Martial art and criminal laws



hello everybody,

i just have 1 question about criminal law here. Will you go to jail or be fine for hurting a person when that person attacks you first ?

what do i mean "hurting"? like broke his nose and knock him on the floor.

i just try to defense myself and i don't to have any trouble with cop

thank you very much
The laws vary somewhat from state to state, but they are generally pretty much the same when it comes to use of force in self-defense. Without getting into the legal mumbo-jumbo, they will tell you that if you are attacked, you may use "like force" to repel the attack. You may not, however, escalate the use of force.

If someone attacks you with his bare hands and you take his life, you're likely to be charged with manslaughter at the very least. However, if the opponent attacks with deadly force (ie., a weapon), you are justified in using deadly force to defend yourself.

Some states have a "flee to the wall" clause which indicates that prior to resorting to violence to defend yourself, you must "flee to the wall." That is, you must do all that any reasonable person would do to avoid the conflict, including running away. Only when you can do no more to avoid the fight are you justified in use of force.
This does not apply to defending one's home or loved ones.

It might be well to check with a local police dept. in your area (or an attorney).
In the situation you described, if you only broke his nose after he attacked you, self-defense should cover you. If he hit you and you didn't consent to it, that's assault, so, you had the right to protect yourself.
In my state (Massachusetts) the "flee to the wall" rule applies. When attacked, you must try to escape. If the assailant has a weapon (including a firearm) you must escape if you can. If you cannot, then you may defend yourself with like force.

In Mass, you cannot use your gun to defend against loss of property, only if you are in reasonable danger of losing your life, or of being seriously hurt. Also if you are a trained martial artist, you can defend yourself against an attack with like force. But you can still be charged if the assailant insists.

Find out what the laws are in your state- this way you can train knowing how you wish to respond in a circumstance. I found that a gun safety course was an excellent source of info- take one, even if you don't own a gun. (Mine was taught by a lawyer, a federal marshall, and a firearms dealer). Inform yourself.
This is a very interesting topic. I read an article about the same thing in January's issue of Black Belt Magazine. It had some pretty good tips on how to act and things to say if you are ever in court for defending yourself. Also a former co-worker of mine is a 3rd degree B.B in Tang Soo Do. He told me when he lived in Canada he had to spend a year in jail after defending himself against three assailints. He hospitalized all three with serious injuries. He told me the judge ruled that way because when he was taking care of business the last guy was running away and my former co-worker dropped him. The judge said that he in turn became the attacker. Personally I think it is bull that any person who studies the martial arts and defends themselves risks going to jail for doing just that. Defending one's self. Obviously a person that studies the martial arts knows that he or she is being trained to use deadly or like force. So for a person to use his or her art doesn't a light click on in the head that he or she will only use the art in a situation of desperate measures? I mean me personally I would never use my art unless there was no other way out. But I like a philosophy I read that the Shaolin would use.

Run before you fight
Fight before you injure
Injure before you maime
Maime before you kill

So I keep this in my head at all times as a reminder what to do. Great thread though.
Mass. has some really stupid laws regarding one defending themsleves, or there properity. But then so do many other places now.
As martial arts practictioners and as voters ( if you are one) you need to pay closer attention to what laws are being passed and voice your concerns to your state represenitive. I do. Mine comes to town at least once a month and has his close advisors show up at the libary more often then that. anyone can go in talk to them an dvoice concerns.
Being a member of this country or any country means you have rights , privleges, and responsibilities. One of those resposibilities shouod be to voice you oppisistion to laws you fell are unfair. Fight for your rights to defend yourslef, your family, the weak, and your properity.
Hayden, Colorado-No one is allowed to duel in the town square using martial arts techniques in lieu of standard, acceptable weapons.

Foxboro, Massachusetts-No martial artist can be seen going through his moves while his shoelaces are untied.

Boone, North Carolina-Martial artists may not practice on Sunday during the half-hour period before a church service.

Tamarack, Idaho-Canned goods of any kind may be opening by chopping them with the bare hand.

Waverly, Kentucky-Martial art lessons may not be conducted in any bakery facility within the city limits.

Clarendon, Texas-Martial artists may not snooze in a barbershop or catnap in a restaurant within city boundaries.

Sutherland, Iowa-Playfully using a martial arts strike in a effort to remove a hat from the head of another is strictly prohibited.

Rudd, Arkansas-A martial arts instructor must never be seen carrying an open umbrella.

Bourdoville, Vermont-Martial artists are prohibited from walking a tightrope while going through their moves.

Casper, Wyoming-Goatees are considered illegal on any martial arts expert unless a special permit is first purchased.

Keene, New Hampshire-Martial artists may not try catching fireflies while practicing karate under streetlights after dark.

Peshtigo, Wisconsin-citizens are not allowed to practice karate on any city sidewalk.

Yateswille, New York-it is illegal for anyone to ride an ugly horse when going to a martial arts competition.

Republic, Michigan-no women over 200 pounds and attired in shorts may practice self-defense techniques while men are present.

Jefferson, Ohio-women may not take karate lessons while in a bathing suit within this community unless she be escorted by at least two police officers or unless she be armed with a club. Amendment to the Law-The provisions of this statute above shall not apply to females weighing less than 90 pounds nor exceeding 200 pounds nor shell it apply to female horses.

Libertyville, Illinois-No married woman is allowed to go to a martial arts exhibition on the Sabbath unless she is properly looked after. ( how? ) Her mate must follow 20 paces behind and is required to carry a bow over his left shoulder and a suitable quantity of arrows.

Austin, Oregon-Men may not teach karate or any other martial art while on a boat on the Sabbath.

Wedgworth, Alabama-No single, widowed or divorced woman may participate in any of the martial arts on Sunday Also any unattached female who takes part in such outlandish activities can be arrested and given a jail term.
Those laws are nuts. :rofl: I mean what were the years they were established? lol. There must have been reasons for all these laws to have been passed. :rofl: I don't understand it.
Makes you want to go out and break all those laws don't it?


Hey, it's still legal to allow your cows to graze on Boston Common.

There are a million crazy laws on the books, just go investigate I promise it's worth the effort!
In repelling any attack you are required to use no more force than is neccessary. They use what they call 'The common man" idea in what a common and reasonable man might have an an expectation in the way of self defense.

So you can't keep kicking a guy when he's down and unconscious. Unless for example he presented a previous line of action that might lead you to believe that you would be in danger despite his state. This defense is something like one might use in a battered woman's case when she shoots her husband in bed while he sleeps.

The law is very complex and each case often comes down to comparing it to the law and it's individual merits.

However, in my personal can get away with a lot with the phrase, "Officer, I was in fear for my life."
everybody here says "like force" but how "like" it is ?

if the guy keeps comming back at you, there is something wrong.

i had a guy who is 2 size of me and told me that he owns my soul and eats my heart out.

and he keeps throwing punch at me despite there was another guy tried to break the fight.

i had no choice but beat the hell out of him. I broke his nose and put him on the floor and ran away.

I'm not in trouble yet. Just want to learn more about the law so that i can be better ready in the future

i think that the law is very much stupid. You are attacked and you try to defense yourself. You end up go to jail or pay fine

if you don't defense yourself, you go to hospital or go to HEAVEN

to me, when one attacks you, their intention is to HURT you. That is the bottom line.

If they have the willing to start the fight, they should have the will to accept the consequence. Nothing around

about the law. F*ck it.
I think its important to keep in mind that its better to be alive to deal with a llegal mess than it is to be dead.
It is better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6.

Or was that,

Better a witness box than a pine box.

Originally posted by webpage20022003
hello everybody,

i just have 1 question about criminal law here. Will you go to jail or be fine for hurting a person when that person attacks you first ?

what do i mean "hurting"? like broke his nose and knock him on the floor.

i just try to defense myself and i don't to have any trouble with cop

thank you very much
Law generally states you can defend yourself in a capacity which is "reasonably necessary" to protect yourself. You can defend your property with physical force and another as long as a reasonable person would not think its overload or unreasonable force. As a cop if you injured someone protecting yourself or stopping him from stealing property, it is ok or justifiable. Now if you beat him with a baseball bat because he called you a name that wouldnt fly. Verbal provoking is not justification to beating someone up. you can restrain or defend yourself until the subject is no longer a threat.
Everyone needs to keep in mind that someone can attack you, and you can defend yourself and not be criminally prosecuted, but your attacker is always free to sue you for damages regardless of right or wrong.
Civil liability suc@s; but if you beat the criminal charge, you are well on the way to winning the civil suite. Problem: It costs an arm and a leg to hire an attorney, and you are never assured of winning, even with a solid self-defense defense (pun intended.)


It's a joke. ... OK, well sorta a joke. In Texas, as in other states, you have a "reasonable man doctrine", that is you can use the same amount of force + a little bit to Protect yourself or someone else in imminent danger.

There is a duty to flee, but not "back up against the wall" as in some other states, thank goodness. Still, as a trained Martial Artist, any attorney either prosecuting in a criminal trial, or bringing suit in civil court, will drag you across the coals, then stop, and turn the spit with you over the fire.

Your best defense is either lots of witnesses, which can't really tell what you did exactly if you are a moderatly decent Kenpo practitioner (to the untrained eye, it is all a blur ... but they see who moved first); Or alternately, there are literally no witnesses. Not a good scenario, and I guarantee you will have bad dreams the rest of your life, even if you think you wouldn't.

Difference in size is a factor;
Gender is a factor;
Time of Day (interestingly enough) is a factor;
Location is very important;
Additional things considered are state of mind at the time of the occurrance, mental status, history of violent behavior or arrests, any arrests, substance abuse involved, weapons used, severity of injuries, etc., etc., etc.

In other words, it is on a case by case basis in a lot of states. And one of the biggest factors prosecutors and police look at is was it a family violence incident and/or was it "mutual combat."

Whew, way more than anyone wanted to know. But it is complicated. Can I blind someone, break their knees and crack their sternum for pushing me in a bar - NO, unequivacably. This is not the amount of force a reasonable and prudent man would use in a similar situation. Not being either of those, I guess I am in trouble.

Can a 98 lb woman do the same amount of damage. Probably, not in the bar, but if she is on a back street and alleges a 200 lb male assaulted her, and has the injuries or witnesses to prove it. I ain't saying it is fair, but that is how it works. It is a function of judgement, with the law. Sometimes it even works.

In almost every jurisdiction under these circumstances you are allowed to defend yourself.

The real issue is was the force you used reasonable under the circumstances. Another issue is that you may in fact be charged with a crime, and have to use Self Defense as your defense to the crime.

It is better to not have to deal with the hassle and not fight.

If you must defend yourself, than go for it within reason!