblade~

Of Dragon Tails and Tigers claws

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Konnichiwa! So I thought I’d try and come up with some clever title for this post, since both tigers and dragons are subjects, (in a matter of speaking) of this post. But, as you may probably have guessed by now, the only thing that kept popping into my head was  “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” Yes. So I took the easy route. Pathetic isn’t it? I have no imagination. *sigh*

Anyway, today I thought I’d show you more great stuff from the site of NineDirections.com, as Matthew was kind enough to send me more pictures of his work. The first item on the list today are more pics of the Ninja Shuko (Tiger Claws) from the last post on the topic. First we have a really cool pic of the Shuko hand hoop being forged.

Shuko - Forging the Hand Hoop

Shuko - Forging the Hand Hoop

And here we have a couple of cool shuko just hanging out and acting all cool…

Ninja Shuko (Toger Claws) - Just Hanging Out

Ninja Shuko (Toger Claws) - Just Hanging Out

A pair of Shuko with their battle faces on… >: (

Shuko - Claws Out!

Shuko - Claws Out!

Enter the Shuko! LOL… OK, ok… I get it. Enough with the Shuko.

So how about… Dragons? Specifically Dragon Tails? Yeah, I thought so… Dragon Tails, also sometimes called Rope Darts or Dragons Tongues, are basically a small blade attached to length of rope anywhere from five to who-know-how-many feet in length.

Dragons Tail

Dragons Tail

They can be spun at great speeds, and controlled via cord or chain, can be used to cut or penetrate hard targets at distance. A rather intimidating weapon, indeed. I’ve always loved the rustic feel of raw sharpened steel, and Matthew at Nine Directions has, as usual, replicated the look beautifully.

Dragons Tail - Edge

Dragons Tail - Edge

So what we have here, folks, is a heavy slab of steel, with sharp edges, on a rope. You can’t beat that with a baseball bat. Yet another example of some excellent work by NineDirections!

Dragons Tail – [Nine Directions]

Ninja Shuko – [Nine Directions]

Abominable Batarangs…

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

I ran across an interesting set of throwing stars, of a rather counter intuitive design. Yes, I said counter intuitive.  Yes, I know, not exactly the words you’d expect to see in the same sentence as “throwing stars” but that’s just how it is. Let me show you the counter intuitive goods:

Rainbow Batman Batarangs

Rainbow Batman Batarangs

Yeah… Rainbow Batarangs. Two words you never thought you’d see in the same sentence no? “Rainbow” and “Batarang”? Yeah, me neither. But there it is. A far cry from the rather beautiful, jet black batarangs of The Dark Knight. And entirely out of character. The Bats does not do light colors. I can pretty much guarantee you that.

In fact, I think the day that the Batman uses rainbow finished batarangs is the day he trades in his black (or navy blue, depending on what era you are partial to) superhero costume, and dons a multicolored spandex body suit and cape, complete with a big, bright, rainbow colored clown fro, and big red nose. At which point even the Joker would probably throw in the towel, and give up his life of crime forever. I kid you not.

But don’t hold your breath. It ain’t ever gonna happen. The Bats just ain’t that kind of guy.

Either way, you are hopefully beginning to see why I consider these designs are  counter intuitive. But wait! There’s more! Besides the completely off color scheme, I find the batarang design fundamentally flawed. Yes. I do. I really do.

Oh don’t look at me like that, I idolize the Bats just as much as the next guy, In fact, he is actually my favorite superhero, followed closely by Wolvie. But I still think this batarang design just… Sucks. Yeah. That would be the technical term. Batarang Suckage. And you can quote me on that.

You do know I can hear you right? No reason to yell. “Blasphemy!”, “Sacrilege!”, “How dare I!?” Whatever. Put a sock in it. If you’ll stop frothing at the mouth in rage and anger for a moment, I’ll explain why I feel as I do.

First and foremost, the first and original incarnation of the “Batarang”, as it was called, was never intended to be a shuriken. It was intended to be a custom, Batman designed boomerang. Combining a high tech computer controlled propulsion system, with the traditional Australian throwing weapon design, it was designed for double duty as either a traditional boomerang whose trajectory could be modified, or a simple impact thrower.

That implementation made sense. Even though it was much smaller, the boomerang-like curved shape of  the weapon, (even if it did have uncharacteristically sharp inner contours) and even the name, all made sense: Bat+Boomerang=Batarang!

However with the advent of “Batman Begins” (at least in the movies) the batarang concept was corrupted in homage to his Ninjutsu training. The weapon, which actually became quite a distinctive character, (Yes, I said “character”. Weapons are just as much characters in movies as the actors that wield them. But this is a discussion for a nother post.  🙂 ) was recast as a bat styled shuriken.

And that is where they went wrong.

A quick look at any of the many, many traditional Japanese hira shuriken (throwing star) designs, will quickly reveal that they all have one characteristic that the batarang does not. They are generally radially symmetrical in at least 3 axes. And those that aren’t are throwing spikes, or bo-shuriken, which are completely different.

Now this multi axis symmetry has several benefits. It helps make a shuriken’s rotation consistent and predictable in midflight. It also positions the bulk of the mass of the weapon behind each point and as it rotates towards the target, so as to increase the depth of penetration upon impact. And it also increases the chances that a point sticks into the target by giving each point the greatest possible amount ot time pointing to the target for any give number of points, and for any given number of rotations, as it flies to the target.

And therein lies the kicker. The batarang design, violated and heinously pressed into services as a bat shuriken, completely flies in the face of this tried and true conventional wisdom, and is only symmetrical in one axis. Down the center. It’s center of gravity is offset from the line of it’s points, and it is assymety is such that it is only likely to stick at one of two positions.

Now that’s just poor shuriken design if you ask me. I can see the need for the Bats to have some way of marking his work, and a bat shuriken is certainly a cool one, however I don’t really see the point of compromising the design of a weapon in order to do so. He could just as easily have used a symmetrical 4 point shuriken, utilizing a half bat wing for each point. Or even a whole bat.

So long as it was radially symmetrical, it would have worked brilliantly. And it would still have conveyed the whole Bat-thing just as well. But I will admit that the concept of the Bat shuriken is still kinda cool. I Just wish they didn’t have to completely obliterate the effectiveness of the weapon in order to achieve those cool aesthetics…

Rainbow Batman Batarangs – [The Happy Ninja]

An Evil Reptilian Bow…

Monday, September 28th, 2009

It’s been a while since I posted about any projectile weapons, so when I saw this, I thought: “Well it’s was about time!”. Allow me to present… The Deathstrike bow!

Deathstrike Medieval Bow

Deathstrike Medieval Bow

A rather ornate, interesting design, no? Now this is a bow that likes attention! This design appears to be a variation of the traditional asiatic composite bow, a form of recurve bow. When strung, the limbs curve away from the shooter towards the ends, and then back towards the shooter closer to the grip, often called the reflex-deflex design.

When traditionally made, this design is very powerful, as the more reflex (or is it deflex?) you can build into the limbs, the more energy they can store, compared to a straight bow, for a given length of limb. Most folks may be familiar with the design from Mongolian lore, as they feature prominently in movies and history books, but the design was used by many other well known cultures, such as the Chinese, the Huns, Greeks, and the Turks.

Of the lot, my personal favorite composite bow design, at least where aesthetics are concerned, comes from one of the not so well known cultures; the Scythians. But this is a topic I will have to treat in another post.

Today, however we have a replica of the venerable recurve composite bow, with a unique twist. This bow is made of a single piece of wood, as opposed to the multiple layers of wood, horn and sinew that a traditional composite bow, so it will be no where near as powerful, and probably not last very long if you tried to use it. But it certainly looks… homicidal. Methinks, especially if you break it while it’s strung 🙂 Yeah. My advice? Don’t do that. With ANY bow.  But I digress.

This bow, unlike most others, has talons… yes, talons protruding from the back of the bow, which has then been covered in skin from some poor exotic reptile who was just minding it’s own  business when some heartless loon decided it’s back would look better on a poor replica of a compound bow. Such is life. Oh, and did I mention that it comes with 3 similarly finished arrows?

GASP Wow! a whole THREE ARROWS!!. I could kill an ARMY of trolls with those three arrows…! What do they expect me to do with three arrows eh? Shoot them, then run into the battlefield and retrieve them from the bodies of my victims, then run back out and shoot them again? lol… I might as well run into battle with a hearty battle cry, an arrow in each hand, and one between my teeth, and just stab peeps with the arrows as I run by… ROFLMAO…

OK, ok, I kid, I kid… 😛 the arrows are obviously just accessories. I still just found it a little humorous. I mean look at the name. The DeathStrike bow! Just a wee bit over the top, no? Like you could annihilate an army of Orcs with it. But then they give you only 3 arrows…OK… I admit I am waay too easily amused… Just ignore me. 🙂

Anyway, not to disparage this fine weapon, but to me, besides the fact that I cannot think of any practical advantage those talons might impart to the smooth operation of the bow itself, (besides making it look mean), I think this is a bow might just want to be something else. A lizard maybe? Perhaps a gecko? Not that it matters, it wasn’t really designed for daily use anyway.

Either way, reptilian bows are a cool idea. I’d like to see one made that would actually be fully functional. With perhaps with just a single talon at each end for stringing. In black of course. Yeah.

Deathstrike Medieval Bow – [NorthStar Collectibles]

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