The challenges faced by the Professional Knife Thrower are many and great and often only tangentially related to craft. These include relations with in-laws, the ever-changing permitting landscape, balancing room humidity to keep target wood soft without increased risk of blade rust, and the constant request for free or “pro-bono” services. Often a thrower is attracted to the sport due to its thought-clearing focus demands. These unanticipated concerns cloud and distract the thrower resulting in lowered performance, disappointed audiences, loss of income and further social isolation.
What are we to do with the dejected thrower? Confidence is hard won and quickly shattered. Austerity budgets have all but eliminated ceremonial throwers at civic events. Education and retraining fill some of the gap, but there are only so many job openings at the boomerang factory. Simple incarceration is not enough as most knife throwers are master lock picks (as well as teeth grinders, although that is a discussion for another day). Offered solutions are varied and untested.
Alone, talented, and armed in a sort-of-but-not-really way, contemporary knife throwers embody the uncertainty of the country at large, but often lack the support and breadth of learning necessary to bear society’s misplaced burdens.
(For a discussion of Russian-style and its impact on the live targeting community, please see Appendix II.)