Archive for August, 2016

CMA’s Mick is new writer for MAG

Posted: August 24, 2016 by kentcma in Uncategorized

MAG: Martial Arts Guardian Magazine

http://www.martialartsguardian.com/

 

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Martial Arts the Law and You #3

Posted: August 24, 2016 by kentcma in Uncategorized

So a quick recap, first off we posed some questions to see what you know and how you think about the law on violence, we covered initial methods to help stop you getting arrested and about how the ‘scene’ is assessed by Police so you can be aware of useful evidence. We looked at the ‘Essential 10’ in respect of your Perceived threat level and a bit on responses to them ‘after the fact’. We then looked at a few ideas of how to help put your point across, firstly in a way to help the cause and secondly a few ways that won’t.

So to finish these 3 articles off I want to think about how to apply the information, and how you could possibly change actions or outcomes. Is it you that’s starting the fight? Can it be diffused? Do I need to act first as I am in fear? Don’t ponder it too much unless you think it’s useful, discard it if it’s not BUT one day if the worst happens it may just help…

Bringing order to chaos: a couple of strategies that could help and were actually part of the Police training program back in the  day, firstly a teaching model based on ‘reflection’;

What? … actions did I take? … was the response of others? … were the consequences?

So what? … was going through my mind as I acted? … did I base my actions on? … other knowledge can I bring to the situation?

Now what? … do I need to do in order to get this resolved?

Rolfe et al.’s (2001) reflective model

This is a simple way to sort out what happened and to reason it through, witnesses, essential 10 points, actions and reactions, reasons, possible defences even admitting you are at fault! If you get arrested a solicitor should ALWAYS be sought prior to saying anything that could incriminate you!!

Remember You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in court. Anything you say may be given in evidence’. So think carefully about spouting off a load of rubbish as they will write it down, later on if you change your story in interview it’s going to look a little bit like you made it all up… just be advised by the solicitor or police station rep.

The next is something called Bataris box. Think this over as it may help you in several ways, one stop you getting in the shit to start with by stopping situational escalation, then how to deal with the people around you after the Police arrive, it will help in interview and in court. Once when I was 12years old I rode a motor bike on some scrub land with a mate on the back. It was messing about and the mate pushed me to bump start it, unfortunately we went off the land onto a rough bit of road (still part of the highway under road traffic law…) it started and he jumped on just as a Police car cut across and took us to the Police station (it was in 1978 so not formally arrested) parents were called as they were more friendly then. My parents and I were apologetic and just got told off, his were irate and verbal, he got done for something or a fine I forget what. They failed the ‘attitude test’ where as we passed it! Again this is useful in all sorts of ways not just this example.

 

Ok so remember this is not about seeing a group of guys in front of you and getting out a note pad to list attributes then work out what to do! We started retrospectively; it’s gone wrong how do I correctly justify my actions in the eyes of the law? It was a method to help you get away from that need and to be able to think in advance, at home on the sofa or at training. It was to show just how grey the situation may look at the time and then how black and white you will be judged later, to give you the mind-set to be able to do what was needed WITHOUT dropping you deep in it with a Judge. Remember as I said before Cops these days vary, some are jumped up arrogant vindictive twats, others are worse, some however are actually decent human beings there to help the general public and uphold the law in the ‘without fear or favour’ in the way we agreed to when joining up. I have seen/heard officers that would deliberately wind people up outside a pub or club near to the end of a shift just for the overtime and to make their arrest stats look good! I won’t get into what’s in the public interest or waste of time, money and resources…

So if you have been interested in these articles at all you may have some little scenarios in your mind. No one can tell you what you should do when it comes to a violent confrontation, there have been times way before the Police where I have stood up to 5 plus guys in the street when there was no fucking way I would back down regardless of if I won lost or even died in the process. Times I defused something and shook someone’s hand, even bought them a drink that I had wanted to kick the crap out of 5 minutes before. There is a very fine line between starting it and pre-empting it! Most people that have trained in a reality based system have had proper conflict, I would say in the past I started many a fight, some I successfully pre-empted and some I just reacted when someone else started. When I say I started it I mean they were seriously out of order and it may or may not have gone further, however back then it must have hurt my ego so I went first! Several times it was to protect a friend or even someone I didn’t know from a big bad bully that didn’t get the right lesson at school. A lot of these times I was lucky and ‘got away with it’ rightly or wrongly.

So now we have an idea about conflict resolution, possible factors that you can use that show you reasoned out your choice to use violence or how you tried to avoid it. We covered a couple of strategies that can help bring order to chaos so to end I wanted to touch on why I mentioned thinking it through on the sofa then discarding it. For years I was taught hundreds of techniques to grade and to be able to be ‘worthy to teach’, this included Judo, Karate Kyokushin and Shotokan, Jujitsu and several others to a lesser level, more recently some Muay Thai and BJJ. If I look back 90% of the techniques were of no use to me, do I need 10 different ways to throw someone over my hip, do I need Yoko Geri Kekomi and Keage, do I need a thousand ways to submit someone on the ground transitioning through them like a whirlwind? Yes to grade and get ‘recognition’ and make money for some, not for self-protection though. Yes all martial arts are horses for courses, all that stuff develops stances, movement, posture etc… but it is overfilling your tool box to the point where you need a Snap On roll cab as big as a house. Someone says can I borrow a 10mm spanner and youre like ‘…shit where was that again…?’ I could have learnt one ‘stance’ a handful of strikes and defences, pressure tested and repeated and been far better at reality stuff! I still sometimes automatically flinch response a Gedan Barai to a low round kick FFS…

Mushin in Japanese martial arts has two characters or Kanji, Mu meaning negation and Shin meaning heart, mind, spirit or feeling. (Shortened from Zen Mushin No Shin ‘the mind without mind’) Generally meaning for us in this article the mind is clear, aware, not fixed or occupied on anything specific, has no fear or emotion derived from events, not inhibited in any way and therefore able to react more quickly and more efficiently.

I am in no way any sort of expert on Zen but I would liken this to when I was a serving officer; you could get a call at any time to deal with situations that were a fine hinge from life or death. To deal with scary people, killers (only once in my service) knife wielding maniacs (twice from memory) massive fights of 100 travellers at a hotel where you are first through the door (again that’s was just once) and others too many to list. By dealing with that level of conflict, violence and the sort of people that are involved in it you gain experience, you learn to control fear, think more clearly about a set of rules or laws, about the options you have which range from just being there to make them think oh shit I gotta stop all the way to calling in firearms as its too dangerous. How can martial artists or people wanting self-protection gain this clarity of mind or disposition to weight up the facts in an instant, unfettered by fear or adrenal dump? Pressure training; lots of it, varied and progressive. If it’s all the same each time you will just get used to it and it’s a new comfort zone. If you don’t feel some adrenaline beforehand in anticipation or during it as it’s a bit out of control its not going to be much better than a bit of sparring.

 

Martial Arts, the Law and You #2

Posted: August 24, 2016 by kentcma in Uncategorized

Martial Arts, the Law and You

So last time we had some questions at the beginning;

  1. In a fight do I have to use ‘minimal violence’ or ‘reasonable force’? Who cares what it’s called…You can use any level of force you want BUT you will find yourself in trouble with the law if it’s not judged as ‘reasonable’. So a big drunk aggressive guy beats a slight young female within an inch? That’s unreasonable! A slight young female is forced down an alley by a big drunk aggressive guy and she stabs him once to escape, that’s reasonable… They are a plucked out of the air but I tried to show opposites, even if not that extreme they show a beginning of how to assess it.

“A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.”

  1. Am I allowed to use force to protect property? Yes in short BUT its way more complex as really you need to work out the level of damage to property, is it being stolen, can you just tell the owner or police who damaged or stole it, and loads of other minor facts. So if you can work these out then you may need to make a citizen’s arrest..?

Civilian Powers of Arrest – abstract taken from cps.gov.uk

‘Care must be taken, when assessing the evidence in a case involving civilian powers of arrest. Such powers of arrest are dependent upon certain preconditions.

The principal civilian powers of arrest have been substantially amended by the implementation of section 110 of Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) 2005. The citizen’s new powers of arrest can be found in section 24A, PACE 1984.

Members of the public (other than constables) may now only arrest for “indictable” offences.

There are 2 conditions which apply:-

  1. That there are reasonable grounds to believe the arrest is necessary for a reason specified and
  2. It is not reasonably practical for a constable to make the arrest

The reasons specified are to prevent the person in question:

  • Causing physical injury to himself or any other person
  • Suffering physical injury
  • Causing loss of or damage to property
  • Making off before a constable can assume responsibility
  • Any force used to affect the arrest may be an assault and unlawful; and
  • Any force used to resist the arrest may be lawful (see R v Self 95 Cr. App R. 42)’

So as you can see above AND as we used to advise, avoid the grief unless you’re either sure of your rights or it’s an obvious lose lose situation that you can justify.

  1. Are we allowed to use a weapon in a real fight? Only you can decide that having been ‘presented’ with the impact factors which are listed out in this article or just on your own thoughts or fears at the time. But if you think you are about to be killed or very seriously injured and the only way to survive is to use a weapon then the choice is obvious. You will most definitely need to be able to justify your actions later!
  2. What’s worse what you did or what you said later? You tell me! Experience tells me in cases where they don’t rely on forensic or video evidence then probably what you said. It also tells me that if you shot or stabbed someone but you said you didn’t or weren’t even at the scene then probably what you did can be pretty bad..! So if it’s Common Assault, Actual Bodily Harm maybe what you say but it’s always based on the facts / evidence / witnesses and so on.

…so back to the REAL world; what ever happened we will take it that as a decent martial arts ‘expert’ you didn’t start it, we martial arts guys have nothing to prove do we. So you got in some trouble and Police have arrived. Ideally they will always separate 2 people so long as there are enough officers there. This way each version of events can be taken down, (if it’s really serious everyone comes in and its sorted out at the station) either way now is where you must think and think about the pure facts. We can compare what you would currently do to my advice on what to do BEFORE any violence occurs.

This list is NOT about the physical act as you’re good to go with that; this is purely in relation to law! Ok so avoid the problem, cross the road, walk away, use non aggressive verbal and non-verbal communication, keep your hands open and if the other person approaches you keep them up as if to say no keep back, be aware of others around you…

Some tools you can use;

Reflecting on question 5 from the last article and above – A lot of people are prosecuted for what they say… not what they have done! We have shown its best to withdraw from possible confrontation, remove yourself form the possible line of fire as this stands you in good stead with the law. So if you’re walking along the road and a person walking towards you has some attributes that put them high on your perceived threat analysis scale, then you could cross the street early, this is a bit like counter surveillance techniques in that if the person really is intent on doing you harm they will give it away slightly earlier as they will either have to cross before or after reaching you, tipping you the wink that it’s time to withdraw…run… or if able to handle yourself and the sort of person who will not retreat, it gives the crucial ‘Zanshin’ or awareness needed to prepare for trouble, if it then comes and later you find yourself in court due to what may have followed a good point of defence is that you crossed the road to avoid possible conflict, it was the aggressor that then followed to start the trouble, again this could be witnessed or be on CCTV and that will be recorded for prosperity.

So the level of perceived threat on a scale all depends on your own perception, justification and also on your own physical make up, things that make this are almost like a see saw of positives and negatives and can go something like this and is a loose reincarnation of ‘Impact factors’ used by Police and I am going to call them the essential 10…

  1. Skill Level / Special Knowledge / Prior training and knowledge – you may be a 10th Dan in every martial art ever known OR have no fighting experience what so ever.
  2. Size / Sex / Age – you may be 6’7″ tall male with a rugby player or body builder physique OR 5’0″ tall female with a thin light build. A young able person? An old frail person? These can affect relative strength.
  3. Attitude – you may be outgoing personality where you give good eye contact, keep your head up OR be painfully shy looking at the ground constantly.
  4. Appearance – this can be controversial in that we shouldn’t judge based on appearance but if you are intimidated by a particular type or look of people then it’s YOUR fear no one else’s. So based on that you may have a skin head tattooed rough aggressive look with lots of scars OR longer hair slight of build and friendly looking.
  5. Alcohol or Drugs – They can have various effects; higher pain threshold, an unreasonable approach to situations, raised resilience or strength.
  6. Mental Derangement – Possibly unreasonable or unaware of danger with no fear of consequences.
  7. Weapons – Anything that can be used to inflict pain or injury, an example of a scale could be from a rolling pin to a gun
  8. Numbers – more than one person with a common purpose.
  9. Environment / Location – This could be next to a drop, at the top of stairs, uneven or slippery surfaces,
  10. Exhaustion or injury – Unable to defend yourself or get away from the situation.

So the essential 10 can be used to help you out of sticky situations, not by lying of course. Lies will normally get found out or you will forget what you said in interview! Here are a few quotes that could work in your favour if they fit the bill;

  • ‘I was scared of his reputation as I know he is a really hard and nasty guy…’
  • ‘He was massive; I tried to get away but…’
  • ‘He was really aggressive, shouting, screaming in my face what he was going to do so…’
  • ‘Look at me I’m tiny and he was massive, tattooed, scarred, skin head, I was so intimidated by him…’
  • ‘He was drunk/drugged/deranged, nothing I said would stop him…’
  • ‘He had a knife/broken bottle/glass and I was in fear of my life so…’
  • ‘He said he was going to beat me and his mates were going to help/attack my family…’
  • ‘I was pushed back at the top of the staircase, nowhere to go so…’
  • ‘I tried to run but he was really fit, I knew if I kept running he would catch me and I would be exhausted, I had to stop and face him and…’
  • Or the good old fashioned ‘He said he was going to kill me and…’

What not to say;

‘Well he hit me but I’m way harder than him, it didn’t hurt so I chased him to get my own back, I gave him a kicking but it was self-defence…’ this is revenge and there is admittance the assault wasn’t even serious-.

‘He damaged my car and walked off, I know who he is and where he lives but I thought I’m going to make him pay for it…’ this could have been dealt with by the Police, you know them and where they live.

The following link is really good and worth looking at if you or your friends or family get in any grief – http://www.cps.gov.uk/

 

 

Martial Arts, the Law and You #1

Posted: August 24, 2016 by kentcma in Uncategorized

Ok so you’re all really tough, experienced martial artists, you train in multiple styles striking, grappling, ground etc to make sure you are set for the street, and the sessions you train are all reality based. What you are doing is what a lot of others before you have done including me, to make yourself into a weapon, a hard target ‘just in case’. So what’s this article all about? It’s about when it goes wrong, it’s about an extra tool that needs to be in the same toolkit as situational awareness, a jab and cross, a head-butt and all those other cool things you have honed over the years of blood sweat and tears!

Some questions for you before you start reading;

  1. Have you ever been involved in a fight you didn’t start then heard the words ‘I am arresting you on suspicion of…’?
  2. In a fight do I have to use ‘minimal violence’ or ‘reasonable force’?
  3. Am I allowed to use force to protect property?
  4. Are we allowed to use a weapon in a real fight?
  5. What’s worse what you did or what you said later?
  6. Do you need the tools to be able to say the right thing or maybe you don’t realise that it could be a whole lot worse if you don’t?

Here’s some possible outcomes with are not exhaustive – a. released without charge, b. released on bail pending further enquiries, c. formal caution, d. charged with various offences from ABH upwards,  e. remanded in custody to appear before the next available court.

There are two ways you can help to reduce possibly bad outcomes – 1. Don’t get arrested in the first place (by way of avoiding situations, being the bigger man, knowing how to get away with it etc). 2. If you are arrested deal with it in the right way.

Ok well let’s look at it this way… Police deal with violence pretty much every day they are on duty, I know as I used to be a Kent Police Officer. So you get EXTREMELY used to it as well as all the excuses people give you, mainly as they are talking or sometimes shouting at you, not listening at all. They are often giving off a particular demeanour that tends to indicate various things like anger, fear and often predictable bullshit as to why it wasn’t them blah blah blah.

This is where you should play the grey man / woman, take a deep breath and relax, if you’re ‘coming in’ (Police speak for into custody) it’s going to happen no matter what you say or do unless you are a really fast runner and lucks on your side. All that can be changed is if it’s after a struggle with cuffs on looking a total idiot, which will possibly get you further charges of resisting arrest or assault police. Or it’s in a co-operative way where you are giving the vibe of wanting to assist and get it sorted out. Either option you take is written up into the arrest statement and can go for or against you later including possible extra charges. A jury hears one person was aggressive and resisted arrest, the other was calm and helpful – which would be most likely to get off if you were the juror? HOWEVER some people are not destined at that point to be arrested, it’s what they do or say that gets the cuffs on. By taking the grey option you get to hear what the other person is saying (unless you are separated) it allows you time to think, to look around at the situation, to see if there is CCTV, witnesses and so on. These are really important things to add to your defence toolkit, when you’re interviewed later if you say something that’s blatantly a lie all of these things will just show you up as a liar!

Interview; the whole point of interview to get both versions of events for an offender and aggrieved scenario, the officer/s will pick out important ‘points to prove’ for the offence for which you were arrested. Then they will compare them to the evidence in form of other statements, witnesses, CCTV and so on. When they find a contradiction from what appears to be the generally held truth and the ‘lie’ you are telling them. They will get you to really expand on that and ‘sign up to the lie’ as it were.

e.g Three witnesses say the suspected ‘offender’ YOU crossed the street, shouted at the ‘aggrieved’ or VICTIM and then started punching him, the aggrieved happened to be a better fighter so the offender came off worse. Police arrived and both were arrested.

In interview YOU say ‘well this guy I know crossed over the road and started on me, I tried to get him to stop but he beat me up bad’. So a clear difference from your version of events and the evidence from THREE witnesses. Further questions will get you to dig your hole deeper until the officer/s present the evidence to you and say ‘I put it to you that this did not happen, you actually were the one to cross the road and…’ later at court the jury say guilty! What happened? You failed to notice the witnesses and the CCTV then told TOTAL crap about what happened.

Now the idea of this article is not ‘how to get out of jail free’, but it is to show the extreme of how people that are guilty get caught. This will help people that are innocent yet in a position where they could look guilty to get the correct disposal of the incident.

So the legal system won’t convict someone that’s innocent right!? Wrong! Here is one out of quite a few incidents that happened to people I knew. Ok one guy I knew let’s call him John heard a load of noise and went outside to find 2 youths around 18 fighting, one was across the bonnet of John’s new Saab. He did the normal things like shout stop etc etc. eventually he could see they wouldn’t stop and his car was getting damaged so he intervened, one ran off and he restrained the other till Police arrived. The youth claimed assault by John who was later advised to take a Caution. I still can’t believe this one but John got what is equivalent to a conviction for stopping a fight and protecting property! This was the sort of advice given to him by his free legal counsel and the OIC (Officer In the Case).

So in answer to Question 1 at the start of the article; YES I have, and I played the game and won at court. Not just won but made the CPS prosecutor look like a right idiot and getting one of the witnesses to totally change his statement in the court. All due to ME working out the facts, angles of sight etc and having an amazing defence lawyer to put the facts over.

Come back next time for more on what you should say and do to limit the chance of it going further, also how to justify your actions, not just to the Police but to yourself using the same tool as the Police, the Conflict Resolution Model, also answers to the other questions…

CMA on Heart Radio with Jack the Lad

Posted: August 24, 2016 by kentcma in Uncategorized

https://www.facebook.com/groups/combatmartialartsmaidstone/1089215567799705/?notif_t=like&notif_id=1472035560699175