Just saw this thread.
First, while editor of Fighting Knives Magazine I truly enjoyed the opportunity to have Mike Janich share his then early work in FK. My two favorite articles from MJ are "Cutting Dynamics - When Flesh Meets Steel", FK / July 1995 and "Throwing for Combat - A Practical Approach", FK / January 1996.
In regard to this thread's discussion Mike offered in the first article noted that once mastered the dynamics for cutting "will make the difference between simply cutting your opponent, and cutting him with telling effect." In the second article regarding knife throwing for combat Mike again points out but in a different realm "...we are interested in how to deliver the knife in the shortest amount of time, with the most amount of damage, in such a way the opponent cannot avoid being struck."
One of the most quiet yet effective CQB / knife instructors I've met and trained with is John Holshen. John was a qualified operator with the 1st Special Forces Group back in the day (actually my day, too, when I think about it
). John taught then and I imagine may still now that CQB bladework was always the worst case scenario and always occurred in very close range / tight quarters. Covering/protecting and cutting effectively under extreme duress was of paramount importance, period.
Instructor credability such as John's, SouthNarc and MJ's is likewise paramount. The late Bob Kasper, the founder of Gung Ho Chuan, writing in FK in our July 1995 issue, offered this thought on the subject. "I was about to start a a combat knife course for a Special Operations unit when their chief instructor said to me, "These guys have been there and know what they are doing. If they don't like what they see, they'll get up and leave." With that type of audience, any instructor had better be able to walk the talk."
Former SEAL Team Six operator Pat Tray, writing in the January issue of FK (1996), wrote that Intestinal Fortitude "is the hardest attribute to develop in any form of fighting, but particulary where bladework is concerned. Intestinal fortitude is 90% mental and only 10% physical. Once learned it is very hard to erase, unlike the physical attribute of stretching/flexibility. It does not go away with time or lack of application. Once imprinted it resides deep within you, always ready to be brought forth upon command or demand."
My first experience in law enforcement was working as an undercover narcotics officer way back in the 1970s in the State of Alaska. A knife was then (and there at the time) a most normal item to carry and as such raised little to no interest when doing UC work. EVERYONE carried or had a folder or fixed blade with them or nearby. My first purely defensive folder was a Gerber FS II as championed by Soldier of Fortune knife editor David Steele (remember Dave - the first guru on blade CQB in the magazine forum and the guy who broke this field wide open for the rest of us, IMHO). I have never forgot what Dave wrote in the September 1977 issue of SOF in "Steele On Knives" - "Your knife fighting technique does not have to be terrific if your blade is out and in before your opponent knows what is happening."
I agree en toto with SouthNarc - you have to be fast, committed, capable of immediate but controlled "violence of action" (incidently the title of the Rogue Warrior novel I co-wrote with Dick Marcinko before shipping out to Kuwait/Iraq in '02) and understanding of the fact that unlike the battlefield the courtroom will simply see the use of a knife as a dangerous or deadly weapon and you'd best be well versed in how to explain and convince a judge or jury why you had to wound, maim or kill the other guy or gal under the color of law.