What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: What kinds of knives do you throw?

David Adamovich: That’s a typical throwing knife.  It’s a 14-inch knife, about an eighth of an inch thick, it weighs about 12 ounces.  A good throwing knife will be at least that size, between 12 ounces and 14 ounces, at the most one pound, 16 ounces.  It’s got a good piece of steel in your hand, a nice point, and that’s what sticks in the wood.  So whether or not I’m throwing knives, tomahawks, axes, or Bowie Knife, the process is always the same.

Question: What are the physics of knife-throwing?

David Adamovich: The physics of throwing a knife is the same every time, whether I’m throwing by the handle, or the blade.  If it’s a blade throw, it’s called a half-spin and it starts back here, right back by my shoulder, and I bring my arm forward and aim it right to where I want it to go.  Now in that position right there, when the knife is actually like this, in the air – I’m sorry, as my hand gets into that position, it slides off, the knife makes a quarter turn, which doesn’t count.  And now it needs to make another half turn to get that point to the board so it does this in the air, and then finally gets to the board and sticks.  

If I were throwing it for a full spin, I would hold it by the handle, I’d start back here, right behind my shoulder, the arm comes forward and straight out pointing to where I want it to go.  And then as the hand passes through this position, it slides out, makes a quarter turn, that doesn’t count, and now that point had to make one more full turn to get to the board, which is over there.  So, it will go like this in the air, and get there point first.  

The speed of the knife has always been a contention among knife throwers.  I’ve checked it with radar guns, I’ve checked it with 60-frames-per-second videography, it always works out the same.  The knife is going through the air between 26 and 30 miles per hour.  So, from where I’m standing to get to the board is somewhere just under two-tenths of a second.  

Question:
Do you have to be a certain distance from your target?

David Adamovich: When I first started performing, I devised the act for almost everything at a full spin.  So all my items were thrown from the handle and I was out about 12 feet.  But as I was going to different venues, I found out I didn’t have the space on stage to do a full spin throw, plus the distance to the board to the back of the stage.  The stages just don’t allow it. So I revised the whole act to be half-spin, all the knives, and that’s at about seven feet from the board.

So when I’m throwing the big things, like axes and tomahawks, I have to go out to about 12 feet because I’m holding them from the handle versus the blade.

Recorded on July 15, 2010

Interviewed by Max Miller

More from the Big Idea for Friday, August 13 2010

 

The Physics of Knife Throwing

Newsletter: Share: