Personal trainer and Co Women Co-Founder, Becky Hughes, is on a mission to try at least one new thing per month during 2023. She’s a part of the right networking group, because new things and joy are what we’re all about! One of our events earlier this month was axe throwing, ticking Becky’s May box. She tells us all about it…
Technically, this wasn’t new I wasn’t a total newbie to axe throwing… but I was also far from an expert. I got to try a taste of it last year, when I went to the joust at Arundel Castle (an event I highly recommend, by the way). As that was a freebie, we literally got to make six throws each before our turn was up. This time, I was part of an entire session organised by Jo for Co-Women, and it was very exciting.
We were a small group, so we got maximum time and tuition – we got to have plenty of turns each, and with a variety of sharp objects!
Method to the madness Our instructor, Tom, taught us two techniques – single arm and double arm throws. The latter terrified me when he demonstrated, as I was convinced this would result in blade connecting with scalp, but I was hopeless when throwing with just one arm, so I had to try. And it paid off!
As always with me and new physical skills, it took many attempts to find my rhythm and flow, but once I did, I impressed myself. We worked our way down a line of cages with targets in, throwing two axes each time (and occasionally having to retrieve ones which had disappeared behind the back of the cage). The more I threw, the more I learned…
What was axe throwing like? I’ve seen plenty of venues on social media which look a bit like bowling alleys, but the place we went to was outdoors, which to me made it feel more authentic and relaxed. As a sensory environment, it was lovely – nice not to have flashing lights and an echoey venue. And that helped me find some flow – Tom encouraged us to scream and shout if we wanted, and to channel some anger! But I also found that focusing on the task at hand mattered to me.
Breaking the technique down, it’s comprised of a few things that I do already. We were taught to lunge before throwing – a movement I’m very familiar with and have a lot of confidence in! And I realised that the double arm throw is essentially a tricep extension, another move I know well. So I began to take a deep breath, focus on the target, lunge, breathe again, and then throw, discovering that the pattern worked. I focused well, I felt highly and safely embodied, and the movement started to come easier.
Levelling up the axe throwing Again, due to being a small group, we also got the chance to graduate to long handled axes! We also benefited from good weather here: where we were, the target to throw these larger blades at isn’t under cover, as the roof would be too low, and I can’t imagine it being good in the rain. Happily, it was a sunny afternoon so we had the opportunity to push ourselves further. Same movement, larger objects, and again I eventually found some excellent throws.
Hitting the target Particularly if you have a rubbish start, the thud and stillness of an axe hitting the target (or even the fence beneath it when indoors) is highly satisfying. Watching the flying object come to a sudden halt is fun, and there’s a definite sense of accomplishment! I found the whole thing incredibly mindful, and it was lovely to have a group of people cheering me on too. We only got a little bit competitive, and I’m proud to be able say that I ranked second out of our group of four, despite a highly unassuming start! It was a great way to spend some time, and I actually am keen to go back and see if I can get even better.
We threw with Bearded Axe Brothers at Q Leisure, Albourne. For my next new experience, keep your eyes peeled for my next post via my own blog…