Use of force Continuum

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Bujin_Budoka, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. Bujin_Budoka

    Bujin_Budoka Valued Member

    I haven't seen a thread on this topic yet and would like to open discussion on responsible(wise) use of force in self defense. In your experience and country of residence, what would be permissible in a court of law? I was thinking of a quote: "Where self defense ends murder begins." With that in mind there are many martial arts techniques that would be frowned upon if used in self defense. So the second question would be at what point to come to that line between self defense and murder.
    I'll give an example. My experience in America with the use of force is using only the force needed to stop the threat. If it results in lethal force you must be able to articulate fear for your life. Keep in mind the courts are more lenient on those untrained than someone who is trained. For instance I believe it is easier to explain to a judge why you shot someone in the chest rather than trying to explain why decapitation with samurai sword technique was justified, or even a neck break for that matter to keep it simple. What are your thoughts and rules where you live?
  2. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Surely this just needs people to quote the relevant legislation from their area? That's "what would be permissible in a court of law?"

  3. Bujin_Budoka

    Bujin_Budoka Valued Member

    Quoting legislature doesn't capture the non-lawyer language very well. It is also the interpretation of what is understood that matters more. Even lawyers fight as to interpretation of not just legislature but also context and ability to articulate whether or not that line has been crossed or stopped at justified within context of said legislature. I find it more useful to talk about our ideas before needing a lawyer to argue on our behalf. Knowledge is half the battle. Plus it is interesting to see the difference from a cultural standpoint of what is/is not acceptable.
  4. hatsie

    hatsie Active Member Supporter

    To me, I just apply common sense irrespective of what any law says.

    ifsomeone is causing you, family or stretch it to innocent member of public depending on vibe, I'd take immediate and appropriate action to drop them as quick as possible and threat is neutralized. ( not trying to get up/ continue). So basically no ramming there head repeatedly into brick walls or corners of tables and no stomping of their head or jumping on them on the ground.
    You'll likely get a fifteen paragraph response quoting this and that law from some here, but from me when I'm bricking it, if I can do 'just enough' I'd be happy and worry about the rest when were all safe.
  5. narcsarge

    narcsarge Masticated Whey

    As a trained L.E.O. I believe my continuum of force would be quite different from John Q. Public (if there even is such a thing for the public). When I trained Kung Fu our continuum was;
    1. Avoidance
    2. Verbal disengagement
    3. Block before
    4. Strike, strike before
    5. Maim, maim before
    6. Kill. Only kill when there is no other option for all life is precious and cannot be replaced.

    My personal view is to render the offender unable to continue his illegal action. What that would look like would depend on so many factors it would be pointless to mention them here.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  6. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    Here in the UK it's about what would be considered "reasonable" given the circumstances. As such, there's a lot of leeway depending on the exact circumstances. Using potentially lethal force against someone attacking you with a knife is likely to be fine, but if you manage to stop the attack, down the attacker and take the knife, there's no way that you can subsequently use the same level of force due to the significantly reduced threat level.

    Bring in multiple attackers and/or reduced situational awareness due to shock and you have a very wide grey area of legal questions.

    Guidance I've been given in the past states that you can generally consider that it is reasonable to use slightly more force than an attacker, but again this is unquantifiable and very difficult to account for the danger of a situation as opposed to the potential harm caused by a specific attack.

    At the end of the day, it's about using the minimum force you deem necessary to protect yourself or others, and it's up to the defender to determine what that minimum force is and, if necessary, persuade others of that necessity in court.
  7. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Isn't "Use of force continuum" USMC terminology?
  8. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    Pretty much this. In UK, it's what is deemed as necessary and reasonable (at the time).
    So someone coming at you (dependant on size comparison/threat level etc) and you react with what you can. That can be seen as SD, however if you keep beating on the person after the KO, that can be deemed as assault.

    However the above is left kind of vague because every situation is different and if needed, to be argued in Court.
    There is no A = B, C= D kind of reaction/result.

    In my own opinion, unless I'm fighting someone who is significantly smaller than me ( has happened ) I would strike back as hard as I can.
    As I don't know how hard they can hit, how they can take a hit. And I'm aiming to stop the fight ASAP.
    I'm not going to go 3x3min rounds with the guy.

    Also in Court, I can say "I only hit him once". Looks and sounds better than "I kept beating him till he stopped"
  9. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    This is because you are looking in the wrong part of the forum. If you go to the Self Defence forum (where such a discussion belongs) then you'll find this subject has been covered thoroughly.
  10. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Here's my use of force continuum....

    1: Disapproving look
    2: Tut and shake head
    3: Mutter "deary me...such uncouth behaviour" under my breath
    4: Remonstrate verbally with the member of the lower classes that is offending me. "Look here young man...that sort of thing is just not on" for example.
    5: Slap them around the face with my finest Italian calfskin gloves and threaten them with deportation to the colonies.
    6: If that doesn't work (it usually does) then I just have my Butler take them into an alley to beat them up and then call a constable to take them away.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  11. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Mine is

    1) Permanent scowl
    2) Annihilate
    3) Hide body
    5) Profit
  12. narcsarge

    narcsarge Masticated Whey

    So that's how the upper class lives! Nice! :p
  13. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    It also depends on who you are. If you're a respectable law abiding member of society, you are less likely to be prosecuted for defending yourself than if you have a long history of violent behaviour.

    Similarly, if the guy you smash is a known thug with a history of violent crime, you are going to get away with a lot more than if it was an elderly vicar.
  14. Bujin_Budoka

    Bujin_Budoka Valued Member

    Thank you for the information.

    I do believe that you are correct! Good eye!

    This is more to the point of what I was looking for. Good info, simple and to the point. I appreciate the acknowledgement of the difference between LEO and general public. Many LEO's are taught a use of force action/reaction but many in the general public do not receive such training yet if a self defense case goes to court they look at your training and expect more from you. Has everyone here received something like this during your MA training or is it generally not covered in class? If it's not covered do you think that it should be part of the MA curriculum?
  15. Indie12

    Indie12 Valued Member

    Gotta think of the Use of Force continuum as a ladder. The higher you step, the higher the force is gonna be.

    Actually, on your point of the "Courts are more lenient on those untrained than someone who is trained". This is absolutely not true. If anyone kills someone during a self-defense situation (trained or not) the courts are gonna look at that the same, which is usually manslaughter.

    As far as the laws go, generally there basically the same for all 50 states concerning self defense. Which is to say "if you are attacked, you have the right to defend yourself" With that said the wording of each law varies so you have to be extremely careful on how you read it and understand it (consult an attorney).

    When I was involved with Law Enforcement we had an old saying, "there is no black or white, gray or red, there's only yellow" meaning everyone tends to try to interpret the law differently but the law is only written in one way. The wording of each law is what the courts go by.

    For anyone whose not generally familiar with what a use of force might look like in the General United States, here's an example of the levels. (Wording might be different in other areas).

    6. Deadly Force.
    5. Impact Tactics. (Strikes, Baton, Taser, Etc..)
    4. Pain Compliance. (Gooseneck, Hair grab)
    3. Control. (Escort, come-alongs)
    2. Verbal. (Verbal de-escalation, communication)
    1. Identification. (Physically being there)
  16. Indie12

    Indie12 Valued Member

    Yes, the USMC uses it as well as all Law Enforcement members.

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