This page is part of the official ARCHIVE COPY of the pioneering but abandoned Thrower website on knife throwing. Copyright and details

Comment by Christian Thiel: From the account of Blackie Collins, we know that Peter O'Donald was an accomplished knife thrower:

"In 1961 I had the pleasure of corresponding with Peter O'Donald. [...] Mr. O'Donald was interested in writing about subjects of which he had some knowledge. He did know a great deal about throwing knives and had actually spent much time designing and throwing knives so that when Willie used his knives it was in a creditable fashion. A bit on the flashy side, but creditable nevertheless."

(Blackie Collins, Knife Throwing - Sport .. Survival .. Defense, p. 27. Knife World Publications, 1978, ISBN 0940362031.)

Willy Garvin, ultimate knife thrower!

Willy Garvin is a fictional character in a series of books, and more famously comics, written by Peter O'Donnel. Willy is the side-kick of Modesty Blaise, a beautiful master of martial arts and many other skills needed to successfully guide a major criminal organization, and now work for the good-guys just for the adventure of it. Willy is no slouch himself in many skills, but his one great art is knife throwing, or more properly, throwing of any weapon suitable to the task, for Willy is a master thrower period!

This material is courtesy of Craig Malot of Australia ( It is from a few different Modesty Blaise books by Peter O'Donnell. This is by no means all the throwing material throughout the Modesty Blaise texts (including the comics), but it at least gives something of a feel for it.

I hope for some of you this introduction will lead you to want to get into Modesty Blaise yourself. She has quite a following in Scandinavia where the Modesty Blaise mailing list originates. Please check in by sending a message to In the messge put: subscribe modesty-blaise The list is not entirely automatic, but sooner or later, the list op will get to subscribe you. Volume is light.

From MODESTY BLAISE, Pan Books, 1965, pages 137-38

The blade was five and one half inches long, of fine steel honed to a perfect edge along the full length of one side. The curve to the poine was very slightly asymmetrical, and he realised that this was to balance the other edge, which was honed for only three inches from the point and then flattened out slightly up to the hilt. On this flattened edge, only a sixteenth of an inch thick, a slim fillet of brass had been bonded.

There was no cross-guard, only the elliptical base of the hilt, which extended a quarter of an inch all around the blade. Tarrant had expected that the hilt would be of sharkskin, but it was of black, sharply dimpled bone, rough to the touch - to guard against slipping in a moist hand, he guessed.

Tarrant looked at the top of the hilt and saw the small dot of metal which showed that the tang of the blade ran the full length of the hilt...

'I would have thought the hilt a little short for a secure grip', Tarrant said, absorbed.

'It gives three fingers and a thumb; that's enough for Willie'. She refilled Tarrant's glass. 'It's basically for throwing, and it has to be carried comfortably, so there is a limit on overall length.'

...'With a normal throw, held by the point, that knife makes a full revolution in twelve and a half feet; so it's travelling point-first between six and seven feet, and again between eighteen and nineteen. Any different range, beyond or between, you have to give more spin or more drag to change the rate of revolution.'

From SABRE-TOOTH, Pan Books, 1966, pages 39-40.

In practice, Tarrant had seen Willie throw back-handed, flicking the knife across the small of his back by power of the wrist alone and hitting a target fifteen feet away, dead centre. He had seen Willie make an overarm throw at a hundred feet, the knife thudding home within four inches of its mark.

What had intrigued Tarrant most was to see how Willie made his draw when the sterner practice began, when he stood with eyes closed and Modesty sent him staggering at any angle so that he had to draw and throw off-balance, in the way Modesty had just fired the Colt.

At first Tarrant could not see how it was done, could not see how the knife appeared in Willie's flickering hand with the blade held between his fingers. It was only when Willie slowed down, by request, that Tarrant saw the method. The knife was drawn with two fingers and thumb at the lowest point of the haft, and in the instant of drawing it was tossed fractionally to transfer the grip to the blade, near the point.

'He's a natural,' Modesty explained, smiling a little at Tarrant's incredulous stare. 'When Willie was concocted he stole the fastest set of reactions in the store - otherwise he'd have lost his fingertips long ago with that double-shuffle.'

Mail to mjr, goto Survival, or back to Thrower

This page is part of the official ARCHIVE COPY of the pioneering but abandoned Thrower website on knife throwing. Copyright and details