WOD Talk Magazine

Self Defense Law – (What You Probably Don’t Know)

By on September 9, 2011

In this post I am going to try and cover a couple of different misconceptions concerning self defense and the law. Lots of people have misconceptions  when it concerns their personal protection.

There is not a lot of talk about self defense law in most self defense and martial art schools out there. For the most part all you will hear a martial arts teacher say is, “if they hit you first then you can hit them back”. Or sometimes you will hear, “if you feel threatened and you feel your life is in danger, than you can strike the person”. Or something like that.

But that is usually as far as it goes. In fact, I only know of maybe 2 or 3 people in the self defense community that actually teach the legal side of personal protection to their students. Let me state this: Before You Apply Self Defense in ANY situation, Get to Know Your State Laws Concerning Self Defense! If you don’t you could end up behind bars.

If you go to a martial arts (MA)/ self defense (SD) school, ask your instructors to teach you about the legal side of things. My bet is that they don’t know much. I have walked into countless MA / SD schools and had numerous conversations with instructors all over the world. Any time the conversation turned to the legal side of a confrontation, they would change the subject or even say something that legally was not even true.

What an Injustice to their students!

Now before I really start this post, the first thing I would like to say is that I am NOT a lawyer. Everything in this post I have learned through my personal study of self defense and self defense law. For legal matters please consult an attorney.


Misconceptions Regarding Self Defense Law


There are many misconceptions out there about self defense and the law.  One I would like to bring up is the simple misconception of what self defense really means.

Everyone knows what something means until there is an issue. Most people when they think of self defense they think of fighting off an attacker using punching, kicking, and even assaulting the threat with a weapon of some sort. Self defense means that yes you have the right to defend yourself, your property or someone else from harm, BUT you must do so if ALL other options have been extinguished. And to be honest, self defense is more about what you don’t do in a confrontation than what you do do.

Just because you feel threatened does not give you any right to assault the person. You WILL go to jail for it.

You know, I walked into a self defense school night long ago, right when they were showing  techniques to their students. I was absolutely horrified by what I saw. The instructor had his “opponent” on his knees and he was standing behind him. From there he was explaining a technique to “snap” the opponents neck. He said “only do this is you have to”, or some bullsh*t like that.

Let me ask you this, if you have the guys back, the guy is on his knees, and you obviously have the upper hand in the fight, at what point do you “have to” snap his neck? You don’t. If you do, that’s called MURDER!

How in the hell are you going to explain that one in court?

I can see it now: “Yes, your honor, I was behind him like this and completely dominating him and then he twitched and I felt I had to snap his neck with this Russian head snapping technique thing.”

Yeah, I can see that going down real quick.

Where do you cross that line from self-defense into assault or even murder?

For the most part, the reasons there are so many misconceptions about self defense and self defense law is because it is interpreted differently from person to person. But Self defense is a legally defined term. Which means that your actions in the situation can and will be judged against.

And before you listen to that self defense instructor of yours, you really need to do your due-diligence when it comes to the subject.


Miconception #2

concealed weapon pic

Another common misconception is that just because you have a license to carry a concealed weapon, automatically gives you a license to use it. It absolutely does not!

The law justifies use of deadly force when you are:

•    Trying to protect yourself or another person from death or serious bodily harm;
•    Trying to prevent a forcible felony, such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping.

Using or even displaying a weapon in any other circumstances could result in your conviction for crimes such as improper exhibition of a weapon, manslaughter, or worse.

I remember a situation once at a local nightclub where these two guys got into a verbal disagreement. One of them threatened that they had a weapon and was going to use it (He was scared the other guy was going to fight him), and he was actually arrested just for stating that he had one. He didn’t show it nor use it. Just said that he had one so everyone could hear.

If you carry a concealed weapon let me state this:
1.    If you carry, you better KNOW how to use your weapon in the first place
2.    Only draw your weapon when you have no other options available to you (cause you can’t escape).

Let me reiterate this point, just because you got the license doesn’t mean you can go around and use it.

Be smarter than the average!

Well that is it for me this time. I am going to continue to write more on the subject of law and how it relates to self defense. But I think I have already taken up much of your time.
Until Next Time

Stay Safe.
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About Coach Karma

Coach Karma L Senge has been in Personal Protection / Self Defense as well as the Fitness & Nutrition world for over 31 years now and continually teaches around the world. He has held seminars for many government agencies around the world as well as seminars for civilians. He currently teaches seminars in the United States, Europe, India, and throughout Central America. As well has oversees many training groups around the world.

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