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The Law and Self Defense

How much is too much? When does self defense become active aggression in the view of the courts? How much "force" is allowed when trying to protect yourself and your loved ones?

These are all good questions and it is important to at least have a basic understanding of the answers and how they pertain to self defense.

Let me start off by saying that I am not an Attorney. I am not offering legal advice in this article. I am merely expressing my opinion as a long time self defense instructor.

There is an old saying in the martial arts that goes like this: "I would rather be judged by twelve than carried by six". This may be true, but with today's liberal courts you ought to be careful about at what point you stop being a defender and start being considered an attacker yourself!

For the most part it is probably okay to counter attack to a point where the "threat" is diminished or no longer there. It is probably not okay to continue 'to be sure they don't get back up' as is taught by most instructors.

The law allows each of us to defend ourselves. Most states allow you to use "equal force" in that self defense. I take that to mean that if someone comes at you with a knife that your response to that threat may be stronger than if the attacker was unarmed.

The "threat" of an eleven year old attacker would probably be considered less then a six foot-two adult male. If you are female, chances are you would be allowed to use more force than if you are a male.

If you are trained (especially if you are a black belt) the amount of force you are allowed by law may be less (and probably would be less) than if you were un-trained.

Good verbal skills can save you. Not only may they prevent the thing from getting physical in the first place, but if it does (and there are witnesses), your loud verbal defenses may protect you in a court of law. This is especially true if part of theat verbal defense includes statements like, "I don't want to fight with you." I don't want any trouble". "Back off an leave me alone," etc.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice as the author is not a lawyer. It is only his lay opinion.

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