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joesteph
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 11 Aug 2008
Posts: 2753
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:02 pm    Post subject: Legal problems due to belt rank? Reply with quote

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?
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tonydee
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 21 Jun 2009
Posts: 253
Location: Japan
Styles: 24 yrs kong soo do, 3 yrs hapkido, bits of others

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes... I'm aware of one martial artist in Australia who has run his own school for 20-odd years, who spent about a year in prison after an incident in a bar. The version I heard indirectly from him is that he was suggesting to two women that they might act in a more ladylike fashion than they had been, and one of them went to throw her drink in his face. He instinctively raised a hand, which broke the glass, and both of them got cut. The women took it to court - two against one, presumably with a slightly different version of events. His rank in martial arts was focused on in court.

Cheers,
Tony
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BDPulver
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 386
Location: Kentucky and New Jersey
Styles: Isshinryu, Kobudo, Knife Training

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

an associate I know has warned me if something ever happens I would be treated differently in court due to my knowlegde.

I never got into a fight though and always am able to talk and calm things down. I do know that that will not work all the time but never got to the point of seeing the back seat of a police car. (knock on wood)
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tallgeese
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 6834
Location: McHenry County, IL
Styles: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bujin Bugei Jutsu, Gokei Ryu Kempo Jutsu, MMA, Shootfighting, boxing, kickboxing, JKD, Pekiti Tersia Kali

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone stress this, and it might be a concern; however, there's nothing in any legal system I'm aware of that takes this into account.

The general rule is the "reasonableness" of force applied to defend one's self. So, is the amount of force you dish out proportional to the threat you perceived AT THE TIME. Not in retrospect, but the perception of facts known at the time.

Regardless of knowledge base or background, that's the big question you're going to have to answer. There will, of course, be exceptions but they are not the rule. If you act in defense, and you're actions were reasonable in regards to force, you'll likely be fine.

Much better to figure out what you're jurisdicional rulings are about reasonable force than to worry about the background you have in the arts.

Civially, not criminally, this might come into more of play. However, a good lawyer will be able to steer things back into the actual realm of reasonable action. If you're covered crimianlly it's much harder in most corners of the world, to get jammed up civilially.
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algernon
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 11 Sep 2009
Posts: 82


PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I have also never read a law that imposes stricter guidelines for use of force on martial artists, I have also never read a law that exempts martial art training from use in a trial. If the case involved a preemptive strike or a death (even if justifiable), I would not be surprised to see it brought up.
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MMA_Jim
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 275
Location: Philadelphia
Styles: BJJ, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed with tallgeese- legal implications from fights have nothing to do with any training in martial arts. No such laws exist (i.e. theres nothing about "registering your hands" and such).
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Praesul
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 24 Jan 2010
Posts: 14


PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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MMA_Jim
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 275
Location: Philadelphia
Styles: BJJ, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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).
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14189
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if any court of law would truly take "rank" into consideration. Why? The rage of the page is that "rank" in the martial arts is suggestive and this is because of the many "false/fake" black belts that are around.

Again, I'm not a lawyer and I've no idea what any court of law would say about "rank". I'm sure that some judges might take it into consideration, while other judges might not. Is it permissable or not? That's up to that judge, imho.


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tonydee
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 21 Jun 2009
Posts: 253
Location: Japan
Styles: 24 yrs kong soo do, 3 yrs hapkido, bits of others

PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:53 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 disagree with much of this. For a start, the lawyers on the other side won't know or care if you're from a McDojo - they're going to make you out to be a highly trained brute. You're not likely to be believed if you say "oh, my martial art is just a ritual art form" (unless you do tai chi or aikido and their soft forms happen to be familiar to the judge or jury). So, I think that dimension isn't relevant to a judge or jury's prejudices against or differing expectations of martial artists. The issue then relates to excessive force: if you injure someone who attacks you, and you're a martial artist, their lawyers may assert that given your training you were able - but choose not to - handle the situation without seriously hurting their client. The normal self-defence justifications - ala "I was afraid he was going to beat the daylights out of me, so I hit him until I was sure he couldn't keep fighting" - just won't sound as credible.

It's true that the average standard of martial artists is nothing to brag about, but the average standard of boxers / kick-boxers / wrestlers etc. is nothing to brag about either. Even accepting that good boxers might benefit from science - in the form of body-mechanical analysis, and statistical analysis of empirical data gathered from fights - their sport is still vastly different from a fight situation, and the utility of their techniques for self defence is highly questionable. In my experience, many professional boxers don't even punch well for self defence, as the gloves they wear spread out the impact in space and time to such an extent that they need to modify the technique to allow them to keep punching without exhausting themselves, but in doing so they massively compromise the body mechanics and peak power in any single punch. They also tend to hold their guard too high - forearms overly vertical - which can be easily trapped by a martial artist.

Regards,
Tony
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