American Law And The Trained Fighter

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Author: Carl Brown
Pub: 1983 by Ohara Publications
Pages: 96
Ranking:Three Star Rating
Out of Print


Although this book cannot be completely accurate, time goes by, and new laws are put in place, it does give a fairly nice overview of possible legal problems with martial art use. This is the sort of information that is hard to come by, at least, prior to your visit with your attorney... This sort of legal advice is just what you need to stay out of prison...



  The Martial Arts ....................... 9

  Assault and Battery ................... 17

  Self-Defense and the Trained Fighter .. 37

  The Effect of Consent ................. 61

  Recommendations and
  Summary of Advice ..................... 79
  Appendix .............................. 86



Former Jefferson County Commissioner Carl Brown first encountered martial arts while growing up in Louisville's West End. He studied under the late Richard Falls, and earned a black belt in judo. The discipline of martial arts has gained a permanent place in Brown's life. He has carried the judoka's outlook with him to become one of Kentucky's most outstanding citizens. Brown graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville in the top 15 percent of his class, and moved on to a career in law and public service. He has drafted legislation for Kentucky and Tennessee as a member of the Legislative Reference Bureau, worked on the Energy and Environment Task Force, and is a member of the National Association of County Officials. Brown taught at the University of Louisville for three years and also instructed judo classes at the local YMCA. He has authored other books on the relationship of martial arts to the law, and has had an article on the same subject appear in KARATE ILLUSTRATED magazine.
In addition to being politically active, Brown is involved in many social groups. He is the vice-president of the YMCA of Kentucky, serves on the board of directors of the Boy's Clubs of Louisville, and is on the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Metropolitan Louisville United Way. Brown is also the Southeastern United States Representative of the National Society of Youth Governors, and was voted the "Outstanding Young Kentuckian" by the Kentucky Jaycees.



In the ongoing debate of martial arts circles, one argues about the purpose of one's training, and most people admittedly join self-defense schools quite simply to learn how to defend themselves without using weapons. Though thousands of martial artists are interested in the traditions of improving character, physical fitness, and mental well-being, most Americans originally encounter their local dojo (gym) as a way to feel more confident about their ability to protect themselves.

This leads us to some questions: Do you have an automatic right to defend yourself in any way you feel necessary? Are you immune to assault and battery charges or civil lawsuits brought against you by someone you injured while defending yourself? If threatened with harm, are you justified in taking any action you deem necessary to protect yourself? How about your sweetheart? Your automobile?

All who train in the martial arts today should be aware of some specific court rulings that might bear on their actions. You don't have as many simple, clear-cut rights as you think. Brandishing your martial arts skills may lead to arrest, or a costly and complicated lawsuit. This is why attorney and judo black belt Carl Brown wrote this book. There are legal ramifications in defending yourself, be it in your home, a neighborhood bar, a parking lot or elsewhere. Different legal constraints may apply to your actions. And remember, the courts always assume you are aware of the legal limits of your actions. The old legal maxim, "Ignorance of the law is no defense," applies here, as well.

American law varies from state to state, and some laws have changed only slightly in a century. Others have changed from year to year, as new circumstances arise. While no book can claim to cover all the issues relating to physical action when defending yourself, American Law and the Trained Fighter can help you sort the major issues out.

Carl Brown examines the record of American law concerning assault and battery, explains what legally defines excessive force, what reasonable presumptions apply to self-defense, and what constitutes an "anticipatory attack." (Attacking when you believe you will be attacked if you don't act.) Brown also details special areas for the "trained fighter." He tells why a trained fighter may be held accountable because a special standard governing his actions is applied, and he explains the yardstick used in that standard. A court may consider a black belt to be an "expert" in self-defense, so the rules of how well he judged the force of his reaction are stiffer.

Most courts expect an individual to retreat before taking any violent physical action. If you're capable of escaping from an attacker, you should do so before breaching the peace. There's one important exception, and that's when you've been confronted by an intruder in your home. In this case, you have the right not to retreat.

The author provides many examples of court cases which illuminate legal trends, and tell you how you can expect to be treated if you overstep your legal boundries. It's important that you know what could happen if you do defend yourself violently.

While Carl Brown does give some hypothetical examples, and offers advice based upon legal precedents and his own professional experience, this book can't be considered a cure-all. It will not protect you from a lawsuit or criminal charges, and it does not intend to substitute for good legal counsel. It can guide you through the complicated maze of law as it regards self-defense.

If you ever have to defend yourself with force, and doing so lands you in a court battle, you should get an attorney. There's no substitute for a competent lawyer, skilled in the law, experienced in the courtroom. That's an entirely different skill than what's used on the street.



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