Saturday, September 26, 2009

Knife throwing in MW2

In the multiplayer trailer for Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2, which Fartknocckker analyzed in a recent post, the last scene shows a kill by throwing a knife. The scene renewed my longstanding interest in this arcane skill of the warrior.

When I was an high school, a contractor who laid some carpet at our house was skilled in throwing knives. He said he'd taught knife throwing in the Army. The guy could take any knife and flip it effortlessly, making it stick anywhere in the room. I was amazed.

I asked him to show me how he did it, and he tried to teach me his technique of holding the blade, and flipping the knife so that it rotated 180 degrees in flight. This technique involved judging the distance to get the right amount of spin, so the tip would be pointing at the target when it got there.

I tried and tried to do it, but I could never master this method. I had a cheap knock-off of a Sykes-Fairbairn British commando knife, which I managed to stick in a tree a few times. I ended up breaking about a half-inch off the tip of the blade of that knife, ruining its appearance. I gave up throwing knives after that, but I always thought it was cool.

I normally take a fixed-blade knife camping. I've noticed that Bear Grylls always carries a fixed-blade on his survival excursions, frequently using it to chop wood by holding the knife by the handle and pounding the back of the blade with a stick.

Bulk and weight are issues in backpacking. That's why I admired this United Cutlery Combat Commander knife I saw a few months ago in the BudK catalog, which has a full-tang skeletal frame for a slim profile and minimal bulk. It also reminded me of the knives used in Starship Troopers -- the one Clancy Brown throws to skewer Jake Busey's hand, and that Denise Richards uses to cut the snout off the brain bug.

BudK was selling the Combat Commander for a good price, so I ordered several of them -- one for myself, as well as blades for Fortiscule, jrySix and crownshend. I engraved our names on them, as you can see in the photo!

When I saw the knife thrown in the Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer trailer, I was excited to see a blade similar to my Combat Commander! The scene renewed my contemplation about knife throwing.

I have a theory that the method the man tried to teach me in high school -- the 180-degree tumble -- wastes energy with superfluous movement and wind resistence. It seems to me that more energy is transferred from the thrower to the target when the knife flies as much like a spear as possible.

After exhaustive research, which consisted of a Google search and viewing about a half dozen clips on YouTube, I found a video that seems to confirm my theory. This man, whom I gather might be a Russian paratrooper or Spetsnaz commando, demonstrates a quarter-turn technique that looks deadly and effective. Holding the knife by the handle, with his index finger stretched along the spine of the blade, he throws the knife straight at the target. He hits a head-sized target with a solid THUNK from across a parking lot!

Here's another video I found that appears to be of the same Russian dude, with a slow-motion sequence showing his arm movement.

This Russian method appears to be the way to go with knife-throwing. I know that some of my gamer friends on Sythbane Squadron are veterans, such as Fartknocckker. Do any of you guys have any training or experience with throwing knives? What was your experience like? What do you make of the technique in the MW2 multiplayer video, and in the YouTube video of the Russian?


Grant said...

Check out "No-Spin" knife throwing, or Combat Knife Throwing. I've been trying to teach myself, but its been hard to unlearn the traditional spinning style. I found a good book on on no spin throwing. If you find any instructions for that russian style, send me an email. Hope this helps.

Sithbanjo said...

Thanks, Grant! I'll give it a try.