A Knife Thrower's Confession
The Reverend Dr. David Adamovich is the world's faster and most accurate knife thrower. Better known as "The Great Throwdini," Adamovich holds 25 world records and the Guinness world record for "Most Knives Thrown Around a Human Target in 1 Minute" (102, in case you were wondering). Adamovich only began throwing knives at the age of 50; he holds a doctorate of education degree in exercise physiology from Columbia University and taught graduate students for 18 years. He is also an ordained minister, and he has managed a billiard hall. The Great Throwdini is a currently fixture in the New York sideshow and burlesque scene, and he has performed in venues around the globe. In 2009, he received the Merlin Award from the International Magicians Society.
Question: How did you discover your talent for knife-throwing?
David Adamovich: I was the director of a graduate program in exercise physiology at Long Island University, from there I went out with a friend who had an emergency medicine practice where he would oversee the physicians in an Emergency Department at different hospitals. So I left the university to work with him. I stayed with him for about five years and then went out on my own and decided to open a pool hall. And within the first years of running the pool hall, one of the guys I shoot pool with, Joe Tauraka came in with a small knife; showed it to me and I had no idea what it was. And he said, “Let’s go outside and I’ll show you.” So, we walked outside the pool hall, across the street to a tree and I threw the knife, stuck it into the tree, and said, “I could do that.”
It was just natural for me. And believe it or not, I was 50 years old at the time. I never even saw a throwing knife before then, or would have known what it was when he was showing it to me. It just came as a natural, easy talent for me. As soon as it left my hand, I knew it was going to stick and I understood the physics and the mechanics of how to throw a knife. I believe that everyone has a natural talent; they just have to find what that talent is in, and for me it was definitely knife throwing
Question: How do you deal with the risk involved with throwing knives at another human being?
So, I always use the expression, “I throw around my target, I don’t throw at.” Simply because they last a lot longer if you throw around them than if you throw at them. There’s a risk involved, it’s an incredible risk, and it’s really the target girl that takes the risk. Not me. And the most important thing of my act, I can’t express it any other way than to say, I think of the girl’s safety 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Any stunt I devise, anything I doing, I understand the risk that’s involved, just how close I can throw, how close I shouldn’t throw depending on the stunt, but always what can happen if something goes wrong as to where that girl is up at the board. Always think about it.
Question: Have you ever had a knife-throwing accident?
David Adamovich: Well, there’s two or three questions I’m always asked, one of them is, "Do you do the wheel?" Yes, I do the Wheel of Death. The other question is, are the knives real? Do they come from your hand, or the back of the board? Yes, they’re real, and they do come from my hand. They do not come from the back of the board. And the third question always is, have you ever hit the girl? So I have to answer honestly and say, yes, we’ve had some incidents and I have scraped a girl, I admit it. I got a little closer, I was a little out of control on a fast stunt where I’m throwing at about a half second per knife and after I released that knife I have to come down to my hand to get the next one, and as I do that, sometimes I pulled in a little too fast as the knife was released and then the knife hit her dress, instead of the board. So, yes, I admit, there have been some incidences, scrapes only. I’ve never impaled the girl. And I don’t want to either.
Recorded on July 15, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller
David Adamovich didn’t start throwing knives until he was 50 years old. He admits that in his career as a thrower he's "scraped" a girl. But "I’ve never impaled the girl," he says. "And I don’t want to either."
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