A great british Circus experience, that's what we had for four days at the EuroThrowers World Championship in Knife Throwing and Axe Throwing - also known as the Big Throwers Meeting. The words "british" and "circus" might not go well together for your ears, but you'll learn it fits nicely.
For a long weekend 124 throwing athletes - among them 33 women - from 12 nations gathered in Newark-on-Trent in the UK to have fun throwing knives and axes together, and to compete. The weather, of course, was very british, ranging from "got any sunscreen left" to rain gushes, to wind. Plenty of constantly changing gusts. That's why the scores are 20 percent lower than in previous years - that's just what rain blowin sideways into your face will do.
The venue itself was great! There were plenty of sturdy training and competition targets (Thank you, Nev and Buildbase!) so you could just walk up to a target and train, or get some style advice from fellow throwers. There was plenty of safe grass to have a laydown, and two tents served as gathering places.
On behalf of KATTA UK, the club running the EuroThrowers Chapionship this year, John Taylor kicked of the competition - and got everybody signed up to the idea of scoring the next thrower in line. For the last time, the throwers tested their precision skills with 21 throws from each distance separately. From 2020 on, all participants will throw in walk-back mode, where you throw three knives or axes, and instantly step back to the next distance for three more throws. (For more changes that the EuroThrowers members voted on during the meeting, see the box.)
With time qualification swiftly used, it was quick to get down to the best 16 participants in the Duel Cup. In the qualification round, the youngest participant, Danila, was also the fastest, taking only 910ms from green light to his knife sticking into the target - a quick draw indeed. A very quiet crowd was watching the Duel Cup finals in suspense.
Beside the standard events of long distance throwing, speed and silhouette (Chris Miller achieved a perfect score!), the KATTA UK specialty was Mountain Man Throwing, with five playing cards to hit accurately.
But what about the circus? You see, the World Championship was co-located with EJC 2019, the European Juggling Convention. So beside us 250 throwers and supporters, there were 3500 jugglers on site, unicyclers and tightrope walkers (you got a rope fixed to your back if you wanted to try that one out). Three circus tents were erected, with shows every few hours, and open stage in the evenings. All day and night (glowing clubs where all the rage) you would meet groups of people training acrobatics and juggling. Beach volleyball with juggling clubs is a crowd pleaser! Most juggletrs were living and cooking in their tents on site, but some restauration was available - I got my daily fix of veggie burger.
The Essex Backyard Throwers held workshops on knife and axe throwing during the convention, teaching throwing skills (and safety rules) to hundreds of jugglers.
The wind had blown away our main tent, so for the award ceremony, we gathered in the main arbiter tent - a cozy setting with the excited roars and applause threatening to blow away the roof of this tent also. If the winners got some envious looks, it was only because of the living-room worthy glass trophies, and the beautifully made knives and pipe axes hand made and donated by Kari Salonius.
Many thanks to Litte John, Richard Sunderland, Neville Oldroyd, Nicola Wetherill, Mark Lee, Mo Gagawara, Martin Dale, Paul Swain, Owen Channer, Justin Mosley, George Leeming and Zoe Sunderland, the Woodend Warriors, East Coast Target Sports, the Phoenix Throwers, the Norfolk Flingers, and all on "Team GB"! They were the ones organisierung a fun and smooth EuroThrowers World Championship in a unique circus setting!
Members meeting of the EuroThrowers association
The EuroThrowers umbrella organisation has the objective of making sure that there is a common Championship each year, and negotiates standard rules for it. The organisation of a Championship is always accomplished by a local club – this year by KATTA UK. The EuroThrowers assist in planning, and take care of the international promotion of the event.
If there was a tie for one of the first three places of an event, those throwers were rated higher that had a higher number of sticks in the bulls eye/5 points.
The base rules employed were the Standard European Knife and Axe throwing rules (2010 version).
For each event, the thrower has to show up with three throwing tools (knives/axes). Exceptions only for throwing tools damaged during the meeting.
If ties need to be resolved, the following additional ranking factor will be used: The number of times a participant scored a 5-point stick (further using 4-3-2 sticks if necessary).We will have the following standard events:
For the precision events, there will be four combined virtual rankings: For women, men, knives and axes separately. Knives combine the 3m, 5m and 7m events, axes combine the 4m, 5m and 7m events.
The points achieved in each event will first be normalised, and then summed up. Normalisation here means that in each event, the best thrower will receive 100 normalised points. This ensures that a point in a more demanding event (like 7m knives) also carries more weight in the combined ranking.
The combined precision rankings are the basis for qualification for the event World Championship Precision (Walkback) and the ranking of countries. There are no other rankings that combine several events.
The three countries with the best throwers will be recognised.
The country rankings will be based on the normalised cumulative precision scores of the top five throwers of each country. The score is thus based on the results of the six knife and axe precision events. Countries with less than five participants who have thrown the full six precision events will not be included in the respective ranking.
Titles to win in the long distance event: World Champion in Long Distance Knife/Axe Throwing
For the titles of World Champion in Knife/Axe Precision Throwing, we will use the walk-back-mode.
Only the 20% best throwers from the standard precision events (including axe 5m) are qualified for this event. Minimal number of participants per title: men 20, women 5.
The event will be held at the following marked distances: Knife 3, 4, 5, 6, 7m, axe 4, 5, 7, 8, 10m.
The thrower will throw at 4 target groups (we say he makes 4 "runs"). At each target group (consisting of three targets), he will throw one round of three throws per distance mark - starting behind the closest distance mark and moving back behind the next distance mark after completing the previous round. He will thus throw at all distance marks in one run. The number of throws in one run at a target group is thus: 5 distances x 3 throws per round = 15 throws.
The thrower does not have to stand at the distance mark, but can move back a maximum of 100cm minus the length of his foot.
As usual, the Duel-Cup will also be held. Pairwise throwing, the participant who hits the target faster after the signal goes on to the next round. An electronic system will determine which thrower sticks it first!
The standard Duel-Cup rules will be employed.
This year, we will have a qualification round using Time-preselection. The final will see the 16 fastest throwers competing.The following rules will ensure a smooth proceeding of the Duel-Cup:
You throw your knife from the handle, with no spin, in walk-back mode. Minimum weight: 230g.
Title to win: World Champion in No-Spin Knife Throwing.Detailed No-Spin rules: PDF / OpenOffice
Put as many knives in the target as you can in 20 seconds. Minimum distance 3m. Minimum weight 200g.Detailed Speed rules: PDF / OpenOffice
axe throwing into targets that are grouped around two circles (the silhouette). Hits inside the silhouette will cost you a penalty of minus 10 points.
The target is divided into four areas. A playing card is fixed to each of the quarters, and one in the middle. Five knives and five axes have to be thrown into the correct quarter/the middle, with extra points for a stick into the correct card.
Detailed Mountain Man rules: PDF