Throwing objects in self-defence is a legitimate tactic if your life is in danger. Some missiles may be capable of injuring an attacker but a more likely consequence is that you will distract them long enough to press home a counter-attack or affect an escape.
In my book I describe a number of throwing techniques, some of them not that well known. In this post we will look at an addition technique, that of horizontal or side-arm throws. Horizontal throwing is harder to master than vertical throwing and generally has less range and power. On the other hand, it has several features that make it more applicable for self-defence. One of these is that horizontal throws are less telegraphic than most vertical techniques, which increases the surprise element and distracting ability of a missile attack. Another element is that a horizontal throw can be combined with drawing a missile from a place of concealment. If a supply of projectiles are held in the other hand a number can be launched in a short period of time, the action of moving the throwing hand back to take another missile naturally setting up for another horizontal throw.
To throw an object such as a pencil, nail or knife it is held in the palm, parallel to the fingers, as is described in the book for push-throwing. Bend the elbow so your hand is near the opposite shoulder or hip, palm downwards. The action you are going to make is rather like a horizontal karate-chop. Your arm should be relaxed during the motion and you should avoid the temptation to hurry the movement. Lock your gaze on your intended target. Smoothly let your arm swing straight and let the missile leave your hand when your fingers are nearly towards the target. At the same time, sway your body towards the target to add momentum. If you are throwing consecutive missiles you will rock back and forth as you throw and “reload”. Some sources talk of the missile being “pressed” towards the target and this is probably a better description of the release you are aiming for rather than thinking of this as a throw. Unlike some of the other throws described in the book this technique adds very little stabilization to the missile so is more suited to “nose heavy” objects.
To throw missiles such as coins or washers the same basic action is used but the missile is head slightly differently. The object is held horizontally between the thumb and second finger, with the forefinger on the edge to apply a little drag and induce some reverse spin. Lock your eyes on the target and in a smooth, relaxed and unhurried manner swing your arm out straight so your thumb points towards the target. If the missile you are using has a sharp edge you may need to hold it between thumb and first finger and adding some spin-stabilization may require a little bit of a snapping action on release.
You will need to practice this to get the correct feeling and timing. Generally the missile is released just before or as your hand reaches the same vertical plane as your target. Depending on distance you may have to aim above your intended target rather than pointing your hand right at it.