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Competition Rules and Styles

To date I know about three or four different knife throwing competitions going on each year (see competions). I have the basic rules and style sheets for two of them, covering three different clubs. As I learn of more, I will record it here. Last update Jan. 1999

The American Knife Throwers Alliance (AKTA) , and The Pacific Knife Throwers (PKT) both follow AKTA rules. They are as follows:

At least 16 inches in diameter. Bull's eye of 2.5 inches in circle or equalateral triangle. Usually black. Second, red ring of 8 inches, and white outer ring of 16 inches. There are four targets placed at varying hights from 3 ft. (to the center of the bull's eye) to 5 feet. They should be made of soft wood if possible to encourage sticks.

Only knives are allowed. Not spikes, axes, shuriken, etc. The knives must be at least 12 inches long (though some flexibility in this regard has been permitted judges and organizers), and must be no wider than 3 inches at their widest point. There are a separate set of guidelines governing axe competitions. For example, hawks must be wooden handled, not all-metal jobs.

Bull's eye 3 points. Second ring 2 points, third ring 1 point. Sometimes a half a point is scored for any stick outside the white if the target face is larger than 16 inches. This option is up to the conference organizers, and judges and must be declared at the beginning of the competition. A knife's point must be embedded in the target for a score. Typically, the knife is straightened to a 90 deg. angle with the face of the target, and scored from there. If the knife blade touches the border of a higher ring, the higher score is awarded. While the basics remain the same, there are some changes for the competition in 1999. See New For 1999 below!

Range saftey is specified within the limits of the available site. Spectators should be kept away from the nearest targets and well behind the participants. A staging line for the next contestant should be well back, 12 feet at least, from the throwing line, and the spectator section should be 20 feet behind that!

Throws are made from 12 or more feet from the targets. The hawk line is 14 feet. A participant lines up with the first target and throws one knife. That throw is scored, the thrower retrieves the knife, and then moves over to the next target and repeats the process until he/she has thrown at all four targets and received scores for each. A scorekeeper will record the scores by paticipant for each round. This is a freestyle process. Nothing in the rules specifies the number of revolutions the knife must make. A long half turn, or a short turn and a half, one turn, even no turns if you can manage it, are all acceptable.

This process repeats for each throwerer until each has stood 10 times before the targets having thrown 40 knives. The scores are then added and placement determined. It is somewhat traditional to break up the competition into two sets of 5 rounds each with lunch or the distance contest (see below) intervening. In very large gatherings, it will be permissible to limit the competition to 5 rounds, 20 knives instead of 10!

There have been some changes. See New for 1999

AKTA contests frequently feature a distance competition. Throwers can pick one of the four targets, and then have 3 tries to make a stick from 19 feet or better. Success qualifies them for the distance round. In the distance round, qualified throwers have 5 chances to stick from as far back as they can, or the site permits. There is traditionally a single trophy for the distance winner, no second prize!

There is a nice compilation of the AKTA rules with a somewhat different emphasis, and some useful graphics at this Sticking Point page

New for 1999!
In the 1999 AKTA nationals (Awendaw S.C., 4/9-10), there will be an expanded format. First there will be two sets of 4 targets and two scoring judges to help speed the process. A competitor will throw at one set of four and then line up to throw at the second. Each person will throw 5 rounds at each set of targets for a total of 40 throws as before. Second, a thrower will be permitted to carry 4 knives and throw all 4 (moving from one target to the next) before retrieving his or her knives. Third, a two turn competition will be added with an 18 foot minimum throwing distance line, though this is also a free form event. That means you do not have to throw two turns from this line. The hawk line is also being moved from 14' to a 12' minimum distance to accomodate those who want to throw hawks with short handles. Finally, while individual certificates will be awarded for best performance at the one turn, two turn, and hawk competitions, the trophies will go to those competitors who have the highest aggregate scores for all three (one turn, two turns, and hawk) competitions.

The International Knife Throwing Alliance (IKTA) competitions are very different. For one thing, the only IKTA competitions to date have been associated with the WWAC three day event in Las Vegas each year. They are set up to demonstrate control of the knife from various distances, using various numbers of revolutions.

Basically the same as their AKTA counterparts.

Basically same rules as for knives in the AKTA, except for length. That is, a knife must be a knife, and not a spike or axe, but there is no 12" lower limit to knife length, nor a minimum knife weight. If you want to throw 10" or even 6" knives, that's OK by IKTA rules.

Bull's eye is 5 points, second circle is 3, and third circle is 1 point.

Each contestant must throw 5 knives from each of 5 distances, demonstrating a different number of rotations from each. The distances and number of rotations are:

8 feet (6 for women), 1/2 turn
12 feet, 1 turn
15 feet, 1 and 1/2 turns
18 feet, 2 turns
21+ feet, freestyle

The distances are minimums for each round. Each competitor begins by throwing all 5 knives at the half turn distance. When each competitor completes the half turn, the field moves to the one turn distance, and so on until each competitor has thrown all 25 knives. When the scoring is complete, the six highest scoring competitors compete against one another in a second round of 25 knives exactly like the first. From this group, a winner is named.

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