Legality of Martial Arts

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by Highlander, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I think in most states an attacker who ends up having to defends has an incomplete self-defense claim. Basically, since they created the situation, their actions cannot be excused simply because it turned bad on them. IIRC (from lawyers' explanations), the incomplete SD is a mitigating factor, rather than an actual legal defense.

    I think the same happens if someone does not intend to "strike the blow" (as in cases of accidental discharge).
     
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  2. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    This is a long post to get to the topic. My apologies.

    I had to get help with telling this story because it is part of my life that got erased by the accident (a different one). My wife re-read my testimony. This is a condensed version.
    I was driving back to the office from a clients location in early afternoon rush hour traffic on a 6-lane bridge with no shoulder. We were all moving about 50 mph. A car (old blue Buick) 4 vehicles ahead of me had broke down and was smack in the right hand lane. A Range Rover SUV hit the car at speed in the rear end. The Rover spun clockwise and ended up pushing and pinning the Buick to the guard rail, blocking both drivers side doors. The 3rd car ahead of me took a hard left into the center lane and kept going. The car in front of me tried to do the same but got clipped by rearward-coming traffic and piled up. I had no where to go and very little room to stop. Braking hard I stopped 13' from the Buick. Of course all traffic stopped. The Buick and Rover had already started smoking. The people in the Rover and other cars got out and walked away from the accident, afraid of fire. I was totally freaked out and my adrenaline was maxed out. I had to climb over the pile of cars to get to the front of the Buick. It was very smoky in and around the car but I could see the driver struggling. I jumped on the hood of the car and started kicking the s*** out of the passenger side of the windshield. The rear of the car was really burning by now. I finally got the glass to cave in enough to start trying to peel it back. I looked at the driver and the flames had made it to them. I had about a 1/8 to 1/4 of the glass peeled back when there was a huge boom (I think a tire exploding in hindsight). Then the flames engulfed the driver. I just stood on the roof of the car for a few seconds. I had no idea there were actually three people in the car. My adrenaline was still maxed and I remember yelling at people asking why didn't they help me.
    Within days (not weeks) I received the papers for a $3.5 million law suit against me. Eventually, anyone remotely involved with the accident, including the officers who worked the wreck, Metro Davidson County PD, TDOT, GM, etc... were sued by the family.

    This is where my wife praises State Farm as an insurance company. They have/had an attorney named David White who was fantastic. We talked at length several times and he was very thorough about physical things like times and distances.

    The families attorneys tried two different angles at using my MA skills against me.
    First, as someone trained in MA, my reaction time would be such that I should have stopped sooner (I never touched another vehicle) and somehow that would have magically avoided the whole accident.
    Secondly, my MA training should have allowed me the ability to break out the glass, saving everyone in the car. In the very best scenario, where I walked up and literally unzipped the windshield, it was determined that the occupants would have still died.

    After a little over two years and a lot of litigation all claims against me were dropped. Much thanks to Mr. White.

    I realize this is, thankfully, way outside the norm. My point is knowing MA may be used against you in very vague and random ways. The manipulated extremes of exercising our freedoms may come at you in ways you never expected. I certainly never thought it would be used against me in this situation.
    Conversely, I had a great group of people consisting of former and current students, LEO and local attorney's, our counties leadership, school teachers and principals, family and friends who came together to speak on my behalf. A debt I will never be able to repay. Count All your friends as blessings.
     
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  3. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    Where I live you can not claim self defense due to this section of the self defense law:

    Use of force or violence in defense:

    C. A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity
     
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  4. Po!

    Po! White Belt

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    I'm new here so be easy on me with these responses LOL but as far as self-defense legalities as martial artist go I really don't see how any of us, if we're going to define ourselves as martial artists, should be worried about this because if it's not my life or the defense of a life of another human being then I need to leave because that's not what I'm here for.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
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  5. Po!

    Po! White Belt

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    Yes it was KY.
     
  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    We still have to be worried about it, because we live in this world. We need to know when laws allow us to take action, should we deem it advisable. It's part of making an informed decision.
     
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  7. JP3

    JP3 Master Black Belt

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    Nice sub-section, makes your point exactly. You're exactly right then for your jurisdiction.

    Come to think on it... Hmmm. Google time.
     
  8. Po!

    Po! White Belt

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    Yes I do agree that we have to be worried about it I try to think of using my martial arts though as a life-or-death thing I'll swallow my pride and ego and run if I have to just so I don't have to go through any kind of Court deal.and I'm the student the Highlander was talking about I am the individual that was attacked with a machete so that's really my only basis for a response and using my martial arts outside of training is,
    a situation that was life or death
     
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  9. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Thank you for your strength and courage. It is a dirty shame you have had to go through such an encounter. Your wisdom and maturity shows up in this post. I hope you use this life lesson only for good.
    Yours in the Martial Spirit,
     
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  10. Po!

    Po! White Belt

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    Thank you si-hing. I learned much from this encounter, and I will use my lessons learned for good, you have my word. I don't ever want to have to hurt another human like that again.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
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  11. Highlander

    Highlander Orange Belt

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    That was a very big part of this pod cast. If you can get away from the fight. Get away from it. Nothing is worth fighting over, so only fight when you have no other options. This was the main thing I got out of this episode. They were saying this just happens to give you a stronger legal defense aswell (see previous responses before commenting please).

    One thing the guest said I like was when he was on another forum. And a guy said "I'd rather lose a fight then eye gouge someone" and he commented "clearly you're definition of a fight is different than mine"
     
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  12. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I think sometimes in SD circles, there's too much hope placed in the ability to escape. I've seen SD instructors teach from the beginning that running is the best option. I actually disagree, unless you're a really good runner (so there's little chance they'll catch you). At 30, running was a realistic option for me. At 49, there are fewer things I can run from.

    That means there are more situations where defending myself is more likely. It has been my experience that a subset of the SD-oriented world uses "run away" as their solution when they really don't have a good answer (there may not be one) and they don't want to admit that there are unwinnable situations.
     
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  13. Highlander

    Highlander Orange Belt

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    You're assuming they well chase you. If that's the case then fight. Because they're not giving you the choice. But if you can walk away...

    Let me ask you this.. a man walks up to you on the street, pulls a knife and asks for your wallet. What are you gonna do ?
    (Let's say you're alone)
     
  14. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    I think an important distinction to make is that of "running away" Vs "getting away", and also how you actually interpret "run"

    To me (and I have to assume a lot of others from what I've seen) running away is usually just that - actually running. At least when I hear others say it.

    On the other hand, getting away may involve a bit of running, but it's just as likely to involve a gentle stroll in the other direction.

    Running away? Not for me, I can't run for toffee.

    Getting away? I have a much higher likelihood of pulling that off.


    In other words, I'll happily run away from a fight (or from work), but it won't have any actual running going on ;)
     
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  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Assuming they won't is an unsafe assumption. Because if they do, they have your back and you're out of breath.

    That's not a situation where I'll run. He can have my wallet, my phone, my car keys, whatever. But if I think there's imminent risk, I'm not giving him my back to stab.
     
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  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed. Heck, I'll even actually run if I'm pretty sure that's a better option (say, the person is overweight or limping more than me). Or in cases where it's really better than fighting (like maybe if he has a gun and isn't stupid enough to play a SD gun-disarm scenario with me).

    But I've literally seen a quite overweight instructor say, "If he has a knife, you're going to see this fat boy run." That just seems a really bad idea. If the guy isn't going to use the knife, then "getting away" shouldn't require running. If he is, then running won't result in getting away if you can't run fast.
     
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  17. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    We have this theory called reasonable and proportionate.

    So if I am attacked but they do an incredibly bad job of it. I could use a little bit of martial arts to stop that attack.

    Rather than either running away or going full blast.
     
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  18. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I teach "running away" but the context is different. You could just as easily say walk away, or step back, or step down, etc... If you are in a public place there is no point in actually running away but the option not to engage the other person is almost always your best choice. In the U.S. anyway, if you are somewhere where it is just you and the attacker you either put yourself in a very bad place or had some incredibly bad luck. I stress SA is the best and strongest kind of SD.
     
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  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree - what you're talking about is that last stage of avoidance, the last chance to not engage. That's not so much escape, as I was using it, but it's a good point.
     
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