A Guide to Civil and Criminal Liability for Martial Artists in Physical Altercations

Written by injuryclaimcoach.com

It is imperative that there is a guide to civil and criminal liability for martial artists who are forced to use their martial arts in physical altercations.

Martial arts refers to combat training techniques applied in a systematic way. These training techniques are designed to confront and defeat imminent threats of bodily harm or death. Widely-known forms of martial arts include Aikido, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Judo, Karate, Krav Maga, Kung Fu, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Muay Thai, Taekwondo, and Tang Soo Do. A person who practices martial arts is known as a martial artist.

Are You a Deadly Weapon?
While it’s entertaining to watch Steven Seagal play a martial artist who must register his hands as deadly weapons, there is no state law that requires this. There is however, precedent for courts to consider parts of the human body to be deadly weapons under certain circumstances. You also do not need to inform an adversary of your martial arts credentials.

It’s only in the U.S. territory of Guam that “any person who is an expert in the art of karate or judo, or any similar physical art in which the hands and feet are used as deadly weapons, is required to register with the Department of Revenue and Taxation.”

Self-Defense: Your Actions, Your Liability
To limit your civil and criminal liability, consider the consequences of using your martial arts skills outside the confines of your dojo.

In self-defense, the purpose of martial arts is to protect oneself or another person from an imminent threat of bodily injury or death. The martial artist must be fully aware of the consequences of intentionally or unintentionally misusing their skills. A misuse of skills can result in criminal prosecution, a civil judgment, or both.

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