Life is all about moments … from the small instances that we don’t think twice about or the larger occurrences where we are thrown outside of our norm; experiences that test us and push us over the edge. That edge is our comfort zone, and sometimes all we need is a little push. Swallow your fear, gather your courage (it’s already there), and take that leap of faith. Ready or not, it’s happening and the everyday adventure which we call life is upon us. This is NonaVentures, and this is living for every moment.
This adventure began a little differently. Normally I’d consider myself to be on top of ALL things adventurous, but I discovered Epic Axe Throwing through a friend. He was telling me all about this new place that opened up back in November in downtown Orlando where you just unleash and you guessed it … throw axes. I HAD to check this place out! And now, here I am!
Epic Axe Throwing is a bit hidden in the heart of downtown, but once you find it, you’ll never forget its presence. You open the door to a warehouse-like vibe, and immediately your ears are filled with the sounds of metal slapping against wood. Wooden targets line the walls, and chain-link fences divide the areas. It was time to throw some axes.
Naturally, I had to ask my friend, Keanu, to tag along since he was the whole reason I even knew about this experience. We were shown to our zone and began our safety demonstration from our axe-throwing coach. I began to feel the nerves (but also excitement) overcome me. My mind began spiraling out of control with thoughts: What if you hurt yourself? You’re going to cut a braid off! Your ear! What about your ear!? I tried to silence those thoughts, and the next thing I knew, it was time to throw.
The rules were simple – stay behind the line when others are throwing, make sure the area is clear before you go to retrieve your axe, and blow off some steam and have fun. Seriously, this is the experience for you if you have had nothing but anger and stress lately. Think of it as a destruction room, but instead of bashing objects, you’re destroying a plank of wood and embracing your inner Neanderthal.
To ensure the correct form of the axe (you want it to spin one full rotation and hit the wood target straight on, with the blade hitting directly, piercing the target so it’s perpendicular to the floor), you hold the axe with both hands out in front of you to line it up with the target. Then, you bring your arms back over your head so the blade is facing the ceiling and your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Take a step back to build your momentum and then lunge forward, swinging your arms and releasing the axe. Now, although you may throw the axe correctly, that doesn’t mean it will stay in the target.
When we began to throw, I kid you not … it took me about 20 throws to finally hit the target. The sound it makes when the axe hits the wood and stays there is oh so satisfying! Keanu hit the target after his second or third throw, and I felt the pressure. The competition was on!
We had the option to throw three different types of axes: the one we started with was considered the “manual” axe; it helped you get the motion down and was compared to driving a manual car … you have to do all of the work. The weight of this axe was evenly distributed. Next was the larger axe, with most of the weight in the actual blade. I liked this one. The first throw, I hit the bullseye, so naturally, my confidence skyrocketed. A few failed attempts later, and I became humble again. This axe does all of the work for you, essentially. The last axe, which was the crowd favorite because it’s the lightest and probably the coolest, was the Tomahawk.
As time went on, we would alternate which axes to throw and begin to fall into the comfort zone. Finally getting the form down and hitting the target more often than when we (really, I should just say me) began. We were taught how to do a one-handed throw (which reignited my fear of cutting my hair or ear), but the reality was that the axe would go nowhere near the side of your head. You would still follow that 90-degree angle rule. I needed to use the Tomahawk for this method because of how irritated my wrists are, and I managed to hit the target successfully a handful of times.
At one point, I decided that I’d go back to throwing the first axe to see if I could hit the target just one more time with it. I ended up throwing it so hard that the form was off and the angle that the blade hit the wood chipped off some wood (about the size of my finger) and it came flying right at my face! By the time I even realized the wood chip was flying, I had a split second to take a step back and luckily, I did, because it ended up hitting my cheekbone. That could’ve been much worse! I put that axe down and decided to retire it from any further participation.
So, there you have it … besides that one scare, I had way too much fun slinging axes like a barbarian. I managed to relieve some stress and discovered a new way to practice for an apocalypse! I also have some sick footage of axes spiraling through the air in slow motion. I definitely recommend Epic Axe Throwing to everyone, and if you ever need someone to go with, pick me! An hour-long session begins at $25, and, depending on your group size, walk-ins are available.
Have an experience that had adrenaline coursing through your soul? Challenge me to live YOUR moment at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our NonaVentures column form at forms.nona.media/nhn-nonaventures.