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The basic axe evolved as a tool since the first major economic recession when prehistoric men were laid off from the office and became hunter-gatherers working from home.

In the Middle Ages, the axe doubled as a weapon. The problem with throwing an axe at the enemy is that if you missed, the target now had your axe and was taking aim at you.

Axe throwing grew more competitive and yet more civilized when it became part of lumberjack competitions. Its popularity as a sport grew among the loggers after chainsaw throwing never really caught on.

This common object also worked its way into our daily vocabulary.

Old Battle-Axe: A strong-willed, argumentative woman, typically older in age, who is considered overbearing or domineering. 

Bury the Hatchet: An American English idiom meaning "to make peace". The phrase is an allusion to the figurative or literal practice of putting away weapons at the cessation of hostilities among or by Native Americans in the Eastern United States.

Axe to Grind: To have a dispute to take up with someone or, to have an ulterior motive; to have private ends to serve.

Hatchet Man: A person employed to carry out controversial or disagreeable tasks, such as the dismissal of a number of people from employment.

Axe Body Spray: A product with no relevance to current topic.

Axe Throwing: A sport in which the competitor throws an axe at a target, attempting to hit the bullseye.

Axes versus Darts

For people with very weak arms and for people who are very drunk, throwing darts is a safer alternative for everyone involved, participants and spectators alike.

Safety considerations and space constraints are just some of the reasons that pubs in the UK have historically been a darts venue instead of an axe throwing locale. Plus, just try to imagine this beloved scene from Ted Lasso as an axe throwing wager.

Axes versus Hatchets

The sport of axe throwing is a bit misleading in that what is thrown at the target is actually a hatchet, not a long-handled axe. The distinction between the two is the difference between throwing a lawn dart and throwing a javelin. The first one got you in trouble when you threw one at your older brother’s foot in the backyard one summer, while the latter is just one of 10 solid reasons why you were never a decathlete. 

In the preview and theme song of the mid-1960’s TV series, Daniel Boone throws a hatchet and splits a tree in half — an inspiration to all future axe throwers. However, I recently discovered that the exceptional feat was accomplished years earlier and on a grander scale in this scene from The Three Stooges.

Axe Throwing for Couples

My wife, Dorrie, recently signed us up for an axe throwing session together. First time for both of us. Now THERE'S an activity a couple should only do together if they're getting along! In fact, part of the signed waiver should include questions like...

  • On a scale from 0-10, rate your current level of frustration, anger or resentment of your spouse.
  • Would you describe yourself as a forgiving person or a grudge holder?
  • In the last 30 days have you significantly increased the amount of your spouse's life insurance policy for any reason?   

Axe Throwing Rules, Regulations and Restrictions

While it may be tempting, you are not allowed to throw your axe while your opponent is removing his from the target.

Photos of despised political figures, detested celebrities, reviled athletes, loathed bosses and resented ex-spouses shall NOT be attached as targets to the board. Two exceptions to this rule: images of Vladimir Putin and your ex’s divorce attorney.  

When indoors, the throwing distance to the target is exactly 12 feet. When outdoors, the throwing distance is the number of feet from the imaginary line in your neighbor’s driveway to his garage door.

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage & family therapist in Franklin,  (www.ramonpressontherapy.com)  the author of multiple books, and a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He can be reached at [email protected].