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sensei8
KF Sensei
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14607
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Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In re-thinking about the possible legalities concerning ones rank, should that be brought up by the prosecution/court, rank just might play a bigger part in the whole scheme of things in a court of law.

Here's what I'm thinking.

Hypothetical. Let's say, for example, Kanazawa Sensei was in a court of law for some reason or another along the lines of this thread. The court/prosecution just might determine that someone with Kanazawa's rank must be admissible evidence within the scope of permissible discovery. The main thing to remember is that the scope of permissible discovery is very broad. "Reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence" means that you are allowed to probe into areas that may themselves not be admissible, if doing so would shed light on other evidence that is admissible.

Admissible evidence, in a court of law, is any testimonial, documentary, or tangible evidence that may be introduced to a factfinder—usually a judge or jury—in order to establish or to bolster a point put forth by a party to the proceeding. In order for evidence to be admissible, it must be relevant, without being prejudicial, and it must have some indicia of reliability.

Would it be relevant that Kanazawa Sensei is a 10th Dan in Karate? Would it be relevant that Kanazawa Sensei has been involved in karate for over 50 years? Would it be relevant that the International Martial Arts Federation promoted Kanazawa to 8th dan in 1978, 9th dan in 1988, and 10th dan in 2002. Within the SKIF, he holds the rank of 8th dan, attained in 1998? Would it be relevant that Kanazawa Sensei is the founder, Kancho, and Chief Instructor of SKIF? Would it be relevant that Kanazawa Sensei has written several books on karate? Would it be relevent that Kanazawa Sensei was a kumite champion? Would it be relevent that Kanazawa Sensei is one of the world most renowned and respected karate masters alive? Would it be relevant that Kanazawa Sensei posseses extreme, if not extraordinary, knowledge of karate? Would it be relevant that Kanazawa Sensei should've known better than the chosen course of his actions, considering both his character and background?

Or would a judge prohibit the facts to be admissible in his/her court of law? While the judge might allow it or not is far better for scholars of law to debate its possibilities. Yet, these type of facts would be hard to ignore, even if directed to do so by a judge.

After all the dust has settled...Is someone's rank going to be a mute point? Or would the prosecutor have a field day with it once a judge allows the admission?

Facts are facts! A defense attorney might object that these facts call for an opinion as well as that personal feelings have no business in the court of law.


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KarateGeorge
Brown Belt
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Joined: 21 Oct 2009
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Styles: Shuri-te Karate, Wing Chun

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solid post.

Though there is technically no legal grounding regarding one's martial arts rank. However, judges and juries are made of people, and if it becomes known, any prosecuting attorney would most certainly bring it up during trial. Even if the defense objects and the "evidence" is dismissed, it would be likely that the jury's judgement would be colored by their perceptions of what a black belt means, either correctly or incorrectly, and could play a role in their final decision on the verdict.

So, though legally, one holding a rank of black belt has no bearing, in reality, it can still affect the verdict once all is said and done.
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ps1
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Joined: 09 Nov 2004
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Styles: Chuan Fa, Shotokan, JJJ, BJJ

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:16 am    Post subject: Re: Legal problems due to belt rank? Reply with quote

joesteph wrote:
I received my copy of The Little Black Book of Violence by Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder today, and am on "Section One: Before Violence Occurs."

On p. 72, there's a story of how Wilder de-escalated a situation, so there was no fight. This was brought up by the authors:

Win or lose, if it came to physical blows, Wilder would have been in serious trouble.

If he beat the other guy down, the fact that Wilder was a black belt would undoubtedly have come out in court, dramatically increasing the odds that he would lose a criminal and/or civil trial.


Do you know someone with a black belt who had to use self-defense, and the belt was focused on in court? Perhaps something was made of it to his/her detriment?

Do you know someone who has/had a brown or (as in my art) red belt, viewed as someone approaching black, and it was brought out in court as above?


This is always interesting to me. To date, I have not been able to find ANY cases where someone was convicted for a crime solely because they were a black belt and defended themselves. It's usually combined with the fact that they continued to assault their attacker after subduing them and rendering them no longer a threat. This is true even in cases where the attacker dies. Your rights are often even more protected if you're in your own home. Many states have a "castle doctrine" that allows you to use deadly force on any threat that enters your home.

A martial artist is not a lethal weapon in the eyes of the law. We don't register ourselves and we aren't' treated differently in court. But if you knock out your attacker, and decide to get on top of them and keep beating them...you're a criminal and deserve to go to jail!

This is a myth that has been perpetuated by movies for a long time.
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ps1
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MMA_Jim wrote:


As such, many of this majority create this claim "I wanted to fight this guy, but I'd get in trouble, so I had to restrain myself."



I just found this funny because it describes so many people I know. It's a way to avoid a fight (which is perfectly ok and honorable) without having to damage your ego.
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masterphoenix
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Joined: 30 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Praesul wrote:
Years and years of training to learn to be able to defend yourself, only to find out you can't because you've had years and years of training.

Bah.



Amen. The law favors criminals, at least in the U.S. You're even put into question if you hurt someone who has broken into your house, even though it's supposed to be legal to use force against them. If it's proven that someone has broken into your house or initiated unwarranted violence, what you did to end the situation should never be put in question.
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JiuJitsuNation
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Joined: 09 May 2010
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Styles: BJJ Judo

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MMA_Jim wrote:
The majority of black belts really dont know anything about self defense and/or fighting.

As such, many of this majority create this claim "I wanted to fight this guy, but I'd get in trouble, so I had to restrain myself."

You get into trouble for getting into a fight because its assault-NOT because you're "trained." Whether or not its justified is determined if its taken to court (which is usually isnt unless its severe). Again you could be training for years and have a black belt, yet havent the slightest clue about fighting or self defense as the majority of martial arts schools teach it as an art (as compared to boxing which is more of a science).


I understand what you are saying and I think if everyone looks at this correctly and not as a reflection of ones self then it makes perfect sense.
I would like to say however in the event a person is highly skilled and in a conflict I believe they will be able to control the situation better and the amount of damage done to the assailant more deliberate. So as to say easier for them to apply enough of what they know to neutralize the person without going overboard. However, newbies hurt more people in class because of their lack of sensitivity, control and awareness. So I would expect the same in the street.
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julien
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is purely a myth, like 'having to register your fists as a deadly weapon when you become a blackbelt'.
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joesteph
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem isn't that the way you protected yourself is necessarily criminal, but that you have a greater chance than the untrained fighter of being sued for the level of damage inflicted, even though the other guy's the aggressor. That was the kickoff in the OP, citing the source and asking for thoughts about it.

I don't believe the lower level gup/kyu belts would be held to the same standard as a red/brown or midnight blue/black belt. There's nothing to stop an attorney from bringing this into a court case, and then the judge and jury make a decision as to its weight.

BTW, the punk or punks who attacked you will be barely recognizable to you in civil court, wearing jackets and ties--and should I say they bathed as well?
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KumitePanda
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i believe that in the judicial systems around the world, MA is totally misunderstood. we're seen to be trained thugs that have nothing better to do with our time than beat the snot out of people, but really when it comes down to it if some loser has a knife and attacks but misses and we hit him, maybe break his jaw or a rib and we go to court for grievious bodily harm or something our personalities will totally get overlooked and the fact we even practice a MA will be taken into account.
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KumitePanda
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

julien wrote:
I think this is purely a myth, like 'having to register your fists as a deadly weapon when you become a blackbelt'.


actually thats not a myth we do it at my dojo. because its true. even now i've been told at white belt w/ black tip level i could put someone in a coma so what will i be like when i get to black belt...just with a kizami i could kill someone. and so could half the BB at my dojo. in australia its a legal thing
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