A Statement From Total Axe

As a result of of Governor Whitmer’s announcement, Total Axe is scheduled to close for at least the next two weeks. We hope that the precautions taken by the state are enough to flatten the curve and we can reopen on March 31, but there is no way of knowing that right now.

No one’s deposit or registration for upcoming events will be lost. We are asking the community to understand our position as a small business and not request a refund at this time unless you need it. This situation has put an obvious strain on our business and we need your help to stay open. We will be reaching out to you individually as soon as possible.

If you have a reservation for the future, we appreciate if you would consider rescheduling your visit, or accepting a gift card, rather than cancelling outright.

League Members: Plan to restart leagues again in 2 weeks. If we reopen on time, Tuesday Playoffs will take place on April 7 to give everyone enough time to prepare.

April 18 Marathon participants: many of the quarantines are scheduled to end this week and we are optimistic that this event will still go ahead as planned. It will be a much needed reunion among our best friends and biggest supporters.

March of the Axes II Tournament Players: We have decided to reschedule this event for Saturday June 13 as a skill event in order to work out our format for the Last Days of Summer Tournament. Let us know if you would like to move your registration, a credit refund, or cash refund.

Monthly/Annual Members: Your membership will be paused for as long as the shutdown remains. That means if you have 2 weeks left in your membership right now, you will still have two weeks left when we reopen.

Thank you for taking the time to read through all of this. We don’t know what the future holds, but we are optimistic. I apologize if any of this comes off as greedy, but without either a large outpouring of support, or assistance for the shutdown, Total Axe will be forced to close down.

Chris Ross
Founder of Total Axe

A Short Message About COVID-19 from Total Axe

Thank you to everyone who continues to support us. We here at Total Axe in Clinton Township want to assure you that we have taken all necessary steps advised by the CDC and the MDHHS to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as best as possible. We are disinfecting all surfaces before and after each group. We are providing hand sanitizer to all throwers as well.

To keep the number of people limited, we are asking all groups to please limit your groups to the maximum number stated on the reservation, including observers. For example, groups of 11-20 may have observers as long as the total number does not exceed 20. In addition, we are not allowing spectators for open throwing or league play at this time.

Since Total Axe is a small venue with a capacity much lower than 100 people, and we are not located within a larger complex of stores or attractions, we believe it is safe to remain open at this time. We will continue to remain open unless instructed otherwise by the CDC or State of Michigan.

For any questions or concerns, email us at info@totalaxe.com, or call (586) 913-7081.

-Chris Ross, Founder of Total Axe

5 Steps to Becoming an Axe Throwing Champion

1 – Practice

Obviously, you have to practice. Your first throw may have been a bullseye, or you might have some natural talent, but you’re not going to win a championship without practice. The purpose of practice is to try different things. You should see if your dominant foot should be directly in front of the bullseye, or if it should be off-center. You should test different grips until one feels right and leads to repeatability. Try stepping with your other foot to see if that makes you more comfortable. Try different releases, axes, handle lengths, strides. Maybe bringing the axe over your head is better than over your shoulder. Try everything until it hits the center and comes naturally.

2 – Develop a consistent throw

When new throwers step into the arena, our coaches position them in a specific spot and tweak where they stand throughout the visit. Without reminders, some throwers get careless about where they’re standing. Distance to the target is something important to keep in mind. Imagine throwing a baseball. A pitcher throwing a strike is a different form than a third baseman trying to beat the runner at first.

Developing a consistent throw is standing in the same place and executing every mechanic the same way every time. Your foot placement, your grip, your step and your release all need to be the same. Every time. Start by placing your lead foot in the same spot each time. Then place your back foot in a comfortable position. Grip your axe in the same spot – even consider sanding or marking where your hand should be until you can do it blindfolded. Take a step forward, bringing the axe back, then plant your foot before bringing your arm forward and releasing the axe.

3 – Get Feedback

Have someone watch your throw for deficiencies. Sometimes we don’t realize that we’re dropping our shoulder, taking a smaller step, or not following through. Having an experienced axe thrower watch you for 5 minutes can save you hours – or even days – worth of experimenting. Best-case scenario is to make friends with Philippe Lachance. He watched two of my playoffs just because no one else was streaming that night and gave me two tips that improved my average by several points, as well as helped my big axe game instantly.

4 – Compete

In a minute, I’m going to tell you that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, and that’s true. Competition serves two purposes. The first is to add a new layer of difficulty to your throw: performing in front of other people. It’s a lot easier to hit bullseye after bullseye when no one is looking and you can tell a fish tale about how many you hit in a row, or ignore that occasional drop. It’s completely different when you say “Game starts now, these 5 throws count.” The second purpose of competition is to finally measure your progress. Ty Webb may be the greatest golfer at Grande Oaks Country Club, but there’s no way to know until you actually measure yourself against other golfers. Join an axe throwing league and see where you stand.

5 – Focus on the right milestones

Many people have come up to me at the end of their first axe throwing league and said “I’m going to hit an 81 this season!” While that’s an admirable goal, when asked what they plan to do between now and then, they either respond with a blank stare or Vin Crescenzo’s signature #throwbetter.

There is nothing wrong with having your first 81 be a stretch goal for a season. The problem is that too many new throwers compare themselves to IATC Champion Rander, some guy named Mike Kump, or the world’s top-ranked Adam Buckley, and fail to see the many hours of throwing that went into their success. They believe that once you hit your first 81, the rest of them will just happen with little practice or refinement. Each of those throwers has put in countless hours and continues to refine and adapt as they get better and as the competition gets better.

The key to setting milestones is to slowly increase the difficulty of each. This helps to demonstrate your progress and show key areas for growth. Our throwers with the fastest progressions have used some variation of the following:

  1. 1 Natural Perfect Game – 5 bullseyes
  2. 2 Consecutive Natural Perfect Games
  3. Natural Perfect Match – All 15 bullseyes in a match
  4. 80% bullseye rate for a night – 48/60 bullseyes
  5. 1 Supernatural Perfect Game – 4 bullseyes followed by a clutch
  6. All Three Clutches in a match
  7. First 81

It’s possible to hit these out of order, or to hit several in one night. If you manage to hit more than two consecutive goals for the first time in a night, you’re making rapid progress. Most people also try going for their first Supernatural Game right after their first Natural Perfect game, and it’s hard not to. If you’re looking to improve as quickly as possible, worrying about hitting the clutch when you can’t consistently hit the bullseye is putting the cart before the horse. We know you’re still going to go for that clutch, and you’re still going to go for your first 27 before your first 75. Sometimes you need a small victory in the middle of a slump.

Notice that none of these milestones mention game wins, match wins, or even anything to do with other players. If your goal is only to do better than the person next to you, you’re limited by your competition. If your goal is to do better than yourself, no one can beat you.

A Poor Weather Activity: Axe Throwing

To demonstrate how poor weather doesn’t have to ruin your day, we’ve crafted a short story for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.

Uproar in the Ice Kingdom

“But, Ice King… My comrades, the people of your kingdom, do not enjoy the eternal ice age. We would like to see the sun!” a lowly peasant said, at the foot of the throne.

The Ice King stroked his icy beard with his icy hand. His crystalline skin glinted in the light.

“Do I look like the Sun King to you?” the Ice King said, with great sarcasm.

“Yes, Sun King,” the peasant said, with even greater sarcasm.

The Ice King shot to his feet.

“How dare you speak to me like that?” he said, as he slowly raised a hand into the air. A large icicle materialized in his hand. The Ice King threw the spike of ice from his raised platform, directly through the sternum of the peasant below. The bloodied icicle shattered on the icy ground behind the peasant, after it exited his body.

Everyone in the throne room stood silently. The guards watched the peasants. The peasants watched the guards.

DOES ANYONE ELSE HAVE ANY COMPLAINTS?” The Ice King screamed. The room shook.

The peasants stared at the floor.

But, then, a sound from the back. Another peasant, clearing her throat.

“Ahem…” she muttered.

The Ice King stood bewildered, in disbelief that another person would question him after that display.

“Something to say? Do you have a death wish?” the Ice King said with no sarcasm at all.

“I was… I was just wondering. Are we still allowed to go axe throwing?”

“Yes, of course. I’m not a monster,” the Ice King replied.

“Yay!” everyone in the room said in unison.

The End.

A Metaphor for Poor Weather in the metro Detroit Area

Basically, in the above short story, the Ice King represents all bad weather that might prevent you from enjoying your favorite activities. I’m sure you picked up on that.

Everyone cheered at the end? Well that’s you and your friends. Excited that bad weather isn’t going to get you down– since you still can go axe throwing. Since axe throwing is an indoor activity, where you can have food and drinks delivered, there’s no worries at all about how the weather might ruin your day of fun!

And the guy who got impaled by an icicle? Well that guy just had a bad attitude and didn’t even try to make it work! Don’t be like that guy or you might also get impaled with a mystic icicle!

A poor weather activity

Venue Openness and Its Importance

Keith Gibbons, the owner of Choppers Hatchet House in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has recently began posting articles about the industry to the Choppers blog, setting the example of venue openness. He’s explained why tournaments aren’t very profitable for venues, why tournaments should pay out deeper into the bracket, how the game might change, etc. Being open about the business side of the sport, the competitive side of the sport, and the sport itself can only help in the long run. It’s a good precedent to set. “As a community, we need to learn from each other,” a mysterious hooded figure said to me on a misty street in London, once. It’s good advice.

But, what about my business competitors?

At first glance, the implication here is to share business secrets with your competitors. That’s not the intention. The intention is to ensure that, as a community, we’re all on a similar enough page to keep the sport intriguing and exciting, to gain and retain guests in any specific venue. Before people choose which axe throwing venue they go to, they first need to choose to even go axe throwing. One time, a mysterious hooded figure told me “A rising tide lifts all boats,” before disappearing into the woods. I think this is what he meant.

From there, it is up to guests where they go. And the things that separate from you from the competitors will do just that. If a venue wants to charge $120 for a league, while their competitor is charging $110 (or even as low as $98), fine, that’s on them. But neither of them are going to make any money if no one wants to join a league.

The Ask

Simply speaking, put your ideas out there and allow them to be critiqued. And if you decide to critique someone’s analysis of the sport, do it with the future of the sport in mind. It’s not about being right or wrong. It’s about doing what’s best for the community. Someone I really look up to (a mysterious hooded figure on a rowboat in the middle of a lake) once told me, “Take people’s opinions in stride.”

Venue openness is going to be the thing that cements axe throwing culturally. Total Axe has definitely experimented with different practices in the sport—marathon leagues, ways of putting boards up, etc. And for each decision, we’ve gotten advice, and weighed pros and cons. So when it comes to matters of the sport, community, and culture, perhaps we can do the same.

venue openness at total axe

Axe Throwing in Clinton Township

Clinton Township, Michigan is widely known for a few indisputable facts. Clinton Township, of course, is home to the arena football team, the Clinton Township Slick Trout. It’s also common knowledge that Clinton Township is the birthplace of Argentinian beef empanadas. And literally everyone knows that Clinton Township was named after former president, Doug Township. But while people were basking in the glory of these completely true facts about their hometown, something started. Clinton Township is slowly becoming known for something else. Now, there’s axe throwing in Clinton Township.

Axe Throwing in Clinton Township

Welcome to Total Axe! The axe throwing venue that has had its home right off the Groesbeck Highway since November of 2018. We’re proud to be the premier axe throwing venue of the area. If you haven’t been, here’s a little summary of what you might be getting yourself into.

If you make a reservation, upon arrival you’ll be assigned a coach. The coach will walk you through your entire event. From the safety rules, to the technique of throwing an axe, to the game rules, to a full tournament if you’d like. Plus, if you’d like to learn how to throw throwing stars, knives, throwing cards, and a tactical shovel, there’s an option for that as well! Point being, Total Axe is going to be there for you the whole way through. Just like President Township was there for us.

The other option is coming for walk-ins. For walk-ins, you’ll still get the safety, technique, and rules, tutorials, but it’s a little more relaxed. This is good for if you just want to get a taste of what axe throwing is all about. Then, if you like it, we’ll be happy to have you back! If you don’t like it, you get a full refund—we promise.

Who can do it?

You (as long as you’re 13+)! Total Axe is for everyone. As long as you can get to our building, we can teach you how to throw an axe. There’s no prior experience required to come in and try something new. We understand that the idea of axe throwing might be a little scary at first, but we can assure you that while it’s unorthodox, it is safe. But unorthodox is what Clinton Township is all about. That’s how we ended up with the first ever arena football team. Go Trout!

We recommend gathering up your favorite friends, family members, and people from your book club to come in for a group. Once you’re in, you’ll all be able to enjoy each other’s company—which is what this activity is really about. The best part about axe throwing, is axe throwing with your loved ones. Feel free to order a pizza, or the aforementioned Clinton Township delicacy, Argentinian beef empanadas, and enjoy a nice morning/afternoon/evening with each other.

“I hope to be remembered for two things: my economic policies, and my love for Clinton Township’s newly established axe throwing scene.” –President Doug Township, 1973

A New After School Activity

As a parent, I know firsthand just how difficult it is to send your child off to school for the first time. They’ve grown up just enough that they’re entering into the wonderful world of education, but by no means does that imply that they aren’t still your baby. When they get home from school, you’ll ask them about their day, and they’ll tell you all the details they can muster about their teacher Mrs. Beasley, their new friend Braydon and how many chicken nuggies they ate at lunch. Ahh, how sweet is that?

Fast forward 10 years. Mrs. Beasley died. Braydon sells drugs. Chicken nuggets have too much gluten. What happened to the innocent life your little baby had? We can’t answer that for you. And we can’t change the past. Mrs. Beasley isn’t coming back—we’re sorry. But what we can do is provide an after school activity for you and your all-grown-up-baby to enjoy together.

Teens at Total Axe

Unlike a lot of axe throwing venues, Total Axe allows kids 13+ to throw, while accompanied by an adult. We’re dedicated to sharing the sport with everyone, and are proud to call ourselves an establishment for the whole family. So, if you’re concerned about your kiddo not having something to do after school, and would like to do something fun together, might we recommend axe throwing at Total Axe? It’s a sure-fire way to keep your child away from Darren. We banned Darren from our facility years ago.

The After School Activity

On Thursdays and Fridays, walk-ins begin at 5 o’clock (and noon on Saturdays and Sundays). When you come in, you’ll be greeted our staff, who will get you all checked in. After that, the instructor will go over a brief safety tutorial, and then teach you how to throw. Once you’re throwing, the fun rolls in. From the first time you get an axe to stick, to winning your first match, and on and on and on. But that’s just walk-ins. Let’s say you book a group, and bring the whole family, or the kids and some of their friends. Not only do you get the safety and throwing tutorials, you also get to compete in a tournament, run by your coach. And if that wasn’t special enough, there are even options to throw throwing stars, knives, cards, and tactical shovels! You can’t mourn the loss of your kindergarten teacher when you’re throwing axes.

We’ll see you soon!

We’d love for you to visit Total Axe to throw some axes. We care about your child, you know? We want to make sure they’re safe and sound, and spending quality time with the right people. So, if you’d like, go ahead and book a group, order a pizza (or something gluten free), and come on in. We’ll keep your child safe (with your supervision, please don’t just drop your kid off at our front door).

after school activity at total axe

Charity Events at Total Axe

Total Axe is dedicated to being there for its guests. We want to help people have a relaxing time on their weekend, get competitive at league night, or blow off steam when they have to. But in addition wanting to be there for our direct community, Total Axe wants to help with a further reach. In the coming year, Total Axe is very much inclined to do more charity events—but we need your help.

Do you work with/for a charity?

Let us know what your organization is all about! Like we mentioned, we love to help our community. So if we can help our community by helping a charity or non-profit in the area, that’s even better. If you are the contact person, we’ll be more than happy to work with you. If you aren’t, all you have to do is get us in contact with the right person, and we’ll take it from there!

Is there a charity close to your heart?

If there is a cause that you care about and want to help, so do we. Even if you don’t work with the organization or have any direct ties, that doesn’t mean we can’t help them. We’d be happy to work with you in a way that makes it simple, effective, and beneficial to help your cause!

Types of charity events

There are two types of charity events we can do. The first being a “flyer night.” We work out all the details of the charity, we give you a flyer, we help you distribute the flyers, and anyone who brings us the flyer on the specific night gets a portion of their proceeds donated to your charity—it’s that simple. This option is best for smaller organizations, who could use extra community support.

The other option is a ticketed event. In this case, you’ll buy X amount of tickets from us for Y price, and then you can resell them for whatever price in whatever package you’d like to the guests. This option is better for medium to large organizations, who won’t have an issue getting people involved. This also lends to a catered event, which might also have raffles or giveaways. However you’d like to run it is completely up to you!

If you’re interested, all you have to do is reach out to us. Give us a call at 586-913-7081, or email us at info@totalaxe.com. Whether it’s a school fundraiser, or a major organization, we’re just happy to help. Also, if you’re interested, here’s some good things to keep in mind for the event.

charity events at total axe

Things to do in Clinton Township

Welcome to Clinton Township, Michigan! We’re so happy to have you for whatever amount of time you’d like to stay. We know that while you’re here, you’ll probably want some sort of entertainment. We went ahead and did very little research, all for you. After a quick Google search for “things to do in Clinton Township” and clicking the first link, we discovered that the only things to do in Clinton Township, Michigan are visit two different parks, a cultural center, a farm, a railroad, or go to the mall (so you can relive your middle school days of hanging out near the Hollister).

But then we got to thinking… There’s gotta be SOMETHING else to do. And then it hit us. Like it was in front of our face the whole time. You could, and hear us out on this one, try axe throwing at Total Axe. We think it’ll be a good time for you. Let us explain.

What is Axe Throwing at Total Axe Like?

You’ve got options. If you just want to try axe throwing out, we recommend our walk-ins. Now available six days a week, you can get a taste of axe throwing practically whenever you’d like. Our top-of-the-line coaches will give you a safety demonstration, and then teach you how to properly throw an axe. After that, you can keep a little score, play a few matches, and really get an idea what the sport is all about.

Or, for the bigger and more adventurous groups, we recommend making a reservation. With a reservation, the world opens up a little bit. You still get the same safety and throwing demonstrations, but this allows for your coach to run a full-fledged tournament. Plus, if there’s time at the end, you can even throw throwing stars. PLUS, if you get the right package, you can learn how to throw knives, throwing cards, and even a tactical shovel. Order a pizza, bring some drinks, and throw some stuff!

Out of all the things to do in Clinton Township, why axe throwing?

As we mentioned, there’s plenty of things to do in Clinton Township. After a second search, a self-defense class was recommended in the “fun and games” section of TripAdvisor. So why would you come axe throwing? Well, if you’ve never done it before, you don’t know how satisfying it is to stick the axe for the first time. It’s a major sense of accomplishment, only to be rivaled by beating your first opponent, and winning your first league championship. If you have been axe throwing before, you know how good it feels to blow off that steam, and take down the competition. All that, while getting to bond with your friends and family (as long as they’re 13+). We can’t recommend it enough.

We hope to see you soon. At Total Axe, of course. We have no desire to see you hitting on the poor girl working at Auntie Anne’s at the mall.

things to do in clinton township

Getting Involved with the IATC

Hi everyone, it’s me, The Guy Who Writes The Blog Posts. With the International Axe Throwing Championship (IATC) only about two weeks away, I felt it’s important to impart some advice. Not about how to compete, or what will make you a good thrower, but about how to utilize the IATC.

The IATC is the culmination of a year of throwing. The best throwers from each represented venue flock to Toronto to compete for the title of International Axe Throwing Champion. The unfortunate part about that, however, is that most people won’t become the champion. Which is a bummer, to say the least. So, if not to become the champion, how can the attendees who don’t win, and the people who didn’t attend at all, get value out of the IATC?

The IATC Stream

If you’re interested in being competitive in the sport of axe throwing, or you’re in an axe throwing league, the IATC is, first and foremost, a learning experience. Whether you were in the building while the championship played out, or you were at home watching, I cannot recommend re-watching the stream enough. Out of the best in the world, the people on stream made it to the end. They clearly know what they’re doing. And luckily for you, there will be hours of footage of them doing what they do best.

Take the time to watch the stream, and study what they do. What makes them the best? How are they holding the axe? What are their feet doing? How are they handling the pressure? Really take some time to critically analyze the best, and see how it can influence your own personal game. If you’d like to get a head start, here’s the stream from the 2019 NATC.

The Social Stuff

Trust me, I know it’s no small request to say “Go to the IATC, even if you aren’t competing.” But, you should go to the IATC even if you aren’t competing. IATC weekend isn’t just about axe throwing. In fact, I would say it’s less about axe throwing, and more about community. There’s so much to do, and so many ways to bond with the people of the sport. There’s happy hours, prom, the axe market, and skills, all times to let loose and build the community. Getting to interact with all the throwers from all over the world is just as, if not more, rewarding than competing in the tournament itself.

The Energy

The IATC energizes the community in a way that no other axe throwing event does. The people who go to the IATC, to throw or to watch, always return home with a revitalized axe throwing spirit. Being able to feel the energy in the room during the finals, taking an infinite amount of pictures at prom, hanging out at the Doc Ellis truly gets the community back into the swing of things. Sure, axe throwing is fun. But I don’t think it’s a secret that axe throwing isn’t the thing that keeps us coming back. It’s the people. It’s the community. It’s the love.

If you can make it to the International Axe Throwing Championship this year, I highly recommend it. It’ll set the tone for your next year in axe throwing, and could completely change the way you see the sport.

the iatc