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

‘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 –




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