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Join the conversation! There are now 5 comments on “Self-Defense pg 27
  1. Robert says

    I guess this kinda goes into the territory of when people say “My hands are registered as deadly weapons.” It’s largely a myth (from what I hear, there is no real registry for it), but one’s skill might come into context in a hearing concerning the death of someone in a case of self defense. If two people get into a scrap, and the defender, let’s say, punches the aggressor in the throat, causing his trachea to collapse, killing him, largely that’d be an unfortunate accident. However if the defender is known to be a black belt in a martial art, then the court has reason to ask why they didn’t use their training for a non-lethal takedown.

    • Yup. There are black belts, and then there are black belts, of course. But it could certainly be relevant to the issue here: whether it was reasonable for him to believe that deadly force was necessary.

    • That sounds more about whether the defendant intended to use lethal force than about justification, though.
      (Incidentally, a lot of martial arts instructors teach their students to use excessive force “just in case”; would this be a potential criminal issue if a student of theirs got into trouble, or would they simply get sued for giving horrendously bad training?)

    • Most martial arts come from the “end the threat immediately” school of thought rather than the “bring them down gently” school of thought. It’s hard to safely knock someone out or pin them down without hurting them, and if your art doesn’t teach grappling, you probably can’t do it at all. So “you’re a black belt, you could have taken him down without killing him” probably won’t fly.

      And on the flip side, your bare hands aren’t generally a lethal weapon, even for a black belt. A punch to the face with good technique is still just a punch to the face, not a Mystic Death Strike. So I wouldn’t expect “He’s a black belt, he knew he would kill him with that hit” to fly either. Unless it was an attack that you should have known would be lethal, like snapping his neck.

  2. I think the school would argue that they’re martial artists, not lawyers, so you shouldn’t expect legal advice.

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