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"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

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Karate, can it be used to prosecute in self-defense? In the dojo? In ???

Caveat: This post is mine and mine alone. I the author of this blog assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this post.

Caveat II: This is not legal advice. I am not a legal professional at any level. I am merely a martial artist and this is just an attempt to discuss the possibility of prosecution where martial arts expertise may or may not be used against you in a prosecution for fighting, conflict and/or violence. It is advisable to seek out legal consulting of this subject from a legal professional. Read caveat one again, this is just a discussion with ideas, thoughts and considerations I, personally, believe all martial artist must know if they teach, train and practice with other human beings. 

First, if one uses self-defense within the legal scope of a defense of justification most likely will not be prosecuted. As some professionals have written, if you remain within the square of self-defense it is most likely to result in no prosecution. This does not mean the same in civil situations but that is a whole story you can read about in Marc MacYoung’s book, “In the Name of Self-Defense.”

Second, your expertise can become an issue if you slide outside the proverbial square of self-defense. This is also true in the dojo, during practices. At least the potential is there because of the view the legal system and society take toward fighting. It comes down to, it all depends. 

Third, even tho mutual agreement with risks and assumptions known to you, you can go beyond those in the dojo and come under fighting illegal. In my mind it is the difference between legal dojo fighting and illegal dojo fighting. 

In self-defense, it seems that the use of our hands and feet would not be considered deadly or lethal weapons. It boils down to force considerations in an attack and that subject is covered in other, more detailed, sources as can be seen by the bibliography below. It depends on the adversary/attack as to his level of force vs. the applied level of force a martial artist applies. It also may be compared to what force is used vs. what you use as a martial artists, i.e., both are empty handed vs. the adversary is armed and the martial artist is empty handed and so on. Again, it is a complex subject requiring a legal professionals assessment of the particulars and circumstances. There is one quote that may enlighten this subject as it regards martial arts application in self-defense, i.e., “A more practical level, the skilled martial artist confronted by an armed assailant should be able to calibrate his blow to meet the attack with a similar degree of force. Where there is not time to reflect or to accurately determine the intensity of the attack, then one’s trained tendency to protect oneself with a split-second and devastating technique coupled with one’s natural tendency to preserve oneself will not be ignored by the law and in all probability the force will not be deemed to be excessive - again, a question of reasonable and prudent under the circumstances applies.” This would apply toward the legal ramifications while a more civil one could be expressed in the following quote, when practicing in the dojo, etc.:

“In the Dojo, the vast majority of contact between practitioners, whether practicing self-defense techniques or sport applications or engaging in free style fighting/sparring, does not justify a lawsuit because consent is expressly, or, more often than not, impliedly given from the mere fact that the two practitioners agreed to practice together. The scope of the consent cannot be extended beyond that which is reasonable under the circumstances. This range of consent within the training hall is usually defined and controlled by the head instructor or sensei of a particular dojo. The Code of Conduct in the traditional dojo is quite formal and proper decorum while practicing must be strictly adhered to. Historically, this can be traced to the concept of bushido, the way of the warrior, of twelfth century feudal Japan. This oriental code of activity strictly defined proper conduct by which the bushi could apply his martial skills.” 

A martial artist regardless of how the practice and apply their skills shall, take the time to reflect upon the legal consequences that flow from using martial prowess in the dojo, out of the dojo and for sport, combatives and self-defense. The martial artists should also consider perceptions as they relate to martial arts when utilized for self-defense and/or sport because those perceptions can effect the legal matters, if they should arise when applied in the dojo and out on the street. 

When a martial artist considers such things it should be remembered that the law has implications within the confines of the training hall, the dojo and the study of those liabilities are important to the survival of the dojo as well as the martial artist. Just because you practice and train in martial disciplines in a dojo/training hall, you are not exempt from both moral and legal requirements that can, may and sometimes do result in criminal and civil ramifications. 

The end result of this post is this, “Every person who finds the need to apply physical skills in defense of themselves and others must first consider both the criminal and civil liabilities along with other factors such as economical, health and psychological ramifications - to name just a few. That means, the study of laws applicable to martial arts and self-defense and the expertise of legal professionals to translate that law into a form understandable and applicable to you. 

Primary Bibliography of Self-Defense:
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.

Secondary Bibliography of Self-Defense:
Ayoob, Massad. “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self-Defense”Gun Digest Books. Krouse Publications. Wisconsin. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997.
Maffetone, Philip Dr. “The Maffetone Method: The Holistic, Low-stress, No-Pain Way to Exceptional Fitness.” McGraw Hill, New York. 2000
Strong, Sanford. “Strong on Defense_ Survival Rules to Protect you and your Family from Crime.” Pocket Books. New York. 1996.
and more … see blog bibliography.

My Blog Bibliography

Cornered Cat (Scratching Post): http://www.corneredcat.com/scratching-post/
Kodokan Boston: http://kodokanboston.org
Mario McKenna (Kowakan): http://www.kowakan.com

Wim Demeere’s Blog: http://www.wimsblog.com

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