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Self-defense and the Law
April 16, 2013

Self Defense and the Law

Many people ask me, "Can I get in trouble for using the martial arts techniques I learn?"

The answer is, "NO, IF you truly acted in self-defense."

Let me make this as clear as possible...

It makes no difference whether you have any martial arts training, or not, if you injure or kill someone, no matter what the circumstances, you WILL be arrested and charged with a crime.

However, you may use any means necessary to defend yourself, if it's really justifiable self-defense.

"What Exactly Does the Term 'Self-defense' Mean?"

In the United States legal system, although there are slight differences from state to state, the basic concept is the same…

The statutes regarding self-defense allows a person charged with injury to another to excuse or justify his actions as reasonable force used in their own defense, or the defense of others.

The use of force is justified when a person reasonably believes that it is necessary for the defense of oneself or another against the immediate use of unlawful force. A man may repel unlawful force by force in defense of his person, property or habitation, against anyone who manifests, intends, attempts, or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a forcible felony, such as murder, rape, robbery, arson, burglary and the like.

However, a person must use no more force than appears reasonably necessary in the circumstances. That is, the level of response must not exceed the threat. In other words, when the perpetrator says, "I give up!", you have to stop hitting him. Immediately!

"What Are My Responsibilities Regarding the Use of My Martial Art Skills?"

Use force only as a last resort. You are always better off by doing everything possible to avoid a physical confrontation.

In some states, the person about to take defensive steps has a duty to warn, if it would seem to do any good. No, there is no law that even remotely implies you must tell your assailant, "I'm warning you! I know Jujitsu!" However, if you have a gun, it may be a good idea to let the intruder know it.

The law applies to everyone equally, whether you have any martial arts training, or not. I am not aware of any law regarding self-defense that includes the clause, "unless a person is trained in martial arts."

There will always be consequences for any action you take. That goes for the trained martial artist, as well as someone with no training whatsoever. Clearly, the courts don’t care what "techniques" you use, as long as you can prove you acted in self-defense.


The best martial arts schools, in addition to teaching top-notch self-defense tactics, also teach strategies aimed at avoiding or defusing physical confrontations.

With proper training, you will not need to worry about the ultimate consequences of your actions. That is because your actions will always be appropriate to the situation, and in accordance with self-defense law! Correct action should be instilled into your training from day one. If you can control your actions, and control your emotions, you can control any situation!

Next week I will explain another misconception regarding self-defense. But, if you want to get all the details now, for the full report visit

Mark Jordan

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