3-Minute Interview: Rick Lemberg

The world champion knife thrower and inductee in the International Knife Throwing Hall of Fame will show off his skills Sunday at a Jewish sports event hosted by the Congregation Beth Israel-Judea at 625 Brotherhood Way that starts at 10 a.m.

How did you get into knife throwing? I was a magician and a juggler as a kid. I was discovered as an expert in the mid-1990s when I got some odd attention as a stockbroker who threw knives around, and the next thing I knew I was getting contacted by major throwing organizations in the southeast and in Vegas and in the Texas Corridor.

What’s the key to throwing knives? The basics for someone starting out would be to stand at 8 feet [away from the target], holding the knife by the blade with your thumb on top, and you throw straight and hard over the shoulder. The knife will do a natural rotation, and if you do it right it will stick in, point first.

Do you have a specialty? The art and sport of knife throwing encompasses several different expertise areas, with the main one being accuracy, which I’ve won championships in. But my real specialties are speed throwing, which is how many knives you can stick in an 18-inch circle in 20 seconds, as well as more eclectic skills like throwing through an obstacle course.

Is there any money in the sport? There’s now quite a bit — or at least more than we’re used to. The martial arts people added a zero to the prize money. The big events now have tens of thousands of dollars in prize money.

Is knife throwing a traditional Jewish event? No — not really. My master is Native American, and most of the history of the art going back two generations is mostly Native American based.

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