Get Uncomfortably Close to the World’s Fastest Knife-Thrower

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“Impalement artist” David Adamovich, a.k.a., the Great Throwdini, holds 40 world records.

At a 2007 event in Freeport, New York, Dr. David Adamovich, who calls himself The Great Throwdini, hurled 102 14-inch throwing knives at his female partner in one minute, setting a world record. The former exercise physiology professor picked up knife-throwing at the age of 50, took to it quickly, and has broken or set 40 world records since. He even has a signature throwing-knife series available for $36. Throwdini spoke with New York about finding the razor’s edge between safety and speed, the knife-thrower’s code, and why it’s important to miss one way and not the other.

So how did you start breaking world records?
Before I started doing knife-throwing records, they almost didn’t exist. There were a couple floating around, and I had submitted one to Guinness. They said they weren’t interested because they thought knife records were too dangerous, but then maybe two months later, the exact record that I submitted was done by someone else who was on one of Guinness’s local television shows in Germany. That started my awareness of how they work and their agenda. After that, I submitted to them and to Record Holders Republic. That opened my eyes to world records.

I was also doing an Off Broadway show called “Maximum Risk — World Champions on the Edge.” As part of the allure of the show, we promised that we’d attempt to set or break a world record at the end of each show.

How do you balance the need for speed with the need for safety?When I’m creating a new skill, we’ll take it piece by piece. We’ll build safety into the stunt as we do it.

How do you increase your throwing speed like that?
I have a normal rhythm, so when I want to increase the speed I just tell myself to step it up a bit. The delay time between each throw gets shorter. My normal time is about three quarters of a second between each throw. When I’m cranking it up, it drops to about half a second.

Do you ever miss?
I aim to miss. So yes, I miss all the time. But I know exactly what you meant: Have I hit the girl? Yes, I have. There have been scrapes over the years. Sometimes I get a little too fast. The margin of error is very tight, so even being off by an inch could be in that margin. On rare occasions, a knife will miss the board. I’ll turn around and joke with the audience that it’s good the error was in that direction rather than the other one.

What other records are you working on right now?
There’s only one other guy, Patrick Brumbach, out there working on these records, and he and I came to an agreement. If either one of us has a record, the other one would leave it alone. If Guinness approaches me to break a record and I see that he holds it, I tell them that I’m not interested and he does the same for me. It’s a little bit of a gentleman’s agreement. It would be nice to hold them all, but it’s not necessary. Trying to take that away from someone you respect isn’t necessary.

Get Uncomfortably Close to the World’s Fastest Knife-Thrower