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#154707 - 06/10/05 08:58 PM Legal Self-Defense
Pess Offline

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 27
Perhpas this question is best asked at a local police office, but a Martial Arts perspective is what I'm looking for.

What are the best ways you've found to defend yourself but stay within legal self defense? I mean like last ditch, all the non-combative options exhausted. For example, if a guy is swinging at you, not backing down, is it alright to break his knee so you can run? Could one possibly be sued for this? I realize law varies depending on the place, but what is your personal take?

#154708 - 06/10/05 09:38 PM Re: Legal Self-Defense [Re: Pess]
JoelM Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 6355
Loc: Georgia, USA
My personal take-If I have exhausted all means of de-escalating the situation-talking, bribing, and running-and they are still going to try and fight, then I will defend myself by what means are necessary. Enough to inable the other person from continuing the fight, and then getting out of the situation and calling the police.

(disclaimer-I have never been in a fight/altercation in the "street," this is all nice and pretty theory and what I hope I would do. What will actually happen-hopefully I'll just live.)
We should all take ourselves seriously...and then crumple that image up and toss it out the window.

#154709 - 06/11/05 12:37 AM Re: Legal Self-Defense [Re: Pess]
Fletch1 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 2218
Loc: Florida
Generally speaking, the force you use must paralel the danger you are facing. Most states have a duty to retreat clause on their law books. This means that you may use reasonable force to defend yourself or repel an attack but can only legally use deadly force (death or great bodily harm) when faced with a deadly or great bodily harm threat yourself. Otherwise you are obligated to retreat if possible or practical.

While this is fine in study or in discussion, what does it mean for you on the street? Can you break someone's knee and run away? The question is, what is the threat facing you? Do you have a well founded fear that the guy wants to hurt/ injure (possibly seriously) you? Would another reasonable person feel the same way? That is the standard that will apply in court.

Use only that force you believe to be reasonable and neccesary and be prepared to justify your actions.

#154710 - 06/11/05 05:05 PM Re: Legal Self-Defense [Re: Pess]
devinw Offline

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 66
Loc: Utah
Fletch1 is correct!

John Junker, a University of Washington law professor specializing in criminal law and self-defense issues. state's "If the person using force believed he needed it to defend himself, and it was reasonable,"

So the key is what is reasonable to defend yourself

So you have a guy yelling, bullying, threatening you (put your hands up to protect yourself ) and state you do not want to fight, He is not backing down, and takes a swing at you, you kick his knee and he falls to the ground in pain unable to continue the attack. You stop. Someone contacts the police.

The above sounds reasonable and legal.
Humbly posted,
Devin Willis

#154711 - 06/11/05 05:18 PM Re: Legal Self-Defense [Re: devinw]
Pess Offline

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 27
I see. Thank you all for your responses! ^_^

To change the question around a bit, at the High School I go to, where we have a policy where if someone fights you and you defend yourself by fighting back, you're both in trouble. I realize you guys aren't the ones to ask on the rule itself, but where do you say the line between fighting back and protecting yourself is? I obviously can't break his knee, nor punch, kick, grab, throw, any really offensive motion. Should one just dodge and block attacks, hoping for a teacher to see? What would you do in such a situation, assuming all the de-escalation techniques have been tried and failed?

#154712 - 06/11/05 07:12 PM Re: Legal Self-Defense [Re: Pess]
ziggytkd Offline

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 90
I have always felt that the fighting back rule is stupid. Personally I never took the beating I always fought back, the key was doing it before the teachers got there. Of course I was only in a couple of fights in school, never anything serious. I don't think you should be limited to just dodging and blocking, but that is jsut my opinion.

#154713 - 06/11/05 09:16 PM Re: Legal Self-Defense [Re: Pess]
Fletch1 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 2218
Loc: Florida
The best advice is to avoid the confrontation. If it is unavoidable, act reasonable and take responsibility for your actions.

If you get in trouble, you get in trouble. Be prepared to justify your actions but don't be surprised if it falls on deaf ears of school administrators who generally lack an understanding of the dynamics of conflict and violence.

#154714 - 06/12/05 08:38 PM Re: Legal Self-Defense [Re: Pess]
RangerG Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 04/18/05
Posts: 1026
Loc: Chester County, Pennsylvania
I have always thought the figthing back rule was stupid too. I told both my kids to try and back out of a fight situation if possible, but if attacked to defend themselves only to the point of being able to retreat. I also told them if they were punished by the school for defending themselves, I would be at the school to defend them..even to court if needed.

I think this sends the wrong message to kids. It fosters a social mentality that you cannot defend yourself if attacked.
"If you're gonna be stupid, you better be tough."

#154715 - 06/18/05 07:20 AM Re: Legal Self-Defense [Re: RangerG]
cks_cropper Offline

Registered: 03/04/05
Posts: 63
At school, all fighting is frowned upon. No matter who started it or who was defending their selves. Teachers are a$$ h0les.

As to on the street though, here in the UK you are allowed to use "Reasonable Force", but how to you define resonable? I would define this as being more than what you are getting so that you can stop the situation dead. Attackers deserve no sympathy, they are scum. So IMO I would say that reasonable force is just over what you are receiving. If you go a little too far, ignorance is bliss

Quick story: My Instructor's Master in China was once attacked in his house, and basically he ended up chopping the guys finers off on one hand and the attacker ran off. And as a kind man he was, he put them in pickle to try and save the fingers if the attacker ever decided he wanted them back (knowing down right that pickly kills cells in the body) so when the police came he showed them what he had done to "try and save the guys fingers" but they told him the best thing to do would have been to put them in the freezer. Ignorance = teach the guy a lesson.



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