Like many days in my life, I was sitting behind my phone scrolling through Facebook, then I saw something magical. I had followed a video link and went down the rabbit hole. And there it was the most awesome video ever.
Jason Mamoa (Khal Drogo from 9 episodes of Game of Thrones ...I refuse to call him Aquaman from the garbage fire that was Justice League) was in what looked like a place where you interrogate hostages. He takes a big swing of beer, then picks up an axe and hurls it towards a target on a wooden wall. Bullseye.
I knew that I had to do that.
I immediately searched for axe throwing places. Nothing close enough to make an hours worth of throwing worth the drive. I lamented. And then did what any sane person would do. I bought some throwing axes on Amazon. They were clearly too small for me(and what I would learn later, way too light). But I set up a target in the backyard, I threw a little. The kids threw a little. It was alright.
Then a few days before thanksgiving this year, I saw a Facebook ad about a axe throwing place that was opening in Brooklyn. What! So I contacted them and I was invited over to the soft opening.
After a lot of scheduling problems for interested “axers” I arrived at the Gowanus location of KickAxe on a snowy Saturday morning with three friends. We signed in and waited for our lanes to be ready. The waiting area was sort of a gentrified hunting lodge. But in a good way. Someone invested a lot of money to make this place look perfect I said to my friends. There was even a giant blue ox right outside.
When it was our turn we went to one of the 10 or so axe lanes. The lanes which are two targets that are fenced in with thick artificial grass on the floor. And a large stump to hold the axes. We were given an “Axpert” to guide us. Though he was not allowed to throw, he gave us tips on how to stand and hold an axe.
It's harder than Jason Mamoa makes it look. We were using estwing hand axes. It was very hard for me to throw them lightly enough. I had to switch to a one-handed throwing style. We started sticking some but it was infrequent and a little frustrating. A little bit into our session I asked if we could switch to the bigger axes that were in other lanes. And boy did it make a difference. The heavier head of the axe stuck in the wood like crazy. I'm glad to say my team (the troop 327 alumni association axe throwing team) won both games we played (30 and Moose).
While they claim children as young as 7 can throw, I think it might be frustrating for them. My seven year old has a good arm, but I don't think he could throw an axe (even the lighter one) high and far enough, with the needed force to hit the target. A lot different than the “range” I made inbetween the swing set and the trampoline.
It was so much fun. I can't wait to go back again and unleash my inner Khal.
Note: I went to the KickAxe soft opening and our group threw for free but there was no expectation of any reciprocation. All opinions remain my own.