Questions & Answers
Videos Articles About John Bailey Knife Design

Questions and Answers

(Q) Andy asks:... I have been throwing for a little while now and can't seem to stay consistent. When I move back the handle slaps the target and when it sticks, it won't stick the same way twice. What am I doing wrong?
(A) Andy...I have no idea what kind of knife you have. How old you are, how far you want to throw and at what kind of target? Do you want to throw by the blade? If you are, then you might even have the wrong knife for that style. About the only way I can help you is with these throwing rules. FIRST HOLD THE LIGHT END and THROW THE HEAVY END. SECOND IF THE HANDLE IS UP (when the knife hits the target, WHETHER IT STICKS OR NOT!!) MOVE UP. (inches NOT steps) THIRD If the Handle hits pointing DOWN. move BACK. Again: (inches NOT steps)

(Q) ADAM asks:.. The knife I have sticks good at the 1/2 and full spin, but when I move back for a 1-1/2 spin I have trouble keeping the knife on the target let alone sticking it. I know I am just a beginner but shouldn't I be able to stick much farther back?
(A) Yes you can throw farther. The mistake beginners make all to often is buying to light of a knife to start with. Your first knife should weigh a minimum of 10 ounces; 12 to 14 ounce knives are even better. The light knives are the hardest to learn and you won't have much fun for a long time. Whereas with a 12 to 15 inch knife (at the right weight) will have you splitting apples at 12 feet in a week. Before you know it you will be doing it at 18 to 20 feet.

(Q) Jimmy asks... How do you hold your knife when you throw?
(A) As to the way I hold and throw knives; I threw many different knives and styles on the tape. Most of the time I like to throw by the handle. For distance, I hold low with my thumb on the side. This means, with a knife 12 to 14 inches long, the first full spin is at about 10 - 12 feet. The next full spin is at about 18 feet.

(Q) Jason asks... Have you ever tried throwing kukris?
(A) Hi Jason... Been there, done that. They throw well, but are a heavy. There are two things to remember. The handles on the most common type have a thin plate at the butt. This will take the hide off your fingers when you release as neatly as a deer skinned with a chain saw. Next never over throw (hitting with the handle up)a kukri, or at least try not to. Because of the radical drop point, the stupid thing will hit with the rotation will be transferred to energy almost equal to the throw itself. In other words, if you see it come in handle up; get ready to run. It will be come back to you. FAST

(Q) Chuck asks... My knives are 13-1/2 " and weigh about 20 oz. They are handle throwers and do not throw well by the blade, at least for me. I can however stick them at 1-1/2 turns but cannot get them to stick at the 8' distance for the 1/2 turn. I have tried different grips etc. but nothing has worked so far.
(A) Chuck Try this... Hold the knife by the blade edge out, thumb on SIDE... Choke up so your palm is over the side of the blade. The point is at the back of the palm but not against your wrist. Throw with the palm and blade side going forward. This is the KA-BAR throw or bayonet throw. The knife will turn in flight to vertical and will hit the target the same way.

(Q) Newbie asks:... I am a little confused (a lot confused). I read that the one turn is executed at about 12' . Is this with a 12" or longer knife. The reason I ask is that I am now throwing a 8" knife at what I feel is one full turn and I am only 8' from my target. This is done with a handle hold. I move to 12' and get a good stick with a blade hold, which I feel is probably a 1-1/2 turn. This may sound stupid, but is a full turn considered a handle hold when the knife rotates once around and then sticks. In other words when I release: the blade is pointed at the target and makes one complete revolution and then sticks. Also I move back to approximately 15' and now hold with the handle again and get a stick. Will these distances change with knife length? Any info will be greatly appreciated.
(A) Newbie... The longer the knife, the longer the distance it will take for it to make a complete 360 degree flip. A 8" knife can easily make an extra half spin at the same distance that a 12" knife would make one complete 360 degree spin. Better yet forget about spin count entirely. Throw the knife with good form with no side arm action from any place you like. Chances are it won't stick, but hit with the handle up or down. If it slaps the target with the handle straight up, move your BACK FOOT half the length of the knife; i.e. 8" knife move the toe of your trailing (BACK FOOT) 4" forward and throw the EXACT way as the first. Or if the handle is down (6 o-clock) move the BACK FOOT back 4" and throw the EXACT same way. If the handle comes in butt first, move forward or backward one and half the length of the knife. There is a blade throw in between each handle hold throwing position marked on the ground. You should be able to stick your third knife with this method, up to about 30 or 40 feet.

(Q) Meston asks:... What's Side-arming!!!??? And how do you cure it?
(A) Meston ... Side-arming simply means throwing with the arm traveling at a diagonal instead of vertically. True side-arming means throwing with the arm horizontal, something knife throwers seldom do. I show in my video, throwing the knife through what I call a "SLOT BLINDER". It is nothing more than a prop that forces you to throw and release the knife vertically. You make one out of anything that can stand or hang side by side. Imagine throwing a knife through a 2" crack in an open door or through between two hanging ropes. It will cure you. It will even make a good thrower look bad. It also makes for good entertainment.

(Q) Asked... Can I throw a folding knife, like a Buck 110 or switch blade?
(A) You can definitely throw a folder... You just can't throw it indefinitely. Cheap gravity knives hold up best, or I should say fall apart slowest.

(Q) I am getting so Frustrated, I can't get my knives to stick?
(A) Dear Frustrated ... I know exactly how you feel, we have all been there. The only tips I can give you without knowing the type of knife you have,(there are many professional knives out there) would be as follows: (1) At the release, the opposite foot to your throwing hand, should be forward. (2) Look how the knife hits the target. (regardless of whether it sticks or not.) (3) Do not move your trailing foot until you mark the ground were your toe is. (4) If the knife hits with the handle up, (90 degrees straight up); move your back foot mark forward 1/2 the length of the knife OR hold higher up on the handle. The reverse is done when the handle is 90 degrees straight down. Move back OR hold lower on the handle. NEVER DO BOTH AT THE SAME TIME and don't change the speed or wind up. If you do, you will always have a hard time moving from target to target and your in day to day practice. It would be better if you watch my tape. The above mentioned problems are covered in it. Good luck, and don't get to frustrated. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

(Q) Reiki. Asks... I ordered a set of hibben-like throwers (cheap-o but feel pretty good in me hands. At first I just chucked the knife and everything from miscellaneous spots, not really identifying spin or anything, just chucking it like a baseball sorta and it'd stick maybe once out of 30 or 40 throws. Then I read up about the half-turn throw, and I seem to be doing okay with that, about 7 out of 10 at like 8 to 10 feet...but when I start approaching the full turn with a handle throw, my distance doesn't seem to matter and my throws' consistency really starts lacking, which I am starting to get frustrated with. Perhaps it's because I feel very comfortable with the blade grip. Is there any unwritten rule about the grips I use? Because if I get to comfy, I might not adapt as well to other gripping styles...or whatever help or advice could be offered would be >appreciated.
(A) Reiki ... In my video most all the throws were made with Hibben knives. Gil is a good friend of mine and I showed him a thing or two he never tried. For one thing there is more than one way to throw by the blade; and to be sure you can throw by the handle. I threw the Hibben "Pro Thrower II" 83 feet in my Video. It's hard to explain how to hold a knife in print but here go's. If you have the UC454 or UC948 hold the blade between your thumb & forefinger like your going to pinch someone. Rest the point in the crease of your middle finger, the handle should be pointing straight up. When you throw, have your lift foot forward knees slightly bent and be sure to keep the knife vertical all the way through the throw.
Good luck
In a few days I'm going to buy myself a kitana, I was wondering if anyone had ever head of a way to throw these swords... If anyone ever did (even if I doubt it possible) hear about a way to throw them please send me a message!!!!
Anything long, has to much momentum when it comes to a sudden stop (when it sticks.) So it flips up, which is not good on tips if it comes in the least bit diagonally. You're better off using it like a spear or Roman dart.

Dear Sir:
I was wondering what is the difference between leather and vulcanized grips on your knifes.
Hi Joe...
The Vulcanized handles is a very hard substance similar to hard board in appearance. However it is considerably stronger, and made from entirely different material. Imagine linen saturated in a black epoxy type solution, than pressure laminated. That's the best way I can explain it.
It is the handle of choice, if you are looking for something "dressier" for you're knife. The leather handles [on the S K O knives anyway] are made from thick full grain sole leather. The frontier shooters and those looking for authentic looking knives, like the leather the best. They can be carved and sanded to fit your hand just the way you like it. After they have been handled for awhile, they take on a polished look; that I think looks very attractive. Neither one likes to be hit with another knife. The Vulcanized handles can chip, and the leather will peel. Sometimes you can wet down the leather, and hammer it back to form and let it dry. So as far as function goes, they both perform pretty much the same. All in all, it boils down to personal preference. I hope this will be of some help. If you have any other questions feel free to write.

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