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eJournal: Nonetheless, I had hoped for standards from which we in the private sector could borrow, as we do when we pursue comparable firearms training and maintenance, or train toward shooting a high score on a qualification.

Janich: That is what I looked for in law enforcement standards, as well, and it simply is not there. I think that its absence is purposeful, because first of all, they would have to do the research to figure out what is worthwhile. Anyway, I think most knife programs are inconsistent with law enforcement use of force.

eJournal: But your book Contemporary Knife Targeting, which we reviewed in January, was a team effort with Christopher Grosz, who was a law enforcement professional.

Janich: As far as law enforcement goes, Chris was the exception to the rule. He was an exceptional guy in many ways.

eJournal: It is too bad we lost him. OK, if we can’t borrow from policing, what do you think armed citizens in the private sector need to know about self defense with a knife?

Janich: The most important thing to understand is that what you are trying to achieve with a knife is exactly what you try to achieve with any other weapon: stopping power. Accept that you will fight with what you actually carry. If you base your knife tactics on what Jim Bowie carried a couple of centuries ago or what would work with a Renaissance dagger, none of that matters if what you have in your hand is a folding knife with a three-inch blade. The effect that it will have on different types of bodies is very different. If you take a three-inch blade and try to hit a really big guy in the heart, it is not going to work. But it can cut the quadriceps above the knee to fell him just fine. Working the limbs is the equalizer.

You have to look at the attributes of the weapon and say, “This is what I am actually carrying. I need to accept that and all my tactics have to be based on that.” The next step is to quantify the destructive power of what you are actually carrying. “If I have a three-inch blade what can I actually do with it, what kind of damage can I actually cause?” Then overlay that on the human body. Based on a realistic, scientific understanding of human anatomy if I can cause this amount of damage, what parts do I need to cut to create effective stopping power and predictable, reliable stopping power?

Anteroir Lower_Arm-wb

eJournal: Let’s also bear in mind that there are cities in which we’re restricted to under three- or more likely two-inch blades. Agreeing that these are a far cry from Bowie knives, what CAN we realistically expect from so small a knife?

Janich: Again, you have to understand human anatomy. Muscles pull on tendons to move bones. If you cut flexor tendons, essentially what you are doing is mechanically disconnecting the muscles that power the fingers so the hand can’t close and whatever is being held in that hand falls out.

eJournal: How hard is that degree of targeting? Isn’t a tendon a fairly small target?