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CONTEMPORARY KNIFE TARGETING THE INSIDE STORY

Contemporary Knife Targeting began as a critical analysis of a widely referenced, yet scientifically unsubstantiated document known as the “Timetable of Death.” Developed by the legendary British close-combat authority William Ewart Fairbairn and originally published in his 1942 book All-In Fighting, the timetable consisted of a graphic identifying the major arteries of the human body and an accompanying chart that purportedly detailed precisely how long it takes for a person to bleed to unconsciousness and ultimately to bleed to death when these various blood vessels are severed.

One of the authors of this book, Christopher Grosz, was an instructor-trainer (a senior instructor responsible for training and certifying other instructors) in Spontaneous Knife Defense – a system of empty-hand defenses against edged-weapon attacks that is part of the well established law enforcement defensive tactics curriculum known as PPCT. Initially, Grosz began researching the timetable to validate its use as a reference in the PPCT curriculum. However, as he got deeper into his research, he realized that Fairbairn’s data was not only suspect, it was in fact totally inconsistent with readily available modern medical information.

During his research, Grosz consulted with both medical authorities and experts in the tactical used of edged weapons, including me. With our help, he developed a modern, scientifically accurate timetable. He also formally presented his findings to the PPCT board and succeeded in having them revise their curriculum, deleting Fairbairn’s table and replacing it with the references he established.

Grosz’s efforts to provide law enforcement officers and security personnel with the most modern, scientifically sound references are certain to improve the quality of PPCT’s defensive tactics curriculum. Ultimately, they will also help keep officers safer and will undoubtedly save lives. However, the true value of Grosz’s contemporary timetable goes well beyond that.

Fairbairn’s original timetable was never intended as a reference for police officers concerned with defending themselves against knife attacks. Its real purpose—as I learned during my discussions with the late Col. Rex Applegate—was as a reference and motivational tool for military personnel who trained in edged-weapon tactics. Over time, it was adapted to law enforcement use and also became a reference for civilian self-defense practitioners concerned with both counter-knife tactics and the lawful defensive use of edged weapons.

Since Grosz’s contemporary timetable is essentially a modern, medically accurate version of Fairbairn’s original version, it should also replace the original as a reference for all these other interested parties. The fact that Grosz extended his research to include other types of anatomical targets that are vulnerable to edged-weapon attacks makes the results of his study even more complete than Fairbairn’s original and of even greater interest to students of both the offensive and defensive aspects of edged-weapon tactics.

Chris was a great friend and one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. After I helped edit his research into a polished form for submission to PPCT, I suggested that he consider publishing it for commercial distribution. We agreed to expand the scope of the work as co-authors and contracted with Paladin Press as our publisher. Tragically, several months later, Chris suffered a massive heart attack and passed away, leaving his wife, daughter, and then unborn son behind. To realize his dream of becoming a published author, and as a tribute to a great friend, I completed the book in his honor. All royalties from its sales go to Chris’ surviving family.

Chris, we miss you, brother.

Michael D. Janich