Legal Aspects


 Those who desire to study a martial art must realize the moral and legal responsibility that a person holds once they have been trained in a self-defense system. You do not have to register your hands as a weapon, but you are now equipped with the tools to inflict bodily harm on another individual. With the knowledge you possess, you are also held to a higher level of accountability to not misuse the information you have received. I am not going to discuss the moral responsibility at this time.

When considering the legal aspects of using this art out on the streets, in this present society, we need to be familiar with how the court system would view such a case.  In any given situation where someone is attacked and an assault has taken place, the issue is whether the force that was used was BOTH “reasonable and necessary.”

When we say “reasonable,” we mean in the minds of a twelve-person jury. How they would view the use of force based on the circumstances of a given situation?  The description of the attack, the attacker’s background, the defender’s background, the physical strength of each person involved, weapons used and who was the aggressor in a conflict are all contributing factors that should be considered. With all the information available, was the use of force a “reasonable” response to an attack?

When we say “necessary,” we mean in the minds of those same twelve jurors. Do they believe that the amount of force used in protecting life (of the defender or someone else) was needed? In their minds, any lesser level of force would not, or could not have been enough force to stop the attacker and control the situation.

This very gray of “reasonable and necessary” is determined by a jury. Each person on the jury has his or her own view regarding violence, and what is justifiable behavior. The safest and most responsible position to be in is to avoid a conflict whenever possible. If there is any way of escape, take that route and only fight if there is NO escape possible.  If you train in a martial art, make it a study to learn about the different levels of force that can be used, and only use them when it is BOTH “reasonable and necessary.”


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