Throwing knives and stars (also known as shuriken) are beautiful martial arts weapons with fascinating histories. They’re also the basis of some amazing martial arts techniques. But for various reason they don’t always receive the same amount of attention that more commonly used martial arts weapons like bos, kamas, and katanas do.
It makes perfect sense that someone would be curious about these exciting pieces of martial arts gear. It also makes sense that they might not know where to start.
AWMA just got some amazing new throwing stars and throwing knives in stock, though. So what better time to dig into the topic.
Let’s learn a little bit about throwing stars and knives, where they came from, where you can get them, and what you can do with them.
What are throwing knives?
Throwing knives are a type of knife that has specifically been designed for the act of throwing. Both their shape and weight has evolved over centuries of use to allow the user maximum control and efficacy in their throws.
The use of sharp throwing instruments dates back to prehistoric times, when hunters would throw sharpened sticks at animals. More formalized use of throwing knives as both hunting and battle weapons has roots all over the world. The people of Central Africa have been particularly influential in the development of the throwing knife as a tool. Their versions date back to at least 1000 AD.
Knife throwing gained popularity as both a sport and a carnival act in the 1800s and 1900s. Today, throwing knives are used in martial arts practices, sporting competition, entertainment acts, and recreation.
What are throwing stars?
Shuriken (手裏剣, which literally translate to “hidden hand blade”) refers to a collection of concealed weapons that samurai used as supplementary tools to their swords. There are two main types of shuriken, the bo shuriken and the hira shuriken. Bo shuriken are straight iron or steel blades that often have spikes on each end. Hira shuriken are the throwing weapons made in the style that we most commonly associate with throwing stars today. They are thin metal plates that have between three and eight points extending from the center.
Our knowledge of the history and traditional techniques of shuriken is incomplete. Not much historical documentation on the weapons has survived and only some techniques have been passed on through the generations. There also aren’t a lot of ancient shuriken that exist today, because they were likely treated as small disposable weapons in their time. But what has survived is fascinating and exciting. Today, shuriken are used in martial arts training and enjoyed as collectors’ items.
Are throwing stars and throwing knives illegal?
The short answer is it depends.
Laws regarding throwing weapons vary by country and by state. They can also vary by weapon. Throwing knives are legal in many places where throwing stars are not.
If you are interested in training with throwing knives or throwing stars, the first thing you should do is research what the law says about manufacturing, owning, and carrying these weapons where you live.
AWMA.com cannot ship throwing stars to California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, or Virginia.
Where can you train with throwing knives and throwing stars?
Your throwing star and throwing knife training options will obviously depend on the laws where you live. If they are legal in your area, you could have a few choices. You might be able to find a martial arts facility that teachers throwing techniques as part of its weapon training. You might also be able to find private instruction in these techniques. Axe and knife-throwing facilities and bars are also gaining popularity in many places. They might not offer the level of dedicated technique that you’ll get from martial arts-specific training, but they’re a fun option for anyone who is curious about throwing weapons and just wants to give it a try. Some of these places even have competitive leagues.
If you have the space to use them safely and responsibly, you can also train with throwing knives and/or throwing stars at home. All you’ll need is the space, a set of the martial arts weapons of your choice, a target, and a great deal of care. Here’s a helpful primer on how to build your own throwing knife target.
3 Piece Throwing Knife Set: Constructed of a solid steel, these 7.5 inch throwing knives are the perfect option for someone training with knives. The perfect weapon for practicing self- defense techniques. These knives are sharpened. $29.99 USD at AWMA.com.
3 Point Triangle Star: Constructed of a solid steel, this 4 inch 3 point triangle throwing star is the perfect option for someone training with stars. The perfect weapon for practicing self-defense techniques. These stars are sharpened. $10.99 USD at AWMA.com.
Throwing Stars and Throwing Knives 4 Piece Set: This kit is the perfect option for someone training with knives and stars. The perfect weapon for practicing self-defense techniques. The knives are 9 inches each and the stars are 4. Both are sharpened. $34.99 USD at AWMA.com.