Random Axe of Kindness

Thunderbolt Chicago is an unassuming place–the building houses one wall lined with cages and wooden panels and another hosting a gigantic Chicago flag tapestry. There were, of course, two other walls, but I thrive on mystery. Let’s jump in!


1. Axe throwing is HARD

Our group, comprising my mom and the usual gang of misfits, stood behind a table while the owner and axe throwing coach walked us through the technique required to sink our hatchets into the wooden bullseye just a few yards ahead of us. Our first 20 attempts were all quite terrible, mostly resulting in the axe skittering across the floor after bouncing right off the board. Example:

2. Throwing an axe is NOTHING like throwing a ball

I mean…outside of the fact that you’re lobbing something through the air. Everyone tends to throw the axe with a strong bend in the elbow. Doing that simply results in over-rotation and a loud *thunk* when the flat end of the axe smashes into the wood.


3. “Axe” and “Ax” are both acceptable spellings

I actually learned this just now because I looked it up…but pretty cool, huh? I’m sticking with “axe” here because Thunderbolt uses that spelling.


4. Rotation, rotation, rotation

The core of every toss is the rotation. When you throw the axe, your distance is already optimal for one full rotation. In theory, the axe should rotate once before lodging in the board. No smooth rotation, no bullseye (or lesser hit, for that matter).

5. Two hands are better than one…

…at least for me. Dylan found more luck hitting the target with a smooth one-handed toss, but I felt much more comfortable with a two-handed over-the-head throw. It prevented the axe from twisting midair and gave me a nice, easy rotation. Case in point, with a shoutout to Jeff Probst:

And here’s Dylan’s one-hander:

Erin nailed one as well:

6. I’m amazing

Once we felt comfortable with the axes, the owner taught us a simple game: each area on the board had a point value, and each player had five throws. Highest score won. Our score sheets speak for themselves. If any readers want to challenge me, I’m in.

7. Slow-mo video is a must…duh