The sun shone for just a second on Monday before Mother Nature smothered Toronto in a sheet of ice on Tuesday. The winter of 2017 can be described in one word: dreary. In times such as these it’s necessary to fight the winter blahs with two things: good friends and axes.
I woke up on Wednesday morning to sidewalks so slick any good Canadian woulda laced up her skates to make her way to work, but instead, I stood in front of my closet and contemplated whether wearing a plaid shirt to throw an axe would be cliché. The mere idea of leaving my house, my cocoon of warmth, was not appealing but spending the morning with Nathalie and Carol tossing some axes, releasing some pent up aggression, and laughing at my own poor coordination was more than enough to get me piling on the layers. And layers you will need, because this axe throwing business will have you sweating in no time!
We arrived at a non-descript building, where parking is plentiful – a pleasant miracle in the city – and made our way to Axe Throwing in Toronto, where we were met by Will. Not exactly the Paul Bunyan lumberjack that I had conjured in imagination, but he quickly dispelled any misconceptions that plaid and beards are a prerequisite for wielding an axe with startling accuracy. It should also be noted that he had the patience of Job, for anyone who has ever tried to teach me anything (golf, stick shift, basic culinary skills) can attest, I am not a quick study.
Bad Axe looks like I would expect an indoor axe-throwing place to look. Wooden targets, viewing areas – think darts on steroids and you’ve got the picture. Guests are encouraged to bring their own food, drinks (yes alcohol is permitted but be smart about it, after all, you are throwing an axe!) and tunes. And take it from me, just like any workout; refuelling is key so if you’re planning to stay longer than an hour you will need to bring refreshments.
After showing off a few of his own skills, Will broke down the key to the double-handed axe throw. Grip the axe handle with your dominant hand at the bottom (make an “okay” sign, insert the handle through the hole and then wrap your fingers around it), and place the other hand on top. Extend the arms long, gently locking the elbows but not in hyper-extension. Stand with your feet in a lunge position, arms extended out in front, axe head pointing at the target. Slowly bring the axe back behind your head. When the hands are in line with the target, release the axe but follow through swinging your arms back behind you.
Sounds confusing, right? Or do as Will says – just throw the axe! Will surmises that the secret is following through and having just the right amount of anger behind the throw.
My first few throws were abysmal!
Nathalie was a natural – but I can’t say that I was shocked. Trump is really pissing her off.
Now Carol came dressed for the part. Forget plaid. She came warrior-ready in head-to-toe black. After her first few throws she was hitting close to the bulls-eye every time. Soon after hearing each satisfying “thunk”, Will said that she was ready to try the more advanced single arm throw. If Carol could wield an axe with two-hands, then look out. With one-hand she’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Near the end of our time, she was hurling two at a time and I was growing slightly afraid of her.
I did not give up. I am nothing if not persistent. Unless it’s cooking – there’s take out for that. But there is no substitute for axe throwing. No one else is going to step in and chuck it for me. If zombies are chasing me, I am the one that is going to have to do this – my children are depending on me (Carol talked a lot about The Walking Dead). I forgot about form, the correct posture and position. I did what Will said, I just threw the axe. I threw it hard. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. By God, it’s a satisfying sound. And addicting.
Good to Know
- Trained staff is on-site to facilitate group events, like birthday parties, bachelor/bachelorettes, corporate events and family parties. There have even been a divorce party or two!
- It’s extremely safe! Yes, the axes are real but like anything sport when you use common sense, good judgment and take precautions, it’s very safe and fun.
- Wear layers. It can get warm quickly.
- Stretch! It’s a workout.
- Bring drinks. Stay hydrated.
- Don’t forget your camera.
- Calling all cottagers: Bad Axe Throwing gives away all used boards for firewood or garden beds. Give them a call to arrange a time to collect.
In addition to hosting group events, individuals can walk-in and try their hand at it! If you’re looking for something new, try the Axe Throwing League. It’s not your grandmother’s lawn bowling league! They have 11 locations throughout North America. Visit their website, Bad Axe Throwing, to find one that’s nearest you and hone your axe throwing technique!
Thank you to Bad Axe Throwing for hosting us! We had a great time!