Her now-boyfriend was a shooter, and she learned how to shoot, how to defend herself and was studying all the different aspects of self defense. When she came to the knife, she studied some of my videos. Coming home to her apartment from the gym she went to as part of her recovery from her shoulder injury, she noticed black roses on the doorstep and a note from her attacker on the door saying, “We’ll be together one way or another.” She turned around, and there he was. The gym had a strict no firearms policy, so she couldn’t have the gun with her. She had her knife in her pocket and she pulled her knife out and opened it up. She brought the knife across the quadriceps and it dropped him. She told me it saved her life.

eJournal: Thank goodness! Now, I sincerely hope they did not prosecute HER, but under less well-defined situations, we DO have to worry about defensibility. The muscle targets you’ve described sound a lot more defensible than cutting or puncturing vital organs as in some knife tactics in which it is suggested that you get a quicker stop by attacking a blood-rich organ. First, is that accurate? Next, if the attacker is far more likely to die, how is that going to be received in court?


Janich: Go back to my early work with Chris Grosz. He first came to me and asked, “What do you think about Fairbairn’s timetable of death?

We began studying the whole issue of blood loss, comparing the approaches to stopping power. There are a lot of ways of achieving it. You’d have a psychological stopping power if you can pull a knife and the guy loses interest and backs away. You cannot predict that. You can have exsanguination, but it doesn’t happen nearly quickly enough.

All of Fairbairn’s figures were way exaggerated. The idea that you cut somebody and they’ll be completely unconscious in a few seconds is not going to happen. Any one in the medical community or any paramedic will tell you that. So that leaves the muscular structure and the connective tissue–the tendons, or the nervous system, that’s really the only way to shut people down, effectively and quickly.

A lot of my research is with the medical community. When I badly cut the tendons in my finger and had to go through extensive physical therapy and reconstructive surgery, I had a really good physical therapist. While we were doing exercises, I started asking questions like, “Have you ever had anyone who had their biceps cut?” He says, “Well, yeah, I had this guy who was in an industrial accident where a blade came down and cut there.” From that, a lot of my research into muscle and tendon damage came from industrial accidents. I was talking to orthopedic surgeons, talking to physical therapists, and drawing from their experience. I’d ask, “If I cut to this depth at this location, would this kind of harm happen?” And they’d say, “Absolutely. I had a guy who worked on a saw, so this happened,” and so the doctor could validate all of this.

eJournal: Beyond the tendons and muscles you’ve identified, are there additional targets?