European Knife Throwing and Axe Throwing Rules

The rules presented below are used in Europe at big international competitions. Thus, the results achieved by the individual sport throwers can be compared more easily. For a history of how these rules came about, see the end of this page.

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European Knife- and Axe Throwing Rules (Version 2019)

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Target / Points

The target is a circle measuring 50cm in diameter; it is partitioned into 5 concentric rings with the following diameters (and colours): 10cm (black), 20cm (white), 30cm (red), 40cm (white), 50cm (red).

Points: the centre (bullseye) earns 5 points, 4/3/2/1 points are awarded for the respective outer rings.

Heights of the targets (measured from the bullseye to the ground): 1.30m up to 1.60m.


Standard events

Standard events are those events that are supposed to be held at any competition that follows European Knife Throwing and Axe Throwing Rules.

List of standard events:

  • Walk-back precision throwing (knife, axe)
  • Long distance (knife, axe)
  • Sports silhouette throwing
  • Duel-Cup (with time preselection round, if feasible)
  • No spin knife throwing (suggestion: precision walk-back)

World Champions

World Champion titles are awarded in the following events: Walk-back precision throwing (male, female, axe, knife), No spin knife throwing (mixed), Long distance (female, male, knife, axe), Sports silhouette throwing (male, female), Duel Cup (mixed);

Walk-back precision throwing

The events will be held at the following marked distances: Knife 3m, 4m, 5m, 6m, 7m; Axe 4m, 5m, 7m, 8m, 10m;

The thrower will throw 4 runs. In each run, 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 from all distances in one run, resulting in a total number of 60 throws (5 distances x 3 throws per round x 4 runs).

The thrower does not have to stand directly at the distance marks, but can move back a maximum of 100cm minus the length of his foot.

Single distance precision

Knives 3m, Knives 5m and Knives 7m.
Axes 4m and Axes 7m.

Distances given for these events are minimum distances. You must not stand closer to the target, but can move a maximum of 2m back (both for knives and axes).

You have 21 throws per event. For each target you are allowed one test throw, which has to be declared as such in advance.

In case of bad weather, narrow time constraints or other emergency situations, the organiser can decide to hold only 15 throws instead of 21.

The points are summed up per event. Additionally, for informative purposes the fraction of the achieved points divided by the maximum number of points achievable in this event will be given in percent.

Long distance

Same rules for knives and axes.

Whether a throw is valid is decided analogously to the counting rules.

The target is a circle with a diameter of 1m.

The goal is to achieve a stick in this circle from the farthest distance.

The minimum distance to the target is 4m. From here, areas of 3m in length follow (that is, 4-7m, 7-10m, 10-13m,…). The contestant chooses a distance in the first area, from here he has 3 throws (there are no test throws). If he achieves a stick, he may proceed back further away from the target and has again 3 throws. He may go back at most into the next area. The procedure ends if 3 throws are unsuccessful; The distance achieved will be noted, measured to the centimetre. The areas only concern the measuring of the distance, not the throw itself (for example, it is allowed to throw from a distance of 6.99m even though one stands in two areas at once). After the first throw in an area, it is forbidden to go back to an area closer to the target. As a further restriction, once a distance is chosen, for the current 3 throws the contestant may change the distance only within the 2m-range of 1m towards and away from the target.

Sports Equipment


Only knives with a rigid blade, longer than 23cm and with a blade narrower than 6cm.


Minimum weight 500g, maximum breadth of the blade 12cm.

Counting / Schedule

After each evaluation, the arbiter retrieves the throwing tools and brings them back to the thrower.

The thrower can request that, before another throw at a target, the throwing tool sticking there be evaluated and removed.

The tool will be counted exactly as it is sticking in the target, it will not be redressed perpendicular to the target.

For a throw to be valid, a knife's tip and an axe's blade must stick.

With double-bladed axes, only sticks with the handle down are valid. If both blades touch the target, the throw is invalid.

The best ring that is cut will be counted (in doubt, pull out the blade to verify the cut).

Distances are measured from the tip of the foot that was closest to the target during the throw. It is thus forbidden to transgress the minimum distance lines, doing so will make the throw invalid (0 points).

If more than 5 women participate, there will be a separate ranking for them.

Throwers from all countries can participate in the contest. The nationality plays no role whatsoever in determining the rankings and winners. For the national championship only, organisers have the option to solely allow participants from their country; In this case, the exclusion of foreigners must be clearly communicated when advertising the event and inviting to it (even in-country).

Safety / Organisation

A first-aid kit must be available on site.

Throwing at the competition targets is only allowed under the supervision of an arbiter.

Throwing at the training targets is only allowed if an official range officer is present. The range officer observes the throwing and intervenes before dangerous situations arise.

The rectangular area 10m in front of and 3m to both sides of the targets is roped off, only contestants and arbiters are allowed here. It is forbidden to stay behind the targets.

There is a minimum distance of 6m between the targets.

Participants under 18 years must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

The main referee is always right. If you do not observe the rules, especially those meant for security, you will be disqualified and sent off the place.

Every participant has to have a third party liability insurance, if this insurance is offered as standard option by insurers in the thrower's home country.

Every participants has to sign that he accepts the rules, and that he takes part at his own risk.

Name of these Standard Rules

These rules are called „European Knife and Axe Throwing Rules“.

The official rule document is in English language, translations are provided for convenience only.


It is not obligatory to heed the following comments, but they help in creating a uniform throwing experience:

A target construction normally consists of 3 separate targets, which will be thrown at clockwise.

The best material for targets is end grain wood, for example the slice of a tree.

History / Status

In many European nations, there are competitions in axe throwing and knife throwing, albeit with different rules. Thus, on the 20th of September 2008 in Chomutov/Czech Republic, on the occasion of the eighth Big European Throwers Meeting, official representatives of the sport from 4 countries sat together to discuss common rules. After three hous of negotiations in 4 languages, we found a consensus, the so-called Chomutov-Agreement.


The following people were present in Chomutov for the negotiations:

  • Smajda Ludvik, Czech Republic, Celts club
  • Franta Olbort, Czech Republic, NAJA club
  • Americo Sabato, Italy, president of the Associazione Lanciatori Sportivi Italia
  • Stefan Slahor, Slovakia
  • Tomas Maurer, Czech Republic, NAJA club
  • Norbert Maier, Germany, president of the EuroThrowers club
  • Michel Dujay, France
  • Christian Thiel, Germany, vice-president of the EuroThrowers club (chairman of the negotiations)

In 2009, after experiences at the Big European Throwers Meeting in Villeflambeau, it became clear that some rules were formulated unclear, or were not supported equally by all throwers.Thus, the EuroThrowers started a consultation process with associations in Germany, France, Italy and the Czech Repbulic, with a voting at the end. The resulting 2010 version remained stable until 2019.

At the EuroThrowers members meeting 2019 in Newark, members voted to include new events as Standard events.

Of course, those rules may be and are encouraged to be used in countries that have not yet officially joined the EuroThrowers!