Self Defence: What Do You Think?

by John Roberts-James - Date: 2007-03-19 - Word Count: 946 Share This!

I am not a lawyer, I have no legal experience or skills. These are my opinions, but I hope they may be of use to you. To help you avoid problems.

As a keen sports (wo)man your interest may be cycling, running, gymnastics, whatever. It may even be the martial arts, karate, aikido, or any of a wide range of systems.

My concern here is that you may be out training by yourself, without a partner. Thus - at risk of being mugged or worse.

Possible? These days, probably Probable!

Consideration Number One - you are most definitely not allowed to carry a weapon to protect yourself against the risk of attack, or anything which can be construed as a weapon. Legal Fact! The measure is: Reasonability. Is it reasonable for you to be carrying a baseball bat when out on your bike? Or that ninja sword when going to the public swimming baths? Would a jury consider it 'reasonable' ... A carpenter with a screwdriver, Yes; but a road runner with the same - No!

If you are carrying anything which could be construed as a weapon as you go to the gym or an event, you'd better have a damn good reason for having it with you, particularly if you happen to use it to flatten a would-be mugger or rapist on the way.

There are several factors for a successful self defence

1 You must have the TECHNICAL knowledge to defend yourself;
2 You must have the mental DETERMINATION to do so;
3 A Court must NOT be able to find you Guilty of an ASSAULT,
4 Nor of actually taking part in a FIGHT;
5 And your 'victim' must not be able to sue you for DAMAGES in respect of the severe injuries you gave him while defending against his assault.

It is easy to lose control and go overboard. You are legally allowed to defend yourself with 'appropriate force'. The Law says so. But what is reasonable, appropriate force? If a yob tries to hit you with a brick, I suppose it would be reasonable to say "Look up at that Star!" as you kick him in the goolies. But it surely would not be reasonable for you then to smash his head in with his own brick?

But what if there were TEN other yobs about to join in? What then?

What do YOU think?

Self defence must STOP when the threat or attack ceases. And the mugger goes (or runs!) away. At that point you are probably legally secure.

But if you now chase after him and smash him on the head, things get awkward. You are aggrieved, enraged indeed, and want revenge. But you will have upgraded the confrontation into a FIGHT! If you enter a fight, the Law will have you, find you guilty and punish you. No question about that, no matter how good your (expensive, oh so expensive) private Counsel is.

This brings to mind the case of Tony Martin, the farmer found guilty of shooting dead an intruder - in the back. Martin (poor Tony!) was found guilty and sent to prison. Because the threat had been abated - the 'victim' was actually running away. There was no further danger to the farmer. But in his rage he fired. This manifestly was not a killing in self defence. But any of us could find ourselves in a similar situation. It is important that you realise this. What do you think?

And it is important that self defence instructors carefully explain these considerations to their students. As I've already said, It's not only a case of learning what to do It's also a matter of being actually morally and mentally able to do it. But secure in the knowledge that a jury will find that your actions were reasonable. And giving your 'victim' no chance whatsoever of suing you for huge financial damages.

Consider this scenario: running through the woods, a total stranger jumps out from the bushes and grabs you. With amazing self reliance and initiative you kick him in the groin... Down he goes, swearing.

Now, the Law says you must escape, run away fast from the danger which is no longer threatening you. Your adversary is rolling on the floor, swearing fiercely and clutching his groin. Out of action for at least five seconds.

But you are an athlete, you've never had such a physical confrontation in your life. What do you do? Legally, to stay out of jail you must beat a quick and hasty retreat. Remove yourself from the battle situation.

But if you stay and keep on hitting him, you are taking an active part in - A FIGHT! Jail looms large in your mind. So as a good law-abiding citizen, off you dash.

But you are shocked and confused, your legs won't function properly. Your breath comes in gasps, in your panic you've lost your sense of direction - which way is safety? All is confusion and unreal!

Help! He's getting up. Eyes watering with the effect of the kick to his privates and his hate for you! Faster than you, despite his injury, swearing horribly, he catches you, knocks you down and ... Full stop!

Now here is the question. Here is the legal obscurity. Here is the jury's problem. Here is YOUR desperate decision: while he was down and temporarily incapacitated, were you correct legally to run away. Or should you have seized the moment and waded in, jabbed your thumbs in his eyes, rabbit-chopped the back of his neck, then smashed his head in with that big stone over there? To put him away.

Well away. For Real!

What do you think? Quick, your answer. You've got five seconds to decide before he recovers enough to get up and ....

DO YOU RUN or ...?

Is a problem!

Is YOUR problem.

What do YOU think?

Related Tags: legal, court, knife, karate, jury, weapons, rape, athlete, self defence, mugger

John Roberts-James is a Black Belt 4th Dan, a Senior Coach, author of "Protect Yourself In Your Bedroom" and other helpful books on practical and effective personal protection methods. Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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