‘Intentions do not insulate us from the consequences of our actions’
John D. Harrison
The Thronin Project, for me, is about two things – yes, I am learning to throw knives and axes to a world class standard, but it is also about examining the process of setting an audacious goal and then doing what it takes to turn that dream into a reality. In this way, whether you are a thrower or not, you will hopefully find something of value in what I write and in the weekly podcast I am producing to chart this journey.
One of the keys to setting and achieving stretch goals is to have accountability from the get go. Any endeavour challenging enough will have its dark times when progress is slow, the initial glamour has worn thin and we begin to question whether or not we should let it all go in exchange for less pressure and more time to squander on far more important things like TV and computer games! Accountability is the panacea to all such excuses and weaknesses – either you are going to show up, day after day and do what needs to be done, or you aren’t. Which is it going to be?
Understanding this, I have created this section of the site to keep a updated account of the timescale for the project, the benchmarks I need to attain in order to compete on the international stage, and my current performance. If this is of interest to you, read on…
There are a number of World Championship events held each year and I hope to compete in more than one, but for the purposes of tracking my progress, I am focusing on the ‘Big Throwers Meeting‘ – a World and European Championship tournament that takes place annually.
At this event there is a wide range of different categories in which one can compete, including duel throwing, Snife (snooker with knives!), silhouette challenges and distance throwing but I will be focusing on the ‘big 6’ – 3m, 5m, 7m knife throwing and 4m, 5m, 7m tomahawk or axe throwing. I may well throw my hat in with some of the other events too but for the purposes of accountability, I will be tracking these 6.
In 2014, in Callac (France) 147 participants competed (33 women and 114 men), representing 12 nations from around the globe. You can learn more about that remarkable event here, but for my purposes, here are the rankings that emerged from the contest:
The nature of the ‘Big Throwers’ competition is that each event consists of 21 throws at a target with a bulls eye and 4 more concentric circles moving outwards from the centre. The bull is 10 cm in diameter and each ring thereafter is 5 cm wide on each side (making the target diameter 50 cm in all).
A bulls eye secures the thrower 5 points, the next ring outwards is worth 4 and so on, the outer ring securing a single point only. With this in mind, a perfect round would constitute a total score of 105 (21 x 5).
This should help you evaluate the scores above, recognise the level of skill exhibited by the top throwers, and see just how much hard work I have ahead of me! If there is a data field with a blank, it is because I currently have no experience throwing at that range or with that implement.
If I were independently wealthy I might well be able to dedicate myself to several hours of throwing every day and accelerate my progress significantly. However, like most people, I have a challenging job, a family (including a young son who needs his Daddy time), and a host of other demands on my time. The danger here of course is that I could use these legitimate ‘excuses’ to allow my training to become sporadic and thus set myself up for a ‘respectable failure’.
The most effective way I know of avoiding this is to commit to a set period of time, or number of throws each day and follow through on them no matter what – if it is raining, I will be throwing, if I have a parents’ evening, I will be throwing earlier or later – no matter what, I intend to fit in a minimum of 315 throws each day (15 competition rounds). This equates to about an hour of solo throwing; it will require decent time management to stick to this schedule, but it is achievable.
The chances are that on certain days, I will throw more than this number, and provided I remain fresh and am keeping the rest of my life commitments in balance, that is fine too. I should say at this point that the Thronin Project would be an impossible undertaking, were it not for the support of my gorgeous wife Suzie, and my understanding little boy, Kit. I love them both very much and am humbled by their understanding and for cheering me on.