Where Did Axe Throwing Originate (History, Popularity, Fact & Rules)

Where Did Axe Throwing Originate

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Axe throwing is an outgrowing sport right now, but the use of an ax was a lot of different years back. This tool was first invented in the Stone Age when it didn’t have any handles attached to the edge.

Since then, after loads of evolution and changes, the modern axe has turned into its new form. People have made a sport out of the art of throwing an ax. Do you know where did axe throwing originate? Let’s look deeper into this matter. 

History of Axe Throwing

An axe is an ancient tool and a weapon as well. Some claim that the Vikings were the first to make axes. Some speculate that it is European soldiers. The origins of an ax are intricate and obscure. 

Though it is currently often used as a tool, people used to use it as a weapon back then. Axes were utilized as both defensive and offensive weapons during the period. 

It was in 1940 when it was first introduced as a sport. The woodsmen showed their skills and showed off their equipment in lumberjack competitions. Officially, the lumberjack competition started in the 1960s. The intriguing truth is that this tournament is open to people of all genders and ages

Axe throwing was first seen in North America. It became popular in Toronto in 2006 as a recreational activity. Soon enough, it became a worldwide phenomenon. In Europe, axe throwing started its journey in 2001, and in 2016 it became commercial. Now lumberjacks around the world have started this competition as a form of sport.

Axe Throwing Fact

Axe throwing wasn’t a regular thing when some friends tried it to get out of boredom. Since then, there has been no looking back on the history of ax throwing. Multiple leagues are going on all over the world. 

Did you know there is a legit National Axe Throwing Federation and a World Axe Throwing League for axe-throwing competitions? Yes, you heard it right.

Additionally, there is a Backyard Axe Throwing League as well. 

Before participating in axe throwing, you need to prepare your ax first. Not all axes are great for axe throwing. To do so, you need to select the best axes for winning the competition. 

Though traditional wooden axes are more popular, they are sensitive to beginners. If you want to start with axe throwing, try to choose a heavier ax rather than the lighter one. 

It will assist you in pinpointing your target. When you develop a good skill, take the lighter axe. In the history of axe throwing, the most popular axe is the tomahawk ax. 

Now make a DIY target or buy from the store, and start practicing in your backyard.

Game Rules

The rule is different in different leagues. 

  • The NATF goals are divided into four zones: three major and one additional. 
  • WATL targets are divided into five major zones and one additional zone. 
  • The throwing line should be around 12 feet away from the target to allow the axe to rotate just once. 
  • The leagues use two main types of axes: small (600–800 g) for regular games and large (1000–1500g) for “tiebreakers.” 
  • The previously listed weights solely pertain to the blade. 
  • The IATF standards allow only axes with hardwood handles to be used. However, the WATL rules do not.

Francisca Axe

Francisca is a kind of throwing axe which was a weapon for the Franks from the early middle age. Most probably, this is the first throwing ax in history. 

The head is arch-shaped, with a round eye. The short wooden handle is attached to the round eye tightly. 

The average weight of this axe is 600gm. And the length of the head is 5–6 inches.

Modern Axes

Aside from hardwood handles, plastic and steel handles are becoming increasingly popular. Wooden handles are difficult to maintain and can slip off the head, causing accidents. 

Furthermore, wooden handles require special attention. Axes with plastic handles are a good option if you want something long-lasting and low-maintenance. 

Axes and hatchets made of fiberglass are extremely useful. They are more durable and easier to use for newbies.


Is axe throwing good for muscle building?

Axe throwing can be a great exercise. Ax throwing needs the power to have a perfect throw. And when you throw an axe from a distance to the target, your body muscles like arms, abs, back, hamstring, legs, and other muscles get involved. If you can maintain it regularly, it will help you build up muscle.

Is fiberglass axe handle better than a wooden one?

When selecting an axe for axe throwing, choose one that is shock-absorbing. The better the shock absorption property of your axe, the better the result. Compared to traditional wood handles, fiberglass handles works perfectly fine. Even sometimes works even better. Though fiberglass ax comes a bit pricy, the properties it offers are worth buying it.

Who is the best axe thrower in the world?

Mike Philabaum, an American, is the greatest axe thrower as of 2021. He was the WATL Tournaments champion. An American also took home the runner-up prize. Michael Theadoru is his name. They are now the world’s top axe throwers.

Final Verdict

The fascinating history of axe throwing is worth sharing. Though where did axe throwing originate a tough one to answer. That’s why we tried to put all the theories together, and the rest is up to your preference.

Axe throwing has gotten its way out of being just a lumberjack’s thing. You can enjoy axe throwing with your family in your backyard.

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