axe throwing Archives - Whistle Punks

Whistle Punks venue

Bristol, Whistle Punks is coming!

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Whistle Punks is coming to Bristol.

This year Whistle Punks is set to open it’s fourth and biggest venue (so far). With six lanes, a bar and a pizza oven, this will be our most ambitious venue yet.

The Whistle Punks flagship will hopefully be moving into the former nightclub Panache that closed down in 2011. The final details on the All Saints Street venue are currently being struck and it could open as early as June 2019 if Bristol City Council approves the planning permission.

Bristol are you ready to throw axes with us at Whistle Punks?

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Axe throwing jargon busted

Axe throwing jargon busted

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Glossary of Axe Throwing Terms

It’s your first-time axe throwing. You’ve watched other throwers on your lane experience varying levels of success after their first attempts. Nobody stands out as a natural or consistently hits anywhere close to the bulls-eye.

It’s your turn now.

The instructor invites you on to the lane and hands you your axe. You are ready to launch that sucker into the bullseye first time, to see startled faces and mouths agape at your sheer, natural awesomeness. You’re going to set the tone for the rest of the session. You are here to dominate axe throwing from the start and everyone should be worried and impressed in equal measure.

You line up your throw, pull your arm back to load up your shot. You step forwards, swinging your arm down. You release the axe. Only to realise that it flies high, misses the target entirely, hits a point about four feet away from where you wanted it to go, and falls flat on the ground. It belongs in the bullseye and you were hoping that you’d be the one to send it home. If only you knew the techniques to be able to fix your throwing and understand the axe-throwing mumbo-jumbo that would’ve ensured only victory and the crowd’s undying adoration.

The following terms are commonly used in axe throwing and understanding them will give you that added axe throwing edge for smashing the competition.
Whether you’re a League Veteran or starting out for the first time, read up and learn how best to crush more bullseyes on your next visit.

Throwing Line – The first step is being handed your axe, the second step is up to the throwing line. The throwing line is a feature with a dual-purpose. It keeps the throwers safe by giving them a line which can only be crossed when both axes land still. It also provides throwers with a point of reference so that they can find their spot again for every throw thereafter. A thrower may need to step over this line with one foot to find their exact distance to throw, but both feet must end behind the line after the axe has been thrown. This keeps throwers away from any moving axes.

Find Your Spot – This is arguably the most important aspect of axe throwing. Everyone needs to find their own spot in front of the target, or more specifically their individual distance away from the target. Everybody’s spot is different based on height, build and mobility. Once you’ve thrown a few axes and they start getting stuck in the board, you are close to finding your spot. Once you have found your spot return to that spot when you throw and you’ll have an easier time sinking those axes.

Perfect Rotation – Your distance from the target determines the amount of rotation the axe will do in the air when thrown. You want the axe to rotate a full 360 degrees in the air for it to land in the board. If you are too far away from the target, the axe will spend too much time in the air and over-rotate. It will hit with the top face of the axe rather than the blade edge. If you are too close, you won’t give the axe enough time in the air to spin a full 360 and it will hit with the handle first. As soon as you notice that your axe is landing in the target with the handle facing away at a 45-degree angle, you have Perfect Rotation.

Late/Early Release – Now you have your distance perfected and your rotation nailed, it then comes down to your aim. The biggest factor that will make you hit the target where you are aiming is when you decide to let go of the axe. If your axe is always going high, you’re letting go too early. If your axe is always hitting low, you’ve let go way too late. As a general observation from our instructors, the first two-handed throws tend to go high because people let go too early, and throws go low when throwers think too hard about what they should be doing.

Good Axe! – This is what you want to hear! Hearing this makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside because you’ve nailed an impressive, and seemingly effortless, throw. Another thing that shows it’s a good throw is the noise it makes when hitting the target. Rather than the axe making a loud noise and the axe fighting to stay in the board, it glides in effortlessly and hits the target quietly as it snuggles itself between the wood grain.

Cutting the Paint – Now that you have your technique refined and bullseyes are no longer safe from you, it’s time to get competitive and start scoring some points. On the boards at Whistle Punks, you’ll see two red rings, a bullseye and two top corner dots. Sinking your axe in the large ring is worth one point and the smaller ring is worth three points. If you hit the bullseye we’ll award you five, and if your axe flies gracefully through the air and lands into the corner dot, you’ll have earned seven points, the highest points available in one throw!

If the blade of your axe even touches the red paint on any of the scoring areas (Cuts the Paint), we’ll award you the higher point. Many games have come down to the instructor’s judgement and their decision as to whether an axe has cut the paint. It’s an important element to keep in mind.

Sevens (sometimes known as game changers) – Sevens are pretty much the right of passage for anyone who wants to really test their axe throwing mettle. If you find that bullseyes have become too easy or you’re in a tournament and feeling desperate, six points behind and you’re down to your last axe, the seven becomes your only salvation. If you’re one of the legends that lands that perfect throw into either of the seven pointers, we have a rule at Whistle Punks; that regardless of what other throwers or spectators are doing, they all must pay respect to the seven scored and the person who scored it, by making as much noise as possible in celebration. It doesn’t happen all that often, so it is an amazing spectacle when it does.

Ready to go axe throwing?—————————————————————————Written by Ben Cross

Two handed axe throwing

How to do a two handed throw with an axe

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Last time we checked out how to do a one-handed axe throw. This time we are taking a look at the two-handed throw. In many ways, the two-handed throw is easier than the one-handed throw. Our marketing executive almost exclusively throws two-handed.

two handed throw part 1
two handed throw part 2
two handed throw part 3
Stand behind the throwing line with your feet close together. When you throw you will want to be balanced.
Place two hands on the axe with the thumb of your top hand going up the haft
Raise the axe above your head. Make sure you don’t hit yourself in the head because that hurts.
two handed axe throw part 4
two handed axe throw part 5
two handed axe throw part 6
Make sure the axe is in the middle of your body and you are facing where you want the axe to go.
Shift your weight on to your front foot and bring the axe out to the front at the same time. You will need to step forward with enough force to get the axe to the target
Release the axe in the direction you want it to go.
two handed axe throw part 7
two handed axe throw part 8
Remember your arm is doing the aiming and the power comes from the step.
Smash a bullseye!

Now you know the basic steps for nailing the two-handed axe throw but our instructors will be able to tailor the throw to suit your needs.

Here’s a video on throwing a two-handed throw.

Baz - axe throwing league extraordinaire

It’s an addictive feeling to get that perfect throw!

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 Reasons to join the axe throwing league – Part Four

This is it, our final interview with our league members. To see this series out, we’re hearing from Baz. We chat about his time in the Whistle Punks Axe Olympics, and who he thinks would win in an axe-throwing duel between himself and Druss the Legend!

What was it that first attracted you to the league?
I’d been in before for a normal session. After that, I was pretty much hooked. I just wanted to throw more axes and sink them into the wood. It’s such an addictive feeling to get that perfect throw and watch the targets disintegrate as you get better. It’s so satisfying to wear out a bullseye that you want to do more of it.

What was the highlight of the league for you?
It has to be competing and winning in the axe Olympics. It’s a game we sometimes play after all the serious competition has finished for the evening and there is time left for fun and games.
With axes laid on the floor on each lane, the rule is you must do a different throw or trick-shot for each axe. By running across the lanes, the winner is the person who throws all the axes fastest, but there is a catch. Depending on where the axe lands on the board determines how many points you score.

By scoring points with trick-shots, the final total at the end gets converted into the number of seconds that is knocked off your overall time. You’re encouraged to throw the axes quickly, but accurately as well. If you throw the axes quickly but miss every target, you might get beaten by someone who completes slower but nails every shot. We had four different throws; the underarm throw, reversed axe throw, two axes simultaneously into two targets, and throwing for 7s. I landed all of them in the fastest time, and I kicked everyone’s ass!

What were the other league members like and did you make friends?
There is a lot of support and encouragement between the league members. There are always people cheering you on when you’re competing or if you land a difficult trick-shot or manage to accurately smash a seven-pointer again and again. It’s great having that comradery, and a sense of belonging. Everyone is included in this WhatsApp group we have, and we keep in touch regularly and plan events away from axe-throwing too. The staff are always really helpful too. Some days you might come in and the axes just aren’t falling right, but they will always make sure you start nailing bullseyes after a bit.

What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about joining the league?
Just do it! You won’t regret it. It gets to the point where even on a Tuesday you’re missing axe-throwing already and you’re looking forward to next Monday when you get to throw axes again. You get passionate about it. Some members have even gone out and bought their own axes to bring in and practice with.

If you could be any axe-wielding character from fiction who would you be?
Druss the Legend from the David Gemmell books. He’s just an infinite badass, but I’d still beat him at axe throwing.

Check out the details for the league here.

See our previous interview with Matt here.

Written by Ben Cross


Check out Matt, one of our winners of the Whistle Punks axe throwing league.

Being the league champion is the best feeling!

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 Reasons to join the axe throwing league – Part Three

This time we’re talking with Matt about his best moments during the league and asking what it felt like to earn the title of Whistle Punks Axe Throwing Champion! He also explains the real reason why he bought his other half a pair of her very own custom throwing axes.

What was it that first attracted you to the league?
Lauren and I  had been a few times before and we’d already thoroughly enjoyed it, although we both wanted to be able to practice axe-throwing more often. Being on the regular sessions is a lot of fun, but it felt like a teaser for something more. I wanted to spend time really honing my skills, because it’s addictive when you first start so you just want to get better and better. It was also a socially driven decision. We were looking for something fun to do on Monday evenings and make new friends in the city. It definitely fits the bill for that.

What was the highlight of the league for you?
Winning! Obviously taking home the axe as the league champion is a great feeling. I won on my last axe and sinking a bullseye! Ian was the runner-up, and if he’d scored a seven, the crown would have been his. It was an incredibly close game all the way through, and everyone was cheering and supporting us at the end. Winning aside, we also go out for beers and pizza after league nights, and we all keep in touch regularly in a WhatsApp group chat. During times when the league hasn’t been on we’ve met up occasionally to do things away from axe-throwing which has been fun too.

I even bought my partner Lauren a pair of her own throwing axes that we’re able to practice with on League nights, although it might have been so I could have a go at throwing them too. It really becomes something that you want to immerse yourself in and keep progressing at.

What were the other league members like and did you make friends?
I think I’ve touched on that a little bit in the last question, but it’s only because all league members become your friends. We’ve all bonded through a mutual love of axe-throwing. It’s a unique sport because there are lots of different personalities from varied backgrounds, and we spend one evening a week competing, catching up and having fun. It’s great. It feels like an alternatively popular sport, and that’s why it attracts so many people.

What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about joining the league?
You mean besides, just do it? It’s a fun activity, the staff are great and there’s normally beer and pizza afterwards. What more could you want?

If you could throw an axe into or at any object, what would it be?
A clay pigeon flying through the air! To hit that, you’d have to be an axe-throwing superhero. But it would look and feel amazing to hit something moving so quickly, and then have the satisfying smash as it explodes.

See our previous interview with Lauren here.

Written by Ben Cross

Lauren - axe throwing interview

I took the win by a single point! It was epic!

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 Reasons to join the axe throwing league – Part Two

This time we are speaking to Lauren, another league patron, telling us about the highlight of her league experience so far!

What was it that first attracted you to the league?

My partner Matt and I had already been to regular sessions twice before over a six-month period. We’d been with work as part of a team-building day, and we’d come with friends afterwards to show them how much fun it was (and maybe to show off how good we were after coming before). We took a chance that because we’d enjoyed it so much already, that we’d absolutely love the league, and we weren’t disappointed!

What was the highlight of the league for you?

My best throw was during the quarterfinals of the first league we were a part of. It was a close game all the way through. I don’t think there were more than two points separating us at any point. We’d both played two games already and had to play a third one to decide who went through.

It came down to the last axe. My opponent was one point in front, but on her last throw scored a bullseye. This meant she was now six points ahead. I still had my last throw, and the only way I could take the win now was hitting one of the tiny dots in the top corners which are worth seven points. As soon as the axe left my hand I knew it was a good throw. It felt perfect. I landed the axe right in the middle of the seven and took the win by a single point! It was epic!

What were the other league members like and did you make friends?

We’ve talked about this already with some members of the league in the past over drinks. We think it’s brilliant because it attracts so many different types of people. I used to take part in roller derby as a sport and that was similar too. There are members from various walks of life, all friendly, but all share a similar craziness in a way that brings us together through axe throwing.

What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about joining the league?

I’m sure everyone you talk to will give you this answer but just do it. Don’t wait for six months like we did. Just think about all the axe-throwing you’d be missing out on.

If you could throw an axe into or at any object, what would it be?

Hmmmmm… It must be something that would explode when it got hit. My first thought is a balloon full of glitter, but that wouldn’t be spectacular enough. Maybe a pumpkin dipped in liquid nitrogen because it would shatter into pieces. Or what about a chain reaction that would cause a domino effect and end with a mechanism that throws an axe perfectly into the target. How satisfying would that be?

See our previous interview with Ian here.


Written by Ben Cross