A Southern California burglar picked the wrong house to rob last month. He was scared off — and rightfully so — on a Saturday morning last month after trying to steal a watch off a woman’s wrist as she slept. Little did he know, Robin Irvine is a skilled former tomahawk throwing champion, and keeps her weapon by her bedside.
The burglar broke through a window in Irvine’s home, ransacking several rooms before entering the bedroom where Irvine slept soundly. The homeowner woke suddenly after feeling someone touching her wrist.
“I sat up and screamed,” said homeowner Robin Irvine. “He was taking my watch off.”
Irvine immediately reached down and grabbed her bed-side tomahawk ax, which she keeps leaning against a small table, and aimed for the burglar. Wearing only her underwear and a t-shirt, Irvine chased the burglar down the hall, harboring no reservations about throwing the weapon, but didn’t end up throwing it in fear of paralyzing him.
“I would’ve gotten him right in the spine or the back of his head,” she said. “I hit what I aim for.”
Irvine claims to have learned how to throw tomahawks while growing in the San Jacinto mountains north of Hemet, located roughly 90 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. “I’ve always kept it up,” she said. “I’ve had this one for years. It’s old, but it’s perfectly balanced.”
“We frequently have customers ask us if our tomahawks are designed for throwing,” says Richard Carmack, COO, RMJ Tactical. “Although they’re not designed for throwing they do throw well. In most cases, people are much more likely to advance toward someone carrying a firearm. One of the nice things about a tomahawk is that you don’t have to reload it, you don’t have to worry about stray bullets and in situations like these (burglary) the main goal is to get whoever is attempting to harm you, away from you. Nothing postures better than a tomahawk. There is a true psychological advancement with tomahawks, most people are likely to turn the other way and run if you have a tomahawk as your weapon opposed to a firearm.”
Irvine immediately called the police following the burglary. The man was last seen jumping a fence and running from the property; however, when police saw a bicycle awkwardly sticking out from a bush only 50 yards from Irvine’s property, they found the suspect hiding with several bags containing stolen property.
Nicholas Illoa, 22, was then arrested in connection with the burglary and booked at Riverside County Jail.
While most people associate tomahawks with combat or self-defense, they are commonly used by law enforcement officers and military personnel to execute a number of tactical functions, including breaching, prying, and cutting. Tomahawk throwing competitions, along with other competitive displays of bushcraft skills, have become increasingly popular. In this impromptu competition, however, Irvine was clearly the winner.