Self Defence and the law.

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Vanir, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. Vanir

    Vanir lost my sidhe

    Okay, this is basically an email to a fellow mapper which I thought might make an interesting discussion topic for a few 'round here. It's way too long for the General Discussion forum. Please repost wherever appropriate, as necessary, mods but I figured here'd be good.

    It starts mid conversation, in response to other emails but I'm sure you can catch up relatively easy and I think it makes some stand alone points. Anyway, enjoy or ignore at your own discretion :D


    You are standing at a platform, waiting for the London train to Essex (actually I dunno where the hell trains go in the UK). A pair of heavy set youths stand midway along and notice you, they've obviously been drinking and are raucous. Conspiratorily they approach you, one slapping the other on the shoulder and stepping more quickly towards you, leaving his friend a little further behind and whom seems to be adjusting something at the back of his belt.

    He puffs his chest and holds a level stare toward you as his friend dawdles a few steps back, also carefully watching you, stops three feet from you and opens his mouth, speaking in an affrontish manner,

    "Oi. You got the time?"

    Remaining fairly calm, you warily keep both eyes firmly on the pair of them as you lift your watch-arm upwards. You barely get halfway through the movement when the nearer of the two interrupts you.

    "Got a cigarette?"

    The second however, you notice is also holding a level stare with you. You've kept your eyes on him, perhaps expecting a weapon of some kind to be pulled from the rear of his jacket, where his hands had remained suspiciously.

    "What the **** are you lookin' at boss?" he demands of you.

    His friend, not standing more than two feet from you immediately joins in.

    "You staring at my friend? Now that's not nice."

    You have been being assaulted since the pair initially approached you.
    Psychological Intimidation resides at level 1 of the Force Continuum, where the equivalent LEO response is Officer Presence. Were you an off-duty LEO you would be perfectly within your boundaries by presenting your identification and thus arresting the activities therein. In fact, in the commission of duty you may step one level higher than that presented and instruct them to settle down or move on. Even without such employment, one is authorized under the Crimes Act (Section 458 in Victoria) to arrest the Summary Offence of assault to which they are being subject/witness. (Section 426a of) The Crimes Act also authorizes that reasonable and proportionate force may be used to effect such an arrest, but that the arrest may not continue once the (Summary) offence is no longer being committed.
    These are exceedingly important distinctions to remain holistic. Force Continuum, lawful arrest, proper conduct. Don't leave home without them.

    My own coinage of the term "determined responsibility" arises from a psychological standpoint early in the preceedings of potential assaults, and the kind of increased breadth of action which may be available to MA'ists.
    Example: You're out at night, walking from where you parked the car to a pub/venue at an inner city suburb. Although the backstreets tend to be dark and quiet, the main roads are filled with the neon lights of hotels and late night cafe's and sporadic groups of people make their way to various clubs and supper dates.

    Three rough looking men cross a park as you pass, apparently drunk, violent and looking for trouble. They harass young people and couples as they make their way through and seem to have a single minded purpose of dominating others. They are definitely the wrong choice to be in authority although others are a little intimidated to challenge this determination.

    So you size up: what are my responsibilities? Firstly to myself. Secondly to those people apparent. Thirdly to the law and its officers in my region.
    The correct response should be one of unanymity.

    An important examination for MA'ists is their own philosophy. This is similar in nature to the potential of self-righteousness which may be associated with the fundamentalist-religious. One should ask themselves, 'could my own philosophy make me the criminal here?'

    When approaching trouble with a view to altering circumstances a distinction becomes necessary: what's going on in the first place? Who's really being victimised (it's not always the one who looks less stressed, reverse psychology and feigning innocence is all the rage on the street)?

    It's all well and good to hold a sense of tradition for the Samurai days of old however an active philosophy should be contemporary and take modern law enforcement measures into account. The strict adherance of medieval days may be markedly manipulable in an age of telemarketing and teenage worldwide communication. Yet at the same time the strict adherance of accurate tradition may become the very epitome of independant thought in an age of competitive behavior and misdirection.
    And then there is the issue of those whom disagree with you (no matter what you do). Those whom will always disagree with you.

    What kind of self defence manoeuvres are prudent these days?
    We all know the arm-locks and joint manipulation prevailant to martial arts. These are arguably at level 4 of the Force Continuum (hard open-hand). It's not a hard stretch to envision their use where someone has laid their hands upon you in a violent or threatening manner. This may even be where you are already gently guiding them away from someone else they are assaulting, with an arm.

    So what about before physical touch has made its appearance but tension is high? An effective MA strategy might be to draw out the potential attackers, forcing their hand as it were.

    Once again the examination must ascertain as to, 'whether or not I am the criminal here.' This is something even an ethical Police Officer would consider, it's a question of, 'what am I actually doing here?'

    Joint locks are an excellent assertion, however against a determined attacker require some kind of softening blow to become an effective technique. This could arguably raise the stakes of self defence to level 5 of the Force Continuum for no more than a more capable assailant, a potentially dangerous legal position, certainly a compromising social one. And the finishing blows taught in many MA schools completing the manoeuvre may conceivably ascribe Potentially Lethal Force (but not Justifiable Homocide) to your actions upon detailed examination. It is in this area of self defence where Westminster and Constitutional justice systems depart each other primarily.

    Hence we have our concerns as a couple of Westminster MA'ists.
    All told our justice systems seem predisposed to a less complicated array of manoeuvres in physical conflicts than martial art forms. It is better to be a boxer or a kickboxer when you really have to cut loose to survive a confrontation relatively unscathed than an Aikido Shihan. The unaware majority generally find all concept of conflict animalistic at any rate, even as they victimise each other routinely. Its study is both a paradoxial curiosity and a frightening confrontation for them, where social heirarchies have more self-contradiction than effort undertaking.

    But then these youthful views are simply the way to deal with something which may pass closely by, however in which one has no personal interest. Not everybody gets into academic history as a pastime yet they will accept the word of an expert where it is comfortably presented.

    At least in my own region here is where self defence differs so greatly from the dojo. Not in technique applicability for its effectiveness, but its appropriatness within the world we live in today. Joint locks can be levelled where an assailant is already committing an attack and are fairly automatic. However where your interference is utterly required to something an abusive individual is already doing to something/someone else it is unfortunate that one must expect to be struck for the immediate limitations they enjoy. Not an attractive prospect in some circumstances.

    A new strategy: cat and mouse, could work out worse again. You may begin to look like a rival thug competing for territory as another victimises passers-by. You may distract an abusive individual from his entertainment and land yourself in the same regard rather than as much trouble.

    Most of the time abusive people just tend to run everything in the real world and the only people who interfere with them are trying to make "friends." Or are police.

    Hell it's that way right from the schoolyard.

    What's the socially acceptable response by example? Take offence, walk up and punch them in the face. The simple life. No MA "death-blows" as the public will generally regard any actual technique and all the invulnerability of a cartoon character is thoroughly expected. MA'ist means you can be 50kg and have the physical strength and stamina of someone 100kg just standing there. It is magic and you are a superbeing. In fact it is the assailant who deserves public sympathy (and could very well get it).

    Basically it helps for that fatherly appearance if you're a 120kg mountain of muscle when you're going to interfere with abusive activities. Gives a nice, visual reason why everybody else couldn't do a thing. It also helps with the imposed restrictions placed on that sort of behavior, it's fairly unlikely your attacker is going to be a relative physical match that you would have to disable quickly in order to survive any serious aggression. And doing so is so much easier to do casually anyway. It looks good, pleasing to the eye.
    Plus, most importantly: lawful self defence facility is set up that way. It assumes assailants will respond in a certain fashion to varying challenges and they do not. Sometimes they even wear $1000 worth of clothes and jewelry. Regularly they are armed and almost always they enjoy overwhelming advantages. Otherwise they'd never do the things they do so arrogantly.

    What I'd like to do is examine specific techniques/manoeuvres more directly with the Force Continuum/lawful procession in mind. And keeping a wary eye on the moods of social acceptability.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2004
  2. Togakure

    Togakure New Member

    Might be polite to tell us what you edited so we know what is you and what isnt yoda.

    As for the article itself, it was excellent, and I shall ponder it some time before I reply.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2004
  3. YODA

    YODA The Woofing Admin Supporter

    It's an excellent article but was all italic with no paragraph breaks and so difficult to read.I merely put in some paragraph breaks and took away the italic text. I made no changes in content.
  4. shuyun3

    shuyun3 Shugyosha

    very enlightening.

    I have a friend who defended a stranger from a mugger and he got the advantage, executed a wrsitlock which made the poor sap bend back and kneel (shio nage I think?) and he finished off with a standard front kick on the chest and he looked like the assailant when the cops came. And ungrateful girl didn't even vouch for the rescue.

    And they say Chivalry is dead. Au contraire they are killing it.
  5. Jim

    Jim New Member

    That is an excellent essay and probably should be in the article section. I'm glad it wasn't because I (unfortunately) don't get much time to read the articles and would've missed it.

    You touched on quite a few points that had heaps of meat on them, Vanir, and ended up somewhere I didn't expect you to go.

    I don't have much time here and have posted something in my journal that I was going to post here. Your article made me realise what was eating at my conscience all afternoon. I was the bad guy today.

    In relation to your points about the legal system I've found in previous experience that there are many varied descriptions of what happened in a certain event and, strangly enough, even people who I hadn't even remembered seeing there at the time had rallied to one of the parties viewpoint of things and told their story to the court. (if you get my meaning)

    With the young girl that shuyun3 mentioned, all she ever saw was violence and felt violated in just having been a witness to it. Of course she wasn't grateful.

    Sorry if I'm coming across acerbic. I'm having a particularly strained time of things. Thanks again for the article.
  6. Vanir

    Vanir lost my sidhe

    Second instalment.

    Thanks Yoda, quite right. The editing makes it much easier to read. Feel free to alter the following format as necessary also, I'll try to follow the lead.
    And thanks to everyone else for the support.

    Here is the another page of the email, where I continued from the previous discussion. For those whom have yet to encounter it, here is the Force Continuum presented in the form of its general industry standard both in the US and overseas, it was designed for police and security work/general LEO's. The Continuum is regarded as an acceptable measure of appropriate force in courtrooms and matches lawful conduct within the LEO industries.

    Force Level....Suspect action/Officer response
    Level 1: Psychological Intimidation/Officer Presence
    Level 2: Vocal non-compliance/Verbal Instructions
    Level 3: Passive resistance/Soft Open Hand
    Level 4: Defensive resistance/Hard Open Hand
    Level 5: Aggressive response/Filled Hand
    Level 6: Aggrivated Assault/Potentially Lethal Force

    Note: any measure of hand to hand technique begins at Level 4: Hard Open Hand, this includes any joint manipulation, holds or locks.
    Handcuffs appear at Level 5: Filled Hand and are accompanied by baton. Other statutes also apply to restraint and arrest of individuals than the measures of force however.
    Potentially Lethal Force includes firearms use (where lawfully permitted) and all improvised or actual weapons which may likely result in the death or serious injury of the offender. This may arguably include certain martial arts techniques involving vital strikes, particular holds/throws and any other activity which hold any reasonable likelihood of maiming or killing an offender.


    For many MA'ists the simple high-block/reverse-punch manoeuvre can provide a surprise for the potential assailant on the street, whom thinks he has found an easy target in a youth and finds his intimidation/jab batted aside, with a returning blow to the nose. In some cases this is enough to put the average bully off.
    A basic high throw might be prudent if the attacker continues to accost the youth, we've all seen these textbook techniques plastered all over the media since the early 80's.

    But what about advanced combat techniques and the experienced attacker? Early Gyokku Ryu manoeuvres might be a little er..deadly for the street (circa 14th century medieval Japan), your Kyukoshin unleashed might leave a bruised and battered victim for the police to interview and Wing Chun may leave bits of his brain splattered between your fingers. Where does the law, especially Westminster political systems leave the MA'ist who's only defending his personal well being and that of others against an abusive individual determined to assail others at any opportunity? Where does the law leave you standing with hardened criminals in particular and MA techniques/philosophies?

    First rule: philosophies means politics.
    Although many democratic countries compose government and legal policies which ideally reflect their population's social outlooks, different nations may have alternate manners in which is found the ideal of dealing with social discourses. That is, crime. One way to look at it might be to say it's somewhat the role of government to patronize the boss (us). Other political systems simply dominate with totalitarian edicts or dictatorial office. You'd be surprised just how many of the world's rather powerful nations do precisely this, for one the Cold War wasn't at all over nothing and for two Europe was just as chummy with itself in the Middle Ages as it is right now. And for those who think free trade in the far east is a contemporary development guess who developed the number zero in algebra. Arguably, technology rather than people and politics has changed over the millenia.

    Even in this age of Church and State separation, particular outlooks promoted by individual philosophies may not be well regarded by the political reign in which they reside. This is the lesson of Kung Fu at the onset. And is marked by the Tokugawan Shogunate/Meji Restoration in Japan, Capoeira in Brazil. The list goes on.
    In terms of contemporary MA practise it could get you into trouble at the application of your techniques in self defence. In terms of social acceptability it could compromise your independance from the moral-policing efforts of religious fundamentalists, or challenge them directly. It could also become an issue which involves your self-esteem and that can make life tough in a competitive environment.

    Politics are a thought when practising a martial art. What are yours? Others will want to know. What are your MA's? You might. If it claims none, simply compare it to others.

    Is there a philosophy behind your techniques? Wing Chun has a very pragmatic approach to street defence: poke their damn eyes out and front kick 'em in the groin. It works and could wind a career MA'ist in prison when he lays out an attacker dead at his feet, getting a little carried away.
    Togakure's Bujinkan doesn't even bother with the friendly wrapping: get 'em on the ground any way you can and crush their skull with your heel. Kyokushin Karate likes to draw it out a bit: batter their skull to pulp with striking combinations and heavy throws, extra points if you can kill them on their feet. Muay Tai has a compromise for the masochists: break your shins smashing bone and splitting internal organs against their splinters. Capoeirans will dance you to death...literally but are as likely to break their own necks in the process.

    Do Aikido and Tai Chi practitioners go home and finally relieve their frustrations beating their wives? Is there a Ninjutsu, Karate or Kung Fu practitioner anywhere on planet Earth who doesn't have a stash of strictly illegal weapons laying around at home? Is a high level Kendo practitioner the most seriously dangerous human encounterable simply standing with a broom in his hand...and if someone threatened to rape his mother would he kill them right there?

    Do martial arts school techniques mould their practitioners? Could they conceivably mould your outlooks? Are there chasms between the differing martial arts?

    This may very well be the first thing the law sees if occaisoned to regard you.

    Technique applicability is an important involvement. Levels of force throughout the combat engagement is of paramount concern. When is a throw potentially lethal? When is it merely a deflection of the attacker's force?

    A basic softening-blow/takedown is a good starting point.
    This is not Judo, self defence cannot afford to rely upon the discipline of an assailant to make techniques effective and to say an attacker would be somewhat uncooperative in the least would be an understatement. Footwork and positioning alone simply will not do and contemporary self defence techniques will involve a distracting blow or manoeuvre of some kind to facilitate any kind of throw. However much as is involved in the practise of traditional katas, one must be thoroughly aware of each particular manoeuvre they are making in total. So in this sense, Judo practitioners have value.

    As a defender, you are being attacked. A man rushes forth, arms reaching out towards you. Sidestep, softening blow, shoulder grab and takedown. There's an imaginative variety of particulars on this theme, we'll keep it simple and generalized to the mechanics. End result: roughly 1.5 seconds from go to whoa and the attacker is at your feet (probably with a nasty bump on the back of his head and a bruise where your instep removed the support of a leg on the way).
    Let's say you have a witness, the man attacked you and you threw him to the ground. He claims you battered him when nearby security rush over. He is, however superficially, blatantly injured.
    How does this measure up to the Force Continuum, which will be part of your defence in the ensuing cofuffle with police over the incident?

    Since the man physically attacked you, as corroberated by witness the appropriate level of force would be non-lethal subdue of his efforts. You had made no move towards him and his actions warranted your softening manouevre (punch/kick to the ribs/solar plexus: arguably level 5 or "filled hand" equivalent of the Continuum) and takedown (shoulder dump with support sweep: arguably level 4 or "hard open hand" equivalent). You made no finishing manoeuvre, as for the purposes of this scenario none was required.

    Okay, now let's throw it around a bit. He's rough as guts and weighs roughly half as much as you do again. Plus he looks like he bag-trains with cement. He takes one look at you and seems to have decided he hates your guts with the kind of passion that started WWI. You're not sure but he sort of looks Turkish by descent and as he starts moving towards you he seems to be moving in textbook Krav Magha style. And he's easily old enough to have had some sort of military background and the growl of hatred which emanates from his lungs vibrates the very calcium in your bones. You don't even recognize the word he uses at you.

    He rushes and a huge hand goes straight at your throat. Unfortunately the other one is cocked at the ready for your reaction to this and his footwork is spot on, well balanced, diagonal and bringing his full body force directly at you. His barrel torso looks like armour plating. Sidestepping just won't do here, I'm afraid.

    As mentioned there are boundless variations on the softening blow/takedown theme.

    Having waited for the last possible instant you step barely six inches into the attack keeping your eyes firmly on that cocked arm, shortening his prime reach zone enough to lower your head and slam your forehead with both his and your force into his outstretched fingers before they get close enough to begin closing around your throat, watching that cocked other arm in case you have to change tactic mid-stream. The nails dig painfully into your skull and you feel the chunks of scalp flesh torn away at your brow but the manoeuvre has its effect and the loud crack of a finger dislocating, with its immediate, pained response in your attacker shows in his entire movement, which is slightly interrupted.

    But you're already rocking back to your rear leg again, set out diagonally to one side and giving you room to get one hand on his, placing you at the other side of his cocked arm from the extended. You continue in the new direction of travel, similar to his own and stepping with all the strength you can muster, tugging at his wrist, his weight gets shifted to your hips as you grab at his shoulder with your free hand claw-style, digging as painfully as possible to help the body mechanics here twist that extended arm of his into a partial lock. A hold has no hope on him but now he's stretched out and your instep is already raising to put a nice bend into his supporting leg.

    Instead of attempting to "throw" or "lock him up" you simply pull him, dumped to the ground in a desperate tugging, kicking and clawing and with a stroke of luck he lands heavily at your feet. Skeletal mechanics, technique and a bit of chance work it all for you. With about a split second before he reaches up and drags you down beside him to pummel you to death however, you slam a heavy heel into his free arm shoulder blade, on an angle and in a judgement-call finishing blow, designed to partially disable.

    You frantically leap free from his reach, ready to make the next finishing blow a little more lethal if necessary and slam, head first into security.

    A witness corroberates your story...somewhat. They seem kind of afraid to suggest anything against the man and would apparently much rather be liked by him. He looked like he was attacking you, but they don't know. You freaked out and the two of you looked like you were dancing or something. The Turk tripped over your feet or you kicked definitely looked like you kicked him.
    The Turk says he went over to speak with you about an altercation at the door (which you know nothing about) and you attacked him.

    The marks on your forehead display some kind of struggle had happened. The police now wish to know who attacked who. You mention your martial arts experience, they take out those little booklets they like to write charges in. Fortunately you have some legal awareness.

    Once again you had made no motions towards the man nor even knew of him before he accosted you. He attacked you with enough ferocity that you felt your life was at immediate threat. As he grabbed at your throat you headbutted his fingers (arguably level 5 on the Continuum). Since he was still moving towards you, with a fist held high, you responded by deflecting his motion and dumping him on the ground. As you were still in close quaters and had reason to fear for your safety until well clear you also struck him so as to distract from your escape. The guy is stronger than you, probaby more experienced than you and certainly was much angrier than you, so you felt these measures were more than justified and to be honest if you were armed with a firearm you'd have used it.
    The only issue now becomes corroberation, witness interviews, etc., although it is true the attacker could display three, possiby more injuries. With a bit of patience on the part of the police however, it should all come out accurately and without too much drama. It is conceivable the finishing blow may cause you problems, necessary as it was.

    Things are already starting to get frighteningly complicated and oddly, increasingly as the threat level to you increases. One should think sociological safety measures would ideally provide more surety the greater the real threat. One should think conflict becomes simpler the more serious it gets. Nope. So what techniques are safe and what's not?

    Straight punches and kicks are easy. They fall right under level 5 (arguably) of the Force Continuum.
    Combinations are more difficult. Did you combine a "nerve-strike"? Sinuses and vital spots may cause serious injury and may be regarded as level 6 (potentially lethal force).

    Throws are fairly straightforward. What was the environment in which you threw them? What kind of throw did you perform? Basic dumps/takedowns are okay and may remain in level 4 (hard open hand). But combine with a softening blow or land them too hard and you're looking at level 5. If there's chairs and tables around, beer glasses and benches sticking out, split levels and stairs you're talking level 6: only to be used against Aggrivated Assault (ie. attempted murder).

    Joint locks/holds are again situational. Softening blows and "nerve-strikes" up the ante but basically they're at level 4 until you start actually doing damage. Once again watch for environmental dangers to your opponent whilst he is "under your control" and be wary of the damage he (or she) can do to himself resisting. Be aware of the Crimes Act relating to the physical arrest of another person (Section 462 in Victoria), as they will be likely regarded as restrained by you for the time you are attempting the technique, however successful it works out to be. Think of it as martial arts handcuffs, was it lawful to restrain/cuff them? Essentially use locks/holds to facilitate an immediate objective (such as moving the person to a location or positioning, such as on the ground), rather than maintaining them unless you would otherwise handcuff the individual if those items were available to you.

    Body weapons may be useful in steering a person, without actually striking them with force. Helping your arm guide them with your hips might remain at level 3 of the Force Continuum and that's useful where they're not aggressive as such but simply offensive and non-compliant. They may be a much heavier build than you and the extra leverage needed. Generally, police and security officers are of better use here but one may still assert a democratic freedom to enjoy their environments without undue dissention being levelled at them by a persistent stalker.

    Now we get to the fun stuff: potentially lethal combat.

    When can I hurl my keys at somebody's face? When can I fend someone off with my umbrella? If I'm transporting martial arts weapons from training and am attacked by muggers, can I use them in my defence? When is a spanner a weapon?
    As the paragraph title suggests, any kind of improvised or real weapon constitutes potentially lethal force, or level 6, the highest on the Force Continuum. For police and security officers this is the authorization to use their firearm. This also means if poorly adjudicated by you, this is the authorization for them to use their firearm upon you.
    The big difference between a regular person and an LEO using weapons is lawful carriage. Police and LEO's may use batons and cuffs at level 5 of the Force Continuum and then enjoy the latitude of maintaining one level grace for the commission of duty. This means if you attack a cop all out punching and kicking like an Olympic medaller, he can shoot you. If you even look like you're going to pick up a weapon of any type, forget about it. Those +P .38" rounds make a real mess.
    So there's the primary legal issue. Picking up a weapon makes you look criminal in one hit.

    But what if I'm the victim of a car-jacking? You're stopped at the lights and a heavy-set man opens the driver's door and attempts to shove you into the passenger seat. At the floor of which lay a "Club" steering-lock. Given the circumstances I could not envision its use to fend off your attacker being conceived as Aggrivated Assault on the assailant.
    However you're stopped at a pump station filling up when an argument ensues between you and another driver. He rushes into the store to "get his brother and they'll both sort you out." Could you grab the steering-lock then? Obviously not, the level of force presented remains as yet at the Psychological Intimidation stage, or level 1 of the Continuum.
    So when can you pick up that steering-lock? When you can show plainly, you had every reason to believe your life was in immediate and very real threat. When anybody at all would say, "Boy, he's really a gonner now." When a professional body-builder rips the driver's door right off its hinges screaming threats to kill you and lunges forward, then you can try to fend him off but try not to poke him straight in the eye or blatantly kill him with it. When two youths menace towards you wielding knives. When someone tries to run you down in their own car you can throw it through their window.

    Can I improvise a sectional extension bar as a pair of nunchakus? Better to be super careful on things like this. My advice is you need to be able to show once again, very real danger to yourself even with the extension bar already in your hands. If facing off a shotgun wielding maniac at close range, or someone wielding an axe, fair enough. If someone's attacking you with a tyre-iron you might find it a harder argument as to why you decided to play around like you were Bruce Lee if someone were really attacking you in a life threatening manner. An obvious advantage in your favour should suggest you may begin stepping down, rather than matching the level of force.
    So when can I use my extension bar as a weapon? You can't. However if you happened to be holding one and someone attacked you with a chainsaw, you could probably swing it with abandon and remain legally untouched.

    Next, techniques.


    Comments/input anyone? It's a work in progress :D
  7. wcrevdonner

    wcrevdonner Valued Member

    London to Essex. Thats more true that you'd probably like to know Vanir! ;)

    Good mention sinus. Does that mean nose?

    Also, you have a 275lb monster bearing down on you. He sounds like, and looks like he is going to commit assault. You're friends notice and back away from you. He pulls an arm back in a motion that looks like he is going to hit you. you haven't got the time to think about side stepping and taking to the ground with a throw, and nor do you think your timing is good enough to pull of such a move even if you know
    However, you know that you can punch him/palm strike him in the nose straight away and back off, or hit again if necessary. These are the only moves you feel confident enough to defend yourself with. Are these legal? Wouldn't these be level 4? What would happen if you broke his nose? I use a pre-emptive strike in this case where you have witnesses who saw him draw his hand back in a violent manner. (If there is such a thing!)

    (NB this is taken from a situation that I nearly had last year. thankfully I broke eye contact, he lost interest, and tried starting a fight in the chip shop.)

    Also, what would happen if he didn't try to hit me, but head butt me instead. (A common tatic where I come from.)

    EDIT: Sorry, just thought of something that happened on Saturday.

    Im in a petrol garage. One customer gets abusive, threatens to throw items at checkout person. As he walks out his friend walks in, starts to pick up items and chuck them at the checkout guy. Rest of us stare in amazement, one of the other checkout guy goes to restrain him by just holding him. Guy gets angry, starts throwing punches. His friend comes in, says, 'why are you beating on a young boy?' in this real innocent way! Makes everyone stop and think. Other guy breaks free and goes off with his friend. 2 mins later they come back in and start throwing stuff around again and run off. I really wanted to do something, but thought that 1) I might get done for involving myself where not needed. 2) If he was young, was I violating a law of some kind? 3) Would I be escalating the situation by stepping in?
    I don't think i would have done anything anyway, out of pure shock. But it does make me mad, because they were abusing the poor checkout guy, and I didn't think I could do anything about it...
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2004
  8. Albert

    Albert Banned Banned

    Thanks, great reading. Although i dont give 2 craps about self defense law, its great stuff to know, and if i actually had the time or patience to remember or think about some of it in a situation, it could be useful.
  9. Cyrax

    Cyrax Forever Student

    Good article...really makes you wonder...
  10. Vanir

    Vanir lost my sidhe

    Thanks wcrevdonner :)
    Sinuses are "nerve-points" within arteries such as the carteroid which monitor the blood flow to the brain. Too much blood in a sudden rush and the brain could be fatally injured, so they trigger it to shut down. The effect can be simulated by an external strike to the sinus, which will knock someone out on their feet, however this is ill-advised, as with many "nerve-strikes" being a particularly serious assault, due to the reasonable likelihood of causing serious (maiming) injury. These kinds of "nerve-strikes" are dangerous and it's safest to regard them as illegal in this day and age under most circumstances.
    Firstly, the police would want to know specifics. If ended in court, each particular leading up to the initial blows would be carefully examined relative to the general standard. Looking and sounding like intent to commit would have to be plainly observable. The witnesses would definitely help.
    On the presumption of this, your "preemptive strike" would have to be performed so as considered a defensive manoeuvre and must be in reaction to specific movements by your assailant. He must be moving to strike/attack you and thus you move/block in a certain manner as dictated by his actions. It cannot be argued that you simply didn't like the look he gave you and so hit him.

    This is reflected in the Force Continuum. Where subjected to Psychological Intimidation (acting like they may assault you...maybe if you don't play your cards right), which is Level 1 you may only respond with equivalent force as a private citizen. That is you may passively prepare yourself or call local authorities that you are being harassed. But where you are definitely being assaulted (they're about to hit you, plain for all to see), you may respond with equivalent force at Level 5 of the Continuum, which is outright punches and strikes to defend yourself. My advice is however, to be extremely careful about preemptively striking an attacker unless there is obviously little choice to be made about the matter.
    My advice about palm strikes would be carefully done. At full force they tend to stress the neck of their target and could potentially cause very serious injury. Thus it could be argued that one intends to cause very serious or even fatal injury, especially if such things so happened to become the unfortunate result of an altercation. If I might be so bold to suggest, strike soft and follow through hard with those to lessen the shock value on the upper vertibrae for the street. If it so happened you were called upon to use one.
    A strike with any part of the body is a strike. The difficulty with head-butts is they're harder to see coming, thus harder for witnesses to recognize as plainly intended. You really have to let them commit before you act, both so it's obvious what's going on to everybody around and also because if you'll forgive my mentioning pragmatically, it's a more effective tactic for self defence. You fight better that way.

    To my experience, in the scenario you described simple punches/strikes tend to be a compromising form of self defence, not for the least reason that the assailant you described could probably take them rather well and is probably accustomed enough to avoid their effect unconsciously anyway. The total motion of bodies begins to become of paramount importance in self defence, rather than strike scoring. Think of Darth Vader throwing the Emperor off the balcony in the Death Star II.
    Not so hard to picture a heavier assailant taking any number of punches and kicks as he moves you to the edge of a platform whilst a train approaches...
    One of the greatest difficulties involved with being assaulted to any degree is community/witness support. Often it seems the victim is simply left to reside at their new social standing as a loser. Often a simple, "Hey!" from a bystander can be of excellent assistance. You've heard of "Kiaijutsu" (spirit-fighting) in early Japanese Bujinkan forms?
    Several bystanders voicing an intolerance of an assault is even better. But here is where the matter stands in the Force Continuum, to my best discernment: customer gets abusive, he may be instructed to leave (Level 2). Threatens to throw items at attendant, may be physically steered out of the store (no strikes or holds, at Level 3).
    Second customer actually throws items at attendant, this may be defensive where injury is unlikely (level 4, you can use locks/holds), or where the potential for injury is likely such as with canned goods, would be aggressive (level 5 and you can just about go for broke). If the bloke picks up a knife, axe or some other serious weapon for throwing, you could defend yourself or others in any foreseeable manner regardless of the potential of injury to the attacker (level 6).

    Hope it helps :)
  11. wcrevdonner

    wcrevdonner Valued Member

    without meaning to sound egotistical, I punch someone in the nose, however big he is, he is going to feel it.
    Also the shock should put him in a state that makes him think twice about attempting another assault. (I did mean that he pulls an arm back as if to strike you. I remember your definition from the law from Lord, (can't remember his name?!? Terrible really...) saying that if they actually are going to hit you, you can pre-emptively strike. and my friends are there as corroberating witnesses.)
    However, what I don't want to do is give myself up to this person, ie give him a chance to grab me, and ground and pound me.
    Aah, which is another question. If he grabs me, does this mean level 4 or level 5 in the force continuum. You see, for the agressor to go from a grab to a choke takes about half a second. Also, a grab to a pull, to a floor scenario takes about three. (guesstimates, but you know what I mean.) I am not AT ALL well versed in locks, joint manipulations, grappling work per-se, but am fairly well instructed in striking. My natural reaction would never be to choke/restrain, but to strike, simply because thats all I know that would work for me. Therefore I don't have the option to throw/grapple in that situation.

    From what you are saying Vanir, does this mean that you are always at a disadvantage if you strike in the eyes of the law?
  12. Vanir

    Vanir lost my sidhe

    But will he care one way or the other, I should think is the point? Which leads me to another.
    Can trading blow for blow really be considered self defence at all? How does the law view this kind of self defence?
    To my experience, not very well but may understand the failing under circumstances. Most police don't appreciate the kind of antagonistic argument that is rolling the sleeves up and having it out. Most authorities do not, all the way since the school yard. Arguments of whom began the conflict are often lost in the engagement of combat in the first place. Several maxims run along the lines of "taking two to tango."

    At any rate blows and strikes generally constitute the "filled hand" classification of Level 5 on the Continuum, or in other words a pretty serious degree of force. The equivalent of a cop/LEO with the extra reach of his baton. Cops don't like civilians punching it out in any situation less than one so serious they would be justified in drawing their baton themselves in order to keep the peace. Police are authorized to "deputize assistance" from civilians in the assistance of an arrest. But it does not seem logical to them nor anyone else that private citizens would have more authority than police of where striking blows and general physical interferance is concerned.

    But more importantly, how effective a self defence form is trading blows at any rate? According to military, LEO and historical sources, not at all. Striking manoeuvres are considered generally supportive of other manoeuvres, as part of an overall technique and certainly necessary. But only in the sporting rings and behind the lockers are they the sole, if at all consideration of one whom is intent upon directing their environments. Quite simply a more pragmatic approach is prudent.
    Among the more experienced streetfighters of even school age, martial artists are considered too easily the ready victims of a pragmatic improvisation such as uprooting a nearby sapling to whip at your opponent whilst he tries to throw kicks/punches at you in textbook manners. Teenage martial artists may learn early on that a little creativity and a freestyle attitude to self defence can do their dojo technique wonders on the street.
    However older martial artists may refrain from weapons improvisation strictly more for legal than ethical reasons. It is compromising, no matter how smart to the situation at hand.
    Similarly joint manipulations and takedowns typical to advanced or specialized techniques may become the softer form of defending one's self and others although they require as mentioned far above, softening manoeuvres or blows and hard elements to remain effective for the street. More degrees of compromising legalities to consider when one thinks the level of force evenly matched but finds themselves in a criminal act making it work for them.

    If the law assumes that you had unlawfully attacked him, level 4. If it can be physically proven that he attacked you, level 5.
  13. wcrevdonner

    wcrevdonner Valued Member

    So what you are basically saying is that in the law, you can give them a quick slap and then put them in a hold of some kind till the police come, unless they use a greter use of force, to which you administer the equal amount.

    However, my concern is this - whenever you see bouncers restraining someone, there are always TWO of them. How is someone of my height and stature going to be able to control someone physically who is bigger then me using the above procedures. The open hand/softening blow is only going to further aggravate the assailant and make it harder for me to attempt any kind of hold.
    And to try and hold/restrain him in some way means I have tograpple with soemone larger than me - only if I have a DECENT skill level am I going to be able to hold him. (Again, I refer back to the bouncer comment.)
    As you have said though, if he is proven that he attacked me then I can use level five - however, if he grabs me I am already in a dodgy predicament, psychologically and physically, and I will have a tough time already trying to contain him with strikes let alone anything else.

    By the way, thanks for the informative posts - one aspect which you have mentioned which is so important is that we are defending ourselves, not proving our social worth. I think that is the point to ponder whenever using our martial arts to defend ourselves...
  14. Vanir

    Vanir lost my sidhe

    No problem :) thanks for the input.
  15. bcullen

    bcullen They are all perfect.

    How about this scenario:

    You're working security at a supermarket, a man with a history of writing fraudulent checks tries to pass one at your location and the cashier alerts you. When you arrive and identify yourself and your purpose he becomes belligerent, screams a variety of off color comments at you and others present and threatens your lives and storms out of the store, in spite of instructions from security to stay until the police arrive to settle the matter. Yourself and other store staff follow him outside, believing that his threats are not idle. Outside the man is standing next to his waiting taxi wherein a female accomplice sits, he has one hand in the window and is yelling, give me the gun, baby, give me the gun. What would be the appropriate level of force?
  16. NeonxBurst

    NeonxBurst 1st Black

    Get your ass the hell outta there!
    Though that's techniquely not a level of force but he'd be doing a level six, but I aint stickin my ass around there to tell him that!
    Even the best martial artist cant survive having his brains blown outta his head.

  17. Twimyo Jirugi

    Twimyo Jirugi Me, but not

    Well, one of your first concerns would be all the innocents inside the store. Get them to move to the back of the store then wait for the guy to re-enter with the gun. Ambush him with a level 5 attack and try to knock him out quickly or disable him with a pressure point attack, or if you can, get him in a wristlock. There are a vast amount of possibilities, and with the firearm present, it'd be very hard not to panic and overreact.
  18. Bouk Teef

    Bouk Teef Valued Member

    Given the circumstances that would be exactly the wrong thing to do. Get yourself over to him asap and drop him before he gets the gun. It doesn't matter whether the gun actually exists or not. If you feel your life (or others) is in that amount of danger and you believe the person to be armed then you can use resonable force to protect yourself. Argue in a court about circumstances surrounding the citizens arrest (that is effectively what your doing by restaining him) and not from a hospital bed. What you are suggesting is more likely to get yourself and others killed. Sorry, but thats the way I see it.
    Nobody really knows what they would do in these circumstances. More likely survival instinct will take over and you make a bolt for it to safety where you can call the relevant authorities. Inside every person there is the want to be a 'hero' (no matter how small). The reality is 99/100 you will put yourself first (and your loved ones) and do what you can to survive a given situation.
  19. Ling Kuo

    Ling Kuo New Member

    Fantastic article Vanir! I have been wondering what self defence moves were acceptable since I started! So if a big ugly bruiser comes up to me and charges a block and punch should wind him so that I can escape; if a more aggressive attacker came across me (like that Turk guy) a headbutt to his outstretched fingers to show that he was dangerous and that me trip kicking him and heeling him on the shoulder blade ws necessary. If I got attacked by a chain saw mainiac a window opener pole or (another large stick) to the head would be acceptable :D
  20. Vanir

    Vanir lost my sidhe

    Had my internet down for a bit.

    When you are identifying yourself, you are in fact arresting that man's actions. You are a licensed security officer, employed at the location and your purpose is to arrest the man under Section 458 of the Crimes Act, for the Indictable Offence of Theft By Deception (fraud). You are already authorized under Section 462a of the Crimes Act to arrest the man with reasonable and proportionate force (advised to be as under the guidence of the Force Continuum of industry standard), by the time you approach. You are also authorized to hold the man under Section 462 of the Crimes Act regardless if he abandons his attempt at committing this offense. You may use reasonable and proportionate force to hold him until such time as he is handed over to police, as an Indictable (rather than Summary) Offence is involved.

    Therefore any response by the man other than acquiescance to the arrest is a resistance of a lawful arrest, itself another Indictable Offence (it is likely these will begin accumilating rather promptly).
    His Verbal Non-compliance is Level 2.
    His belligerance is Level 3 (passive resistance).
    If he storms out of the store as you are touching his arm, advising his arrest or otherwise steering him back into the office, this is level 4 (defensive resistance).

    As someone else mentioned, if proceedings were to get to this point, as a working security officer you may use level 5: batons and cuffs. However using such force may not be genuinely realistic for the situation. If he was being completely defensive, or was obviously intimidated by you and the situation (ie. scared), it would seem a little over the top in the eyes of the general public to go batting his knees out. Even if it may very well be legally sound, strictly speaking.
    Nevertheless you described a far more aggressive subject, providing Threats to Kill (more Indictable Offences...this guy's going away for a while). And he attempts to make these threats quite immediate and believable.
    Presumably other staff are already on the phone to local police, otherwise you should have a two-way or mobile in one hand making the call. Considering the seriousness of the original offence, they can have been called right from the start. If you have a security control centre...even better, it's quicker for you and leaves you free to concentrate on the situation as they call for you.

    Since it is legally sound anyway, and I seriously don't think onlookers would consider it abuse of power to put him on the ground right at the door, using (extendable, licensed) baton if necessary and also if necessary, cuff the man (especially if he does have friends outside). But one has to be there to adjudicate properly, what seems serious to some may not necessarily be so to others.
    This would sort the successful from short term security officers.

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