Needle Throwing Techniques

By Steve Johnson

An ancient art mastered by assassins in China and ninjas in Japan, needle throwing can incapacitate human targets with one accurate and powerful strike. In ancient China and Japan, mastery of needle throwing was part of a warrior's training. Aside from meticulous training and practice, needle throwing involves other practices such as harnessing your "qi."

Harnessing "Qi"

The basic technique behind needle throwing requires harnessing your "qi," or "chi." Taoism, an ancient Chinese religion, defines qi as the life-force flowing in all living things. Taoism teaches that you can charge up your qi by conditioning your mind and harnessing the life-force within your surroundings. Tai chi, a Chinese martial art, teaches this method. Once you are in tune with your qi, you can have the power to direct a powerful energy to any object -- in this case a needle.

Chinese Roots

With a simple online search, web surfers can find videos showing a Chinese monk throwing a simple sewing needle, breaking through glass. Although speculation surrounds the videos, regarding whether they're real or not, historians agree that needle throwing has a long history in Chinese martial arts. One such martial art is known as the "Fei Biao," or "air darts." Air darts were very common in ancient China and were effective short-distance weapons. A basic air dart has a double-edged point on one end and a dull point with a hole on the other end.


"Shuriken-jutsu" is the Japanese martial art of mastering throw weapons, and it uses two main types of projectiles: "bo shuriken," or needle-type projectiles, and "hira shuriken," which use flat metal plates with sharp points, more commonly known as Chinese stars. Bo shuriken techniques have several schools, or "dojos," in ancient Japan teaching different styles of needle throwing.

Basic Throwing Technique

Aside from harnessing your qi, needle throwing requires precise hand and body movements to achieve power and precision. Shuriken-jutsu, which typically uses large needles about the size of your middle finger, utilizes the whole palm to hold the needle in place. The projectile is placed between straightened forefingers while the thumb holds the shuriken. This technique uses the crevices along the fingers as a pathway to control the direction of the needle. While throwing, the martial artist uses his whole body weight to have more power.