The following article came from "Bullseye Buster" Vol. 3, No. 2 dated fall 1973, written by Harry McEvoy
Dear Fellow Members of AKTA:
In the last two issues of this newsletter we have written about the unique—and hitherto unheard of—system of long distance, no-spin knife throwing originated and developed by two AKTA members from Pennsylvania, John Bartholomew and Richard Crist. Letters from members have indicated considerable interest among our knife throwing fraternity, with requests for more information about the Bart-Crist system of no-spin throwing.
To learn about it first hand and to completely investigate the claims made for this system, your coo respondent, in company with good friends and AKTA members, Dr. C.E. Terwillinger and his son, Don, drove from Michigan to the home of John Bartholomew in Elizabeth, Pa., on Sept. 29th, where for the best part of three days we were royally fed and entertained and treated to some of the most interesting exhibitions of unusual knife throwing ever seen.
On Sunday, Sept. 30th, when most of the knife throwing took place against Bart’s knife backstop, Richard Crist—called Rich by his friends—did most of the throwing, since Bart is at present recuperating from a serious operation. At distances up to sixty feet Rich threw his special knives with great velocity and pow3r, demonstrating to us that he could, indeed, throw knives up to long distances of fifty or sixty feet in such a way that the knives flew handle first about two thirds of the way to the target and then lazily turned over to stick point first. So we were convinced that it could be done by a specially trained expert in this type of throwing.
But we couldn’t do it! Not really—although Dr. Terwillinger achieved a small breakthrough at fairly short distances, which were normally beyond the range of a simple half turn throw in the conventional style of throwing. Your correspondent, however, failed to master the system, but the group of three or four other AKTA members from the area who were present, proved to us that they understood the rudiment of the system, yet were unable to achieve much control of accuracy.
Our Pennsylvania friends were somewhat surprised by the knife throwing exhibition in the conventional styles of throwing which we put on for them, at distances up the “five-turns” spin. For accuracy, control, and real consistency of sticking almost every time, we remained convinced that the age-old style of knife throwing is still the best and easiest system to master by the average sportsman. We did not, however, fail to be quite impressed at the performance by Rich. It definitely has potential—especially for hunters going out after game with a throwing knife, because if a hunter can master the system and manage to achieve real accuracy with it, it greatly increases his chances of bagging his quarry while hurling knives at unknown distances in the field.
There are some doubts that the Bart-Crist no-spin system can be properly or successfully taught to other knife throwers without considerable personal demonstration and coaching by someone as competent as Rich. For one thing a special knife is required – designed exclusively for the system. We were able to “finalize” on a design, in which the knife is 12” overall, by 2” wide and 3/16” inches thick – with an approximate weight of 12 ounces. The unusual feature of this knife is that the back or spine has a long, gentle concave curve as show in the accompanying illustration, plus a heavy handle since the knife must always be thrown b the blade, and with the plane of the blade vertical when it leaves the hand.
The secret of throwing it, as explained by Bart and Rich, is to first place the index finger on the spine at the juncture of handle and blade, with a very light grip by thumb and fingers on each side of the blade. And when the knife is hurled, butt first, the index finger must slide down the back of the blade and snap downward on the back of the point at the split second it leaves the hand. Almost all side pressure is eliminated just before the knife slides from the thrower’s hand, and it is most important that full concentration by the thrower, at the moment of release, be directed to the thought that he will throw that knife butt first all the way to, through, and past the target itself!
This, then, is the Bart-Crist system of no-spin throwing. It truly represents a new and unique method of knife throwing, for which the two originators deserve a world of credit for their skill in making their system work for them. AKTA members can surely congratulate them an wish them the best of luck in further improving and developing their instruction methods in order to simplify the basics to a point where almost anyone can learn the system - especially for use in hunting. John Bartholomew, his lovely wife, Marlene, and their friends who showed us that great Pennsylvania hospitality have our sincere thanks. It would be great fun to do it all over again some time.