I was in kind of a mood at Friday market, just watching people when I hear “American or Canadian?” They are talking to me. I laugh and look over, American with a grimace, preparing for a Trump comment. I end up talking to a South African who lived in Canada for some time. After a few minutes of conversation and jokes about building a wall, I’m handed a business card- Throw Axes Ya Badass with a cool bearded face and skull crossbones. I’m intrigued.
How does one get into the axe throwing business you ask? I asked. Marriage. Yep. Canadian man meets South African woman, fells in love, moves to South Africa, gets married, starts throwing axes 3 years later- just, not at her (I asked that too) at logs and such. Man starts axe gang in Cape Town, and now I’m invited. I feel special.
I wonder into the axe throwing shop at 11am the next day as I was told (actually I got lost and was set straight in a dried meat shop). An axe throwing and archery paradise awaits me. I enter a room/warehouse full of painted target logs with axes in them, bows, arrows, and various targets. I’m greeted warmly and the fun begins.
My Canadian, now South African, axe throwing instructor shows me how it’s done, effortlessly throwing his axe and I watch as it twirls in the air and perfectly sinks into the log. “It wants to be thrown, just let it happen.”Right. “Now you try,” he says. You are sure this’s safe? I’ve never even held an axe before. My axe is not so gracefully thrown and clangs loudly to the floor. Oops. Try again. This time it at least hits a part of the log- just not close to the middle. I keep going and after about five throws I finally get a bullseye. I’ve graduated to archery.
I’m handed a massive bow, (I wanted to use the smaller one, but was told they are for children) which was slightly awkward for me. After putting on an arm strap and learning how to hold the bow, I do this little look through my hands thing and it’s determined that I’m a lefty- I’ve never been a lefty at anything in my life. I learn how to hook the bow, place my arms, pull back, way back, and then I shoot. Apparently my dart experience has done me well.
I hit the target close to the bullseye, but not quite. I line the arrow up with my left eye (cause I’m a lefty), look down the arrow, lining it up with the target and shoot. Bullseye. Now I move back and shot from even further away. This bow is heavy and my arm gets tired quickly, but it seems like I’m a natural. Not sure when these new life skills will ever serve me, but now I know I can do it. It’s not what I expected to learn in South Africa, but you never know when you might come upon an axe man. I made some new local friends and now I know I have killer aim. Pretty bad-axe (I know, super cheesy, but I couldn’t resist).