The Quick Ascent of a World Champion Knife Thrower

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The forest of mostly dead trees sits near the highway in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Syringes and broken bottles litter the landscape. On occasion, you might catch a vagrant cooking some food or a junkie getting his fix. You might also see master knife-thrower Adam Celadin using the trees and other vegetation in the area as targets for his wide array of throwing knives.

He wears a black bandana to honor the late Master Houzan Suzuki, a shuriken jutsu sensei from Japan. Celadin, 30, has only been throwing knives for five years, but during that period, he estimates that he has thrown the blades over 100,000 times.

While he’s been interested in sharp objects since he was child, Celadin didn’t have any real interest in knife throwing until a famous Czech in his 70s appeared on his TV show “Destruction Allowed.” The Czech was one of the best knife throwers in the country. Celadin was inspired by his ability to stick the blade in the target every time, so he decided to take up the sport.

He practiced all the time, perfecting his ability. He had a goal in mind: To get good enough to join a competition in a foreign country. The practice paid off. After a few years, Celadin found himself with other members of a Czech team competing at the 2016 World Championship in Maniago, Italy.

Celadin went to the event with the plan to have fun, meet people, and shoot some cool footage. When the competition kicked off, the rules were different than what he was accustomed to. Still, he was going to do his best.

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Celadin practices his knife throwing skills. Photo courtesy of Adam Celadin.

He had to throw 3 to 6 feet farther from the target than he normally did. In a normal match, you throw 9 to 19 feet away from the target. He didn’t get 60 throws to hit his objective, either — instead, he only had 15. Despite these inconsistencies with how he practiced, Celadin did outstanding. In the last few throws, he scored high and also hit the bullseye, which put him in the lead at the World Championship.

He performed better in the long distance knife throw, easily sticking his knife in the target at a little over 15 feet. But his throw of over 62 feet is where he cemented his legacy.

His life changed at Maniago as he walked away with two medals and as the champion of two of the events.

“My first time was like a dream come true because I was able to throw with actual real no-spin throwers from all around the world,” he said.

He added that he defeated over 130 people to win the title for long-distance throw.

No-spin throwing is when the knife does not spin at all and the tip is always facing the target.

“At the time, I only had 1,000 [YouTube] subscribers but a lot of throwers knew me specifically because of my bandana,” Celadin said. “Everybody was so nice to me. I would have never guessed that I am going to win two world champion titles.”

He added that he defeated over 130 people to win the title for long-distance throw.

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World Champion Knife Thrower Adam Celadin holds four records in the Czech Book of Records. Image Credit to Helena Tovarková Photography.

Just how popular is knife throwing as a sport?

“The sport is getting bigger and bigger, especially in the USA and Canada, where people are opening bars and it’s basically like new bowling or darts,” Celadin said. “It is very cool, and of course Russia is booming and some states in Europe, like France or UK, are [too], where the world championship will be next year.”

After a recent cancer diagnosis, Celadin is focusing on his health, but his hard work and determination has really paid off. In Texas, he took home another title, and he now has over 200,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.

Celadin would like to see knife throwing grow as a sport and become something people watch on TV or attend matches. As far as his dream, he just wants to be healthy, throw knives all around the world, and teach anyone who is interested in learning about knife throwing.

Justen Charters is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. Justen was previously at Independent-Journal Review (IJ Review) for four years, where his articles were responsible for over 150 million page views, serving in various positions from content specialist to viral content editor. He currently resides in Utah with his wife and daughter.
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