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Axe Throwing Terms

  • 4 min read

Agdor – The Hults Bruk Agdor 28 is likely the most popular axe used in IATF Big Axe competition

Ambidextrous – (Also “Ambi”) Skills competition where each competitor throws an axe in each hand at the same time

Around the World – Skills competition where each competitor throws an axe at each zone of the target in order

Axe – A tool typically thrown at a target comprised of a steel blade attached to a handle

Axe Gang – Model of hatchet made by Cold Steel, popularized because of its thin, flat profile and head weight within IATF specs

Axescores – Leaderboard website for IATF

BATL – Backyard Axe Throwing League, first urban axe throwing venue started in Toronto 2011 and currently has over 15 locations

Beard – Bottom of the axe head between the handle and heel

Big Axe – Full size axes (typically over 25 inches) used in IATF tiebreaks and a separate discipline in WATL

Bit – The sharp part of the axe head

Black Box – Starting line for IATF hatchet and foul line for big axe

Blue Line – Starting line for IATF big axe

Breaking Paint – (IATF) throws for clutch must break any paint. (WATL) throws must have paint visible on both sides to count.

Cheek – The flat side of the axe head

Clutch – Green circles in IATF measuring 2 ⅝”, 79” from the ground, worth 7 points when called on the fifth throw of the game

Dolly – WBL nickname for the corner bullseyes.

Doubles – Skills competition where two competitors on the same team throw at the same target at the same time

Estwing – Brand of axe with a single piece steel head and handle

Eye – hole in the axe head where the handle is attached

Fault – When a thrower crosses the foul line before they’re allowed and the throw is scored 0

Foul Line – (WBL) Youth line at 10′, adult hatchet at 12′, big axe at 15′ (IATF) line at 9’2” which cannot be crossed until both players have thrown. (WATL) line at 12’ which cannot be crossed until both axes are scored by a licensed WATL official judge.

Hatchet – A small axe, commonly used in competition measuring 13-18”

Head – The steel part of the axe

Heel – The bottom part of the bit

IATF – International Axe Throwing Federation, founded in 2016 to sanction axe throwing leagues

IKTHOF – International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame, founded in 2003 to sanction knife and tomahawk leagues

Killshot – Blue Circles in WATL measuring 1.5”, 71 ¼” from the ground, worth 8 points when called on the fifth and tenth throw of the game

Michigan Rules – Ideal hatchet format utilizing best of three matches, “break the paint” rules, and upper and lower bonuses

Philly-Out – Registering for a limited-field event with some of your friends, then withdrawing from the competition after plane ticket prices increase, guaranteeing that the field will not be filled.

Poll – (Also “Butt”) Back of the axe head

Shopro – The original house axe for indoor competition with a 1.5lb head and 14” handle

Skills Competition – (Also “Skillz”) tournaments thrown in a manner other than standard hatchet or big axe, typically containing ambidextrous, around the world, and several other formats

Toe – Top of the bit

Toe-in – term for altering the throw so that only the toe of the axe catches the target, allowing to stick more easily in hard boards

Tomahawk – A light axe, usually with the handle fixed to the head only by friction and no other means

Trail Boss – Once popular big axe in competition, has become illegal to throw due to currently being manufactured below minimum weight standards

UKAT – United Knife and Tomahawk, an online league for tomahawk, hatchet, double-bit axe, and knife throwing

WATL – World Axe Throwing League, founded in 2017 to sanction leagues, tournaments, and judges

WBL – World Blade League, established to create a sustainable, accessible, and exciting future for bladed sports.

Wedge – Piece of wood driven into the eye of the axe opposite to the handle to expand and hold the head in place

Who Sucks Less – Nickname for WATL overtime rule where if both opponents miss, the one who is closest to the killshot, wins

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