An Axe Throwing League at Total Axe

Logistically, what is an axe throwing league?

At Total Axe, we offer two different types of league. Our Michigan Style league, that originated here at Total Axe, and our International Axe Throwing Federation sanctioned league, which has competitors across the world. Regardless of the style of league (which you can find more information on here), they both boil down to the same concept. Once a week for seven to eight weeks, you’ll throw several matches against the rest of the competitors in the league. On the last week, the top competitors will compete for the league championship, which comes with a trophy and gift card.

But, actually, what is an axe throwing league?

A community. A group of people spending a night of their week together for two months tends to breed friendship. So imagine what happens when people keep signing up, league after league? They become a little family. Total Axe Throwing really prides itself in the community we have, and how tight-knit our leagues have become. Axe throwing is great—we all agree on that. But it isn’t really the selling point. Axe throwing is really just something to do, while making and hanging out with friends.

But… What if I’ve never thrown in an axe throwing league?

That’s perfect! We’ll make sure you get taken care of at the start—we won’t throw you directly into the fire. We’ll give you a throwing lesson, and teach you the rules of the game. Not to mention that our more veteran throwers will be eager to help you out, show you the ropes, and make you feel at home. Plus, there’s a half hour of practice before every league night, so you’ll have time to get some reps in before wins and losses are on the line. In addition to this, if you’re in a league, you get discounted rates on walk-ins and group events. So there will be plenty of opportunities to practice.

So… I’m gonna join an axe throwing league?

Yes. At this point, this far into the blog post, you’re too deep in to just back out all willy-nilly. We understand how nervous that might make you, however. So, we have good news. If you don’t like the axe throwing league after the first week, we’ll be happy to give you your money back. No harm, no foul. We don’t want anyone to feel obligated to be here because they spent money on it. Above all else, we just want you to have fun with friends.

Am I going to have fun in the axe throwing league?

Yes. We’ll see you soon.

Total Axe Throwing League

Have Your Holiday Party at Total Axe

‘Tis the season.

With the approach of the holiday season, there’s a few things on everyone’s minds. How many times am I going to hear Mariah Carey hit that note in All I Want for Christmas? Am I going to get into a political debate with Uncle Ronnie? Is my company’s holiday party going to be my last straw, when I finally give up and follow my dreams of being a backup dancer for, ironically, Mariah Carey? All good questions. Fortunately, we can help with one and only one of those. No, your company’s holiday party won’t be the last straw—not if you let Total Axe host it.

How the Holiday Party Will Work:

Total Axe Throwing can accommodate holiday parties up to 55 people. Bring your six favorite coworkers, your entire department, or your entire company. The basics are simple: you book a group, show up with some food and drinks, and we take care of the rest. In the span of your two hour event, everyone will get a brief safety overview, an introduction to axe throwing, individual attention, and the opportunity to compete in a tournament amongst your coworkers, where one of you will be named champion. Plus, if you book at the right times, you’ll even get to throw things like throwing stars, tactical shovels, steel cards, and knives. I bet if she had time in her infinitely busy schedule, even Mariah Carey would have a holiday party here.*

But, why choose axe throwing for your holiday party?

We’ll be the first to admit that there’s an infinite amount of things you could do for your holiday party. But booking at Total Axe is just different. Here, you get to do a unique thing, which most of your coworkers likely haven’t done yet. During competition, you’ll get to bond with your friends, learn something new, get out of the office, and most importantly, relish in the fact that your boss is going to lose to the intern. We have coaches dedicated to ensuring that your event safely goes off without a hitch, everyone has a blast, and it will be a holiday party to remember.

Next Steps:

Find out who is going to be the person to organize this year’s holiday party. Get into a completely normal conversation with them. Then, when there’s a lull in the chatter, casually say something like, “That axe throwing thing seems pretty cool, right?” After that, you’re going to want to sprint back to your office, email them the link to this blog post, and make the subject line “Haha, we should do this!” They’ll click right here, and viola, holiday party planned.

Happy holidays, everyone. We can’t wait to host you here at Total Axe. It’s gonna be a great time, we promise.

*Mariah Carey has no affiliation to Total Axe Throwing.

holiday party at Total Axe

We’re joining the International Axe Throwing Federation!


The International Axe Throwing Federation (or IATF) is a massive network of axe throwers and venues constantly pushing each other, and the sport further. The IATF is present in a recorded 85 cities across 6 countries. Across all the different IATF supported venues, there’s 161 different competitive leagues with over 10,000 league members. Through the IATF, immense axe throwing tournaments with immense prizes have become a fairly regular thing within the sport. All the way from Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, to Cherry Hill in New Jersey, in the States, major prize pools are becoming the norm. So, naturally, we wanted to get our throwers into the mix, and make this option available to them.

How do IATF Leagues work?

The rules are different than what Total Axe leagues have offered in the past. With that being said, here’s a brief description of how an IATF match works.

  • Three rounds
  • Five throws per round
  • Highest points per round wins
  • Must win two out of three rounds to win the match
  • A win, a loss, and a tie will send the match to sudden death.
  • Sudden death is a big axe tiebreaker, and it’s intense.

For a full description of the rules, click here. You’ll want to be familiar with them before the first night of league!

What about the old leagues?

They’ll still be around! The Total Axe style league format isn’t going anywhere. We’ve built a community around our style of league, and we aren’t just going to up and abandon them. We love what we do here. Joining the IATF isn’t so much about the “out with the old,” and has everything to do with the “in with the new.” As always, the community comes first. So, we wanted to give an opportunity to the community to try something new. And this is it!

What league should I join?

Whichever your heart desires! Aside from the actual format of the matches, the only difference between league styles is who you’re competing with. In the Total Axe league format you’ll only be competing with other people in your league. In the IATF format, you’ll effectively be competing with the aforementioned 10,000+ throwers. The IATF comes with an international ranking system, qualifiers, and eventually, the National Axe Throwing Championship (or NATC), where the champion will be crowned. Last year someone from Scottsdale, Arizona won. Next year, it might be someone from Clinton Township, Michigan. We’ll see you at the beginning of each season!

In summary…

We’re very excited to be a part of the International Axe Throwing Federation, among some of the top venues across the world. We can’t wait to be involved in pushing the sport, the talent, and hopefully the prize-pools even further. The day we see our throwers competing for the giant checks at tournaments like the Urban Open, The Choptober Challenge, and the NATC will be a good day for us. Maybe we’ll even host a tournament of our own.

What Are Axe Throwing Leagues?

Axe Throwing Leagues offer a way for people who love throwing axes to compete against each other in a longform competition. Leagues run very similarly to pool or dart leagues, are 7-8 weeks long, and cost $15/week or less!

League Types

Total Axe offers two different league types– a feature that very few axe throwing venues have. We have the classic Total Axe league, with the “Michigan Rules” that we’ve had since our inception. As of recent, however, we’ve joined the International Axe Throwing Federation (IATF), which offers a different rule set. For more information on us joining the IATF, click here.

Total Axe “Michigan Rules” Throwing Leagues

Axe Throwing Jargon

Game – 5 throws
Match – 3 Games
8-ball – 4 small circles in the corners of the target. Worth 8 points, but only on the last throw.
Foul Line – Red line 10 feet form the target. Cannot be crossed until the axe stops moving.

The Target

The target is a series of rings like most other target sports. The bullseye is four inches in diameter and scores 6 points if you touch it. Outside of the bullseye are 4 more rings worth 4, 3, 2, and 1 points. The point value you receive for your throw is that of the innermost ring that your blade makes contact with. There are also four smaller zones in the corner of the target called the “8-balls.” If you make contact with one, you get 8 whole points.


Every week starts with 30 minutes of warm-up time. After warm-ups, each person throws 4 matches against different opponents. At the beginning of the match, players take one warm-up throw, then start their match.

Both players throw at the same time for the first 4 throws of the game. On the last throw, the leader goes first, followed by the other player. Either player may “call the 8-ball” if they want to make the attempt. If they do, they can only score by hitting the 8-ball, no other rings will count. Players cannot call the 8 before the last throw of a game.

After each game, players switch sides. This keeps the match fair if one target has an advantage or disadvantage to it. Whoever wins more games wins the match, and overall score does not matter for rankings (except to break ties for playoffs).


On the final week of league, the top 16 players face off in a double-elimination tournament. Traditional seeding is used – the best player plays the worst player, second-best plays second-worst, etc. In the early rounds of the bracket, matches are best 3 out of 5. In the later rounds, matches are 4 out of 7. Players have to lose two matches to be eliminated from the tournament. At the end, the last player standing is crowned champion and receives a trophy and gift card.

IATF Leagues

Axe Throwing Jargon

Round – 5 throws
Match – 3 rounds
Clutch – Green circles
The Red Line – The foul line, which is 110″ from the target. Crossing this line before both axes have been thrown will result in a fault.

The Target

A standard IATF target has three concentric circles forming the bullseye, in addition to two smaller green dots above the circles. The smallest circle is worth 5 points, the next circle is worth 3 points, and the final circle is worth 1 point. The two smaller green dots, or Clutches, are worth 7 points. Anything outside of these circles or clutches is worth 0 points. The throw will receive the score of which circle has the majority of the embedded blade in it. The exception here is when any part of the blade sticks in the Clutch, all 7 points will be awarded. The player must remove their axe from the board to receive the points.


Each week, throwers will get 30 minutes of warm-up time prior to the matches starting. Throughout the season, throwers will play 28 matches, averaging to about 4 matches a night. Before the first match, throwers get 3 practice throws. Before the second match, throwers get 1 practice throw. After that, no more practice throws are allowed.

For the first 4 throws of the round, players can throw at the same time at the bullseye, trying to get as many bullseyes as possible. On the fifth throw, the thrower with more points will throw first. Only on this fifth throw is the Clutch option available. If the player calls it, the Clutch is live. You cannot take this call back.

After each round, players switch sides, to avoid any board advantages. Whichever thrower wins more rounds will win the match. If the throwers win, lose, and tie a round, they will go to a big-axe tiebreaker.

Complete IATF rules are available on their website.


On the final week of league, the top 16 players face off in a double-elimination tournament. Traditional seeding is used – the best player plays the worst player, second-best plays second-worst, etc. In the early rounds of the bracket, matches are best 3 out of 5. In the later rounds, matches are 4 out of 7. Players have to lose two matches to be eliminated from the tournament. At the end, the last player standing is crowned champion and receives a trophy and gift card.

Other Benefits of Joining an Axe Throwing League

Aside from the weekly throwing, our league members get other perks as well. Some of our current benefits are:

  • Half-off open throwing during any open throwing hours
  • $30 discounts on additional leagues
  • 10% discount on reservations

How do you throw an axe?

Throwing an axe is very simple, but takes some practice. It’s similar to throwing many things, but still different enough for most people to need a little help. If you’ve ever thrown a baseball, the first time you did it, it may have felt “natural”, but was actually terrible. Nolan Ryan didn’t start out throwing 96 mph fastballs. It takes a little work.

Two-handed Grip

When throwers at Total Axe pick up an axe for the first time, we start with a two-handed throw. This is the easiest way to learn the fundamentals of the throw. The dominant throwing hand grips the axe first, tightly enough to have complete control, but loose enough to let it slide out as it comes forward. The other hand wraps around your throwing hand for support and balance.

Axe Throwing Stance

Most people stand anywhere from 10-16 feet away from the target for a single rotation. When the thrower releases, the opposite foot should be in front – left foot for right handers and vice versa. This is more important as throwers transition to a one-handed throw. During a stationary throw, throwers begin with the axe behind their back and their weight over their back foot. The thrower brings the axe forward as their weight shifts to the front foot.


Keeping the wrist fixed in place similar to a chopping motion, the thrower brings the axe forward and releases as their arms straighten out in front of them. Depending on height and whether there is any movement from the wrists, each person’s release point varies. People with a history in throwing sports tend to still flick a little as they release. This causes the axe to rotate faster and they need to move forward to compensate for this. Advanced throwers also flick as they release in an effort to get as close to the foul line as possible.

That’s all there is to throwing. Do these simple things and everything will go in the bullseye (with some practice, of course).

Total Axe Logo