The concept of "priority of life"

Jared Traveler

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The concept of "priority of life" is largely understood in law enforcement, and is the bases for many tactical decisions, and many use of force decisions. Can this be applicable in the martial arts community? I think so.

Priority of life means you determine who's safety you are prioritizing at that moment. It starts with an idea that human life is worth saving and protecting. But also with the knowledge that evil exists and that sometimes you have to hurt or even kill someone to protect lives.

How you go about making these decisions is partially by figuring out who is creating the threat? And who is the priority at the moment regarding preserving life.

For instance example #1:
I am in my house, I hear a window smash, then an angry male voice, the. My kid scream for help. I run down stairs and see an intruder coming towards my son.

Who is creating the threat? The intruder. Who gets priority regarding safety, my son. If I have to get hurt or killed okay. If the attacker is hurt or killed that's a good outcome.

Example #2
I live alone, I hear a window break. I go downstairs to investigate. I see an intruder with a knife. Who is creating the threat. He is. Who's safety gets priority? Mine! If someone gets hurt it should be him not me.

Example #3
Someone attacks me in the middle of the street. I take him down and choke him unconscious. I look around, he has no friends there. In fact people are happy I choked this guy, he was harassing everyone.

Who is at risk now? The attacker who is unconscious in the middle of a street. Am I in danger? No. At what point do you begin to prioritize his safety?

You see human life is valuable, but that does not mean that you put yourself at risk to prevent damage or death to an attacker. It does mean that you should consider at least your own personal moral code regarding using force. Part of that is factoring in when and how you prioritize the safety of the criminal or aggressor.

I have given some room for discussion on this in both my "head hitting concrete" and "would you hit a woman" discussions.

To be clear I'm not saying you shouldn't hit a woman, or you should try and control an attackers decent to the pavement. People have different opinions and that's fine.

But what I am attempting is to get people to discuss the moral aspects of using force. Simply understanding what is legal is not going to adequately prepare someone to make acute sudden use of force decisions under stress.

Understanding the concept of "priority of life" I think can be helpful.
 

drop bear

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But I want to rationalise hurting people. Otherwise what is the point of being able to do it?
 

Jimmythebull

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When it's done appropriately it is a guilt free experience.
Good answer it's a last resort for me now to save me or my family. If I can I'll avoid it but probably because I'm 56 now. Young men tend to enjoy violence more.
 
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J

Jared Traveler

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I have never felt good about really hurting people.

It was always about work ethic for me rather than a sense of enjoyment.
Work ethic is probably a decent way to say it. Because ideally, when you make well thought out moral decisions regarding use of force, it can become a professional application, devoid of guilt or a need to punish anyone.
 

Darren

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The concept of "priority of life" is largely understood in law enforcement, and is the bases for many tactical decisions, and many use of force decisions. Can this be applicable in the martial arts community? I think so.

Priority of life means you determine who's safety you are prioritizing at that moment. It starts with an idea that human life is worth saving and protecting. But also with the knowledge that evil exists and that sometimes you have to hurt or even kill someone to protect lives.

How you go about making these decisions is partially by figuring out who is creating the threat? And who is the priority at the moment regarding preserving life.

For instance example #1:
I am in my house, I hear a window smash, then an angry male voice, the. My kid scream for help. I run down stairs and see an intruder coming towards my son.

Who is creating the threat? The intruder. Who gets priority regarding safety, my son. If I have to get hurt or killed okay. If the attacker is hurt or killed that's a good outcome.

Example #2
I live alone, I hear a window break. I go downstairs to investigate. I see an intruder with a knife. Who is creating the threat. He is. Who's safety gets priority? Mine! If someone gets hurt it should be him not me.

Example #3
Someone attacks me in the middle of the street. I take him down and choke him unconscious. I look around, he has no friends there. In fact people are happy I choked this guy, he was harassing everyone.

Who is at risk now? The attacker who is unconscious in the middle of a street. Am I in danger? No. At what point do you begin to prioritize his safety?

You see human life is valuable, but that does not mean that you put yourself at risk to prevent damage or death to an attacker. It does mean that you should consider at least your own personal moral code regarding using force. Part of that is factoring in when and how you prioritize the safety of the criminal or aggressor.

I have given some room for discussion on this in both my "head hitting concrete" and "would you hit a woman" discussions.

To be clear I'm not saying you shouldn't hit a woman, or you should try and control an attackers decent to the pavement. People have different opinions and that's fine.

But what I am attempting is to get people to discuss the moral aspects of using force. Simply understanding what is legal is not going to adequately prepare someone to make acute sudden use of force decisions under stress.

Understanding the concept of "priority of life" I think can be helpful.
First two examples are easy!! The third were you choke the attacker unconscious is easy too, when the guy goes unconscious you are responsible for your life first then the attackers life too!! As the attacker is at your mercy and no one has the right to take a life but God hisself, but God is not down here nor does he have to live down here amongst it!! So what do ya do?
 

Darren

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I have never felt good about really hurting people.

It was always about work ethic for me rather than a sense of enjoyment.
Had to fight in my younger years, the image that stays in my head is this guy laying on his back on the ground gasping for air from something I did, had to go back over and make sure he could breathe and helped him back to his feet. For a long time after that I stopped fighting. Dont want to hurt anyone without good cause!!!!
 

tkdroamer

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I have never felt good about really hurting people.

It was always about work ethic for me rather than a sense of enjoyment.
I get what you are saying. This really resonates with my professional life.
If I am being honest, when I was young and dumb, I did enjoy it a bit.
 

Bill Mattocks

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The concept of "priority of life" is largely understood in law enforcement, and is the bases for many tactical decisions, and many use of force decisions. Can this be applicable in the martial arts community? I think so.
I enjoyed reading your full post. I've never thought of it in a formal manner, but that's generally how I feel. I think of things more in terms of threat level. I will defend myself (or my family, etc) to the utmost of my ability, until the threat is ended. Then I stop. That is to say, I'm not going to continue to attack a person who can no longer realistically hurt me.

As a military policeman in the Marines, I sometimes had to render aid to someone whom a moment before had been fighting with me; it was part of the job. I have (so far) never had to deal with anything like that in civilian life. I would imagine that if I had to render first aid, I would, if I could do so safely.

I am not bloodthirsty, nor sadistic, but ultimately I won't defend myself 'less' to avoid doing serious or permanent damage to an attacker. They chose to attack me (or family, etc), they forfeited the right to not be seriously injured or killed. Whatever happens to them is on them. I'm not saying I'd resort to deadly force with little or no provocation; it does mean if I feel my life is in immediate danger, there's nothing I won't do to preserve my own life.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I get what you are saying. This really resonates with my professional life.
If I am being honest, when I was young and dumb, I did enjoy it a bit.
I did and do enjoy fighting. That's not the same as enjoying hurting people. Sometimes people get hurt when they fight, but the point (for me) isn't to hurt someone; it's to engage in a punch up.
 
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