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Axe Throwing Terms & Culture: Immerse Yourself

Do you fancy yourself as a bit of a Viking and want to learn axe throwing terms and culture? Mighty and resourceful, the Vikings proved themselves to be avid adventurers, and spent much of their time exploring unknown lands. They also became known for their love of conquering, pillaging and plundering! Let’s dive deep.

The Vikings Conquer York

The Viking invasion of York took place back in 866AD, when Ivar the Boneless and King Halfden took possession of the city. They soon renamed it Jorvik and set about making themselves at home! Despite their reputation as blood-thirsty vanquishers, the Vikings were surprisingly peaceful settlers and adept at other things too, such as farming, art and engineering. But, of all their skills, axe-throwing definitely featured high on the list.

Axe Throwing Terminology

If you fancy your chances, you might want to brush up on your axe throwing terminology first. This is not a prerequisite to having a go at axe-throwing (The Hilt coaches will teach you all you need to know), however it might earn you kudos with your fellow Vikings.

Sticking An Axe

If you get a pat on the back for “sticking an axe” then you have successfully managed to hurl your chopper and hit the target.


This refers to the unfortunate event of your axe not sticking properly in the target. If your axe falls out (drops) you won’t get any points for your well-aimed throw.


As you throw your axe (in the method taught by The Hilt coaches) you will notice it begins to spin as it flies through the air. We call this motion “rotation.” Your axe will need to make a full rotation in order to hit and embed itself in the target. Throwing distance is an all-important factor here - and something your coach will help you with.


We’ve probably all heard of a bullseye - its the red circle that sits right in the middle of a target. Hitting the bullseye is considered to be cause for celebration, as you will get maximum points for doing so. Here’s to sticking a bullseye and stealing that Viking crown. If you manage to do that don’t be afraid to shout “Nailed It!” Showing off is perfectly fine when you’re a great warrior.

Kill Shots

This relates to the two red circles that sit atop the point rings. These circles provide 7 points apiece. If you’re attempting a double-axe throw it’s possible to stick both of your axes into the kill shots. This is a skilful manoeuvre but it can be done.

Skol or Skål

Quite simply, the term Skol, or Skål (as it is written in Danish, Norweigen and Swedish) was used by our Viking friends to encourage and cheer their fellow warriors. Once you’re finished at The Hilt why not head to one of the many bars in York and toast your success with a resounding “Skol!”

Come and Swing Your Axe With Us

The good news is that you don’t need to build a longboat or invade a city to try out an authentic Viking experience. The Hilt is a unique venue in the centre of York (near to York Minster) that offers you the chance to master the art of axe-throwing. We have ten lanes set up to accommodate family and friends, allowing you to come together for an experience like no other.

Our experienced coaches will guide you through the process, teaching you all you need to know - and you will be soon swinging an axe like a true warrior. You will start with a safety briefing, before getting to grips with the skill during a hands on practise session. After that it’s competition time - where you can take on your nearest and dearest in a bid to be crowned Viking or Viqueen.

The whole session lasts for about 1 hour 15 minutes and there’s an opportunity to order food and drinks afterwards (axe-throwing can be hungry and thirsty work).

Axe Throwing Culture

Here at The Hilt, we adopt an all-inclusive culture - you don’t have to be a fully fledged Viking to step through our doors and strut your stuff. It doesn’t matter if you're a novice thrower or an expert axe-juggler, you’re more than welcome to join the fun. We’re a sociable bunch and we encourage our guests to get into the spirit of things too.

The Hilt can accommodate groups of 2-12 (larger groups can be accommodated on request) and is perfect for a family get-together, work outing, birthday bash, stag do or other celebration. The venue can offer private axe-throwing for groups of 89-12, which entitles you to a lane or two of your own (no sharing with other groups).

Learn How To Throw Like a Viking

As we’ve already mentioned, our coaches will school you in the art of axe-throwing, and they will demonstrate both a one-handed and two-handed technique. It sounds complicated, but you will soon get the hang of it. The axes aren’t as heavy as you might think (they weigh around 1.6 kgs each) so you will be able to handle one with relative ease. When you lift the axe you will need to grip it firmly (imagine picking up a baseball or cricket bat). The coaches will show you how to axe throw like how to hold the hatchet so that the blade remains straight (rather than rotated to the left or right). This ensures the axe flies in a straight line toward the target.

Join Us At The Hilt

A truly eclectic city with a buzzing atmosphere, there’s so much to see and do in York. From walks along the River Ouse, to visiting interactive attractions such as The Jorvik Centre and York Dungeons, you’re spoilt for choice. Next time you’re in the city why not join us at The Hilt? We can guarantee you will enjoy an experience like no other.


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