THE DACIAN WARRIORS
AXES AND WOLFS
The existence of a ritual that provides Dacians with the ability to turn into wolfs. Such a ritual was presumably a military initiation, potentially reserved to a secret brotherhood of warriors. To become formidable warriors they would assimilate behavior of the wolf, wearing wolf skins during the ritual.
These formidable warriors and their sharp axes would ride and charge into battle accompanied by the Dacian Draco: their sinister multicolored dragon-head standard. As intended, they made a terrifying audiovisual spectacle with their appearance and sound.
Surely a lot of Axes where flying towards their human targets…
Axes have been around for over a million and a half years, but the concept of the throwing axe really took off and spread around the time of the 5th century.
Battle axes are particularly associated in Western popular imagination with the Vikings.
Certainly, Scandinavian foot soldiers and maritime marauders employed them as a stock weapon during their heyday, which extended from the beginning of the 8th century to the end of the 11th century.
They produced several varieties, including specialized throwing axes and “bearded” axes or “skeggox” (so named for their trailing lower blade edge which increased cleaving power and could be used to catch the edge of an opponent’s shield and pull it down, leaving the shield-bearer vulnerable to a follow-up blow). Viking axes were wielded with one hand or two, depending on the length of the plain wooden haft.
Frankish soldiers used axes in their raids. The Franks were pretty impressive- arriving to battle strung up like a Christmas tree with multiple weapons and wearing no armor or helmets.
Since the Franks became the most powerful force in Western Europe at one point, suffice it to say they were pretty handy at pitching their small, double-edged axes, of which each soldier carried several (that explains why they chose not to wear heavy armor). Forged from a single piece of iron, these axes were razor sharp. The axe heads were thick and did heavy damage when thrown from about a few paces distance.
Skip ahead a couple of centuries and you find multiple groups across Europe using the Franziska. Probably invented by the Franks, its use spread to the Lombard, the Goths, the Burgundians and the Teutons.
A Franziska has a distinctive shape…it’s strange and intimidating looking so probably served as a psychological weapon as well as a fiercely effective combat tool. The axe head is curved but also pointed at the top, almost like a tear drop.
Picture this: lines of soldiers would, on command, throw their Franziskas all at once to wipe out the entire front line of the enemy. Franziskas could shatter shields and do all sorts of terrible damage.
INDIAN AMERICANS & TOMAHAWKS
Once trade got underway full force in the New World, throwing axes became a huge commodity. The tiny throwing axes made of stone originally used by the Native Americans were traded in for better ones made by the Europeans. The Europeans cashed in on the Native Americans’ preference for the throwing axes, developing the techniques so the axes became lighter and smaller. That occurred when they figured out how to make Tomahawks out of steel.
The Algonquian Indians in early America created the tomahawk. Before Europeans came to the continent, Native Americans would use stones attached to wooden handles, secured with strips of rawhide. Though typically used as weapons, they could also be used for everyday tasks, such as chopping, cutting or hunting.
When Europeans arrived, they introduced the metal blade to the natives, which improved the effectiveness of the tool. Metal did not break as readily as stone and could be fashioned for additional uses. Native Americans created a tomahawk’s poll, the side opposite the blade, which consisted of a hammer, spike or a pipe. These became known as pipe tomahawks, which consisted of a bowl on the poll and a hollowed out shaft. These were created by European and American artisans for trade and diplomatic gifts for the tribes.
Tomahawk throwing is a popular sport among American historical re-enactment groups, and new martial arts such as Okichitaw have begun to revive tomahawk fighting techniques used during the colonial era. Tomahawks are a category within competitive knife throwing. Today’s hand-forged tomahawks are being made by master craftsmen throughout the United States.
THROWING AXES WERE STILL USED IN WARS IN THE NEW WORLD
In the U.S. Revolutionary War, state militia were known to carry tomahawks, not swords. In fact, it was required that soldiers show up for duty carrying either a tomahawk or a sword, their choice. Picture it: wouldn’t you rather carry a hawk than a sword… and which do you think is easier to use?
And of course we all know that Native Americans used tomahawks, especially after the 1700s. Once settlers caught on to all the wonderful uses of a tomahawk, they adopted them for close combat too.
CUSTER’S LAST STAND
Tomahawks were used regularly by U.S. soldiers right up until 1876 at the Battle of Little Bighorn, commonly known as Custer’s Last Stand. That’s when the 7th Calvary fought the Sioux in Montana and lost (got annihilated, actually). Of course the Lakota, Arapaho and Northern Cheyenne fighters were well-equipped with tomahawks too.
Finally, believe it or not, throwing axes were used in the Vietnam War by U.S. soldiers fighting in the close quarters of the Vietnamese jungle. Their weapon was called the LaGana Hawk.
FROM SOLDIERS TO PIONEERS TO YOU
Axe Throwing Bucharest – Dacian Rules
It’s from the Dacian`s spirits who roamed these lands that we draw inspiration today. Throwing an axe isn’t a violent act as it once was – although you can certainly let off tons of steam – it’s a tradition which no matter where you’re from and who you are, offers you a way to connect with history while you enjoy a great round of throwing an axe. Here at at Axes Bucharest we try to bring this experience to you.
Axe throwing is a sport in which the competitor throws an axe at a target, attempting to hit the bullseye as near as possible like that of the archery. Axe throwing is an event held in most lumberjack competitions. A skilled axe thrower will rotate the throwing axe exactly once throughout the flight so that the sharpened edge of the head will penetrate the target. Throwing axes are becoming popular among outdoor enthusiasts as a throwing tool. Much like in Archery and Knife throwing, you throw axes in a similar way at a log target.
A hurlbat (or whirlbat, whorlbat) is the term used for a type of weapon with unclear original definition. Older reference works refer to it largely as a type of club, either held in the hand or possibly thrown. Modern usage appears to refer to a type of throwing-axe. The hurlbat was completely made out of steel with sharp edges. They were mostly used between the mid-15th century and mid-17th century and were very light in weight.
The most common and well-known discipline within the impalement arts. It includes the throwing of axes, machetes and other sharp implements as well as knives.
- The art of knife throwing was first used in martial arts or hunting applications. It has been incorporated into the martial disciplines of the Japanese as well as some African and Native American tribes. In such cases, throwing a weapon when fighting is generally thought of as a risk. If unsuccessful, it can leave the thrower without a weapon and arm his attacker. However, many warriors traditionally carried two or more weapons at the same time.
nife throwing, whether in a martial or sport application, involves the same basic principles of mechanics. The objective in each case is for the point to stick into the target with a sufficient amount of force. For this to be successful, accuracy, distance, number of rotations and placement of the body all must be taken into account.
If the thrower uses a spin technique, the knife will rotate during flight. This means that the thrower, assuming they are throwing the same way every time, must either choose a specific distance for each type of throw or, more practically, make slight adjustments to the placement of the knife in the hand or to the throwing movement. Another adjustment that can be made is the way the knife is held. If it is held at the blade when it is thrown, this makes it spin half, whereas if it is held by the handle, this makes a full spin. So if the thrower estimates he needs one and a half spins for the point to hit the target, he would hold the knife from the blade when it is thrown. If he feels he needs two full spins for it to hit the target point-first, then it would be held by the handle.
With the much more intricate no spin throwing techniques, the throwing motion is made as linear as possible, the knife’s rotation being slowed down even more by an index finger on the spine during release. Thrown no spin, knives will make no revolution or only a quarter spin before reaching the target (point first), but the no spin throws are not as accurate or stable in flight as the spin techniques. The knife does not need to be sharp to stick, as long as it has a point, it will stick into your target.
Shuriken AKA Ninja Star
A shuriken is a traditional Japanese concealed weapon that was generally used for throwing. Contrary to common misconception these weapons were not designed to stick in your skin. They were designed to have blades coated in poison and would be thrown to nick and cut, allowing the poison to enter the bloodstream. They are sharpened hand-held blades made from a variety of everyday items, such as needles, nails and knives, as well as coins, washers, and other flat plates of metal. Shuriken is the name given to any small-bladed object, while shaken is traditionally used to indicate the well-known “throwing star”.
Shuriken are commonly known in the West as throwing stars or ninja stars although they were originally designed in many different shapes.
Shuriken were supplementary weapons to the sword or various other weapons in a samurai‘s arsenal, although they often had an important tactical effect in battle. The art of wielding the shuriken is known as shurikenjutsu and was taught as a minor part of the martial arts curriculum of many famous schools.
Shuriken, especially hira-shuriken, were also used in novel ways—they could be embedded in the ground, injuring those who stepped on them (similar to a caltrop), wrapped in fuse to be lit and thrown to cause fire, or wrapped in a cloth soaked in poison and lit to cover an area with a cloud of poisonous smoke. They could also be used as a handheld weapon in close combat.
There are reports of shuriken being coated with poison, intended either as a throwing weapon or to be left in a conspicuous place for a victim to pick up. Other reports indicate that shuriken may have been buried in dirt or animal feces and allowed to harbor the bacterium Clostridium tetani—if the point penetrated a victim deeply enough, the bacteria transferred into the wound could cause a then-incurable tetanus infection.
Shuriken are simple weapons, but their historical value has increased. Unlike the treasured katana and other bladed weapons, antique shuriken are not often well preserved, largely due to their expendable nature.