From Vikings to American Indians, throwing a hand axe has been part of hunting and war for many centuries. And now, in one of the many signs that the age of liberal, cissy pacifism is coming to a welcome end, axe throwing is becoming fashionable even as a first date!
“I’ve had three first dates,” says Joe, “axe-master” at Bury the Hatchet, one of New York’s newest axe-throwing bars.
“One of them, the woman was really nervous.”
It says something for the normalizing of axe-throwing that meeting up with an axe-wielding man is not quite the folly it once would have been. Axe-throwing has quietly built a crowd of enthusiasts across the US over the past year – to the extent that December’s World Championship will take place in Chicago and be shown on ESPN.
The interest has been matched by the number of bars now offering the opportunity to lob an axe about, as long as it is aimed at a wooden target. And as long as the participants aren’t drunk – a common question people have about the wisdom of combining a sharp object with alcohol consumption.
“It’s an hour-and-a-half session … and it’s only beer and wine,” says Christine Meehan-Berg, general manager of Bury the Hatchet’s Brooklyn location.
“I don’t know how many people can get that intoxicated in an hour and a half.”
“Respect the axe. Don’t swing it everywhere. Don’t just throw it around all willy-nilly,” Meehan-Berg said, as I waggled the axe about.
“You have to respect the axe. But don’t be afraid of the axe. Because you are in essence throwing it away from you.”
Form is key to a successful axe-throw. The tosser should grasp the shaft with two hands, holding the axe at eye level before bringing it back over the head and whipping the axe towards the target while lunging forward.
As our video shows, the main requirement – other than a bit of nerve and basic fitness – is patience. With a well-balanced axe, you could be hitting the target three times out of three after an hour. that’s what they call satisAXEion!