When should you throw the first punch?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Hazmatac, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. Hazmatac

    Hazmatac Valued Member

    What are your thoughts?
  2. Hapuka

    Hapuka Te Aho

    Depends, what situation are we talking about here?
  3. Hazmatac

    Hazmatac Valued Member

    Self defense. It is not about a particular situation, but what would have to occur in any situation for it to be proper ("proper") for a preemptive attack?
  4. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    How about if your opponent punches you the

    - 1st time, you move back.
    - 2nd time, you move back again.
    - 3rd time, you still move back.

    You then jump in, punch him, and eat him alive. After you have given your opponent 3 chances, if he is still stupid enough and not realize it, that will be his problem and not yours.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  5. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I advise against moving back in a face off. It allows the aggressor to step into your space and also has the added effect of making you look weak, making him/her grow in confidence.
  6. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Two conditions must be satisfied to make a preemptive attack.

    A : When you genuinely believe that you or another person are about to be physically attacked, and that you have no way of avoiding, talking your way out off, controlling, or running away from, the situation.


    B: When you believe that a preemptive attack will improve the outcome of the situation. (for yourself or for the person that you are defending) e.g it may give you a better chance to run away or a better chance of ending the fight with fewer physical injuries.

    NOTE: this is not based on the laws of self-defense. This does not constitute legal advice. If you want legal advise pay a professional lawyer for it.

    This subject has been discussed at length on other similarly named threads. Do a search.
  7. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    It does also depend on the law in your country/state.
  8. Hazmatac

    Hazmatac Valued Member

    Your approach assumes that your opponent can't fight, and/or your skills are sure to be superior to your opponent which I don't think is usually the case. I don't know how good my opponent is at fighting, and/or he just may be really big, and this gives them 3 chances to mess me up. Therefore, I am against this strategy, at least as a general protocol.

    Yeah, I don't always post on forums, sometimes I forget to do that. Good reminder.

    After giving this more thought... a more expedient question might be, "what are the tells that a person is definitely going to attack?"
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  9. GenghisK

    GenghisK Jiu Jitsu Kempoka

    I use the concept of the "fence" invented by Geoff Thomson. Basically if I was being confronted with threat of significant violence, then I'd try to define some physical (or if no choice, imaginary) barrier which, if crossed, I would use as my trigger. I'd only use it in fairly extreme circumstances, but if that fence is crossed, I would use it to trigger significant violence, normally starting with strikes, as the assumption is that I'd be trying to protect my life.

    But very rarely - in most circumstances I'd be doing my best to de-escalate and/or control the situation. Or, for example, if somebody was simply being an idiot and there are witnesses, I'd be very careful not to make the initial attack.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2014
  10. gapjumper

    gapjumper Intentionally left blank

    First. :)
  11. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Right before the second one. *rimshot*

    I don't think there's a simple answer to this one. Whatever happens, there are going to be a lot of questions after the fact. And, if you want to stay on the right side of the law (either arrest or civil suit), you're going to need to be able to legitimate your actions afterward.

    That's where I imagine it gets really complicated. You don't want to haul off and slug someone because "you had a feeling." Because your instincts aren't observable by other people. So when reports are collected, etc., they'll read that witnesses saw you punch the other guy. That part will be obvious. The subtle cues that he gave to prompt you to punch him may not be.

    At the same time, it's the stuff of movies to let him swing at you a few times, give him ample warnings about what a badass you are, and then finally counter.

    I think that, if it reaches the point that you're punching anybody, you should probably be bracing for lots of complications and case building afterward.
  12. Grass hopper

    Grass hopper Valued Member

    I wouldn't hesitate to make the first strike if I were certain I was going to be attacked, but otherwise I would wait.
  13. Dan93

    Dan93 Valued Member

    I agree with the fence when facing an aggressive situation. I would throw the first punch if I felt I could not verbally defuse the situation or remove myself and anyone I am with i.e family but I would be loudly asking the guy to move on for the benefit of any witnesses to try and ensure I had proof it was in self defence if it later went to court. I have been on the wrong side of the dock after defending myself and would not wish that on anyone, A fight lasts 10-20 seconds to a couple of minutes, a fight in court lasts months...
  14. Hannibal

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

  15. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    In the UK the rules are as follows:

    Pre-emptive strikes
    There is no rule in law to say that a person must wastruck first before it to be struck first before they may defend themselves, (see R v Deana, 2 Cr App R 75).

    Failure to retreat when attacked and when it is possible and safe to do so, is not conclusive evidence that a person was not acting in self defence. It is simply a factor to be taken into account rather than as giving rise to a duty to retreat when deciding whether the degree of force was reasonable in the circumstances (section 76(6) Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008). It is not necessary that the defendant demonstrates by walking away that he does not want to engage in physical violence: (R v Bird 81 Cr App R 110).

    Use of Force against Those Committing Crime
    Use of Force Prosecutors should exercise particular care when assessing the reasonableness of the force used in those cases in which the alleged victim was, or believed by the accused to have been, at the material time, engaged in committing a crime. A witness to violent crime with a continuing threat of violence may well be justified in using extreme force to remove a threat of further violence.

    In assessing whether it was necessary to use force, prosecutors should bear in mind the period of time in which the person had to decide whether to act against another who he/she thought to be committing an offence.

    The circumstances of each case will need to be considered very carefully.
    against Those Committing Crime

    Reasonable Force

    A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances for the purposes of:
    self-defence; or
    defence of another; or
    defence of property; or
    prevention of crime; or
    lawful arrest.

    In assessing the reasonableness of the force used, prosecutors should ask two questions:
    was the use of force necessary in the circumstances, i.e. Was there a need for any force at all? and
    was the force used reasonable in the circumstances?

    The courts have indicated that both questions are to answered on the basis of the facts as the accused honestly believed them to be (R v Williams (G) 78 Cr App R 276), (R. v Oatbridge, 94 Cr App R 367).

    To that extent it is a subjective test. There is, however, an objective element to the test. The jury must then go on to ask themselves whether, on the basis of the facts as the accused believed them to be, a reasonable person would regard the force used as reasonable or excessive.

    It is important to bear in mind when assessing whether the force used was reasonable the words of Lord Morris in (Palmer v R 1971 AC 814);

    "If there has been an attack so that self defence is reasonably necessary, it will be recognised that a person defending himself cannot weigh to a nicety the exact measure of his defensive action. If the jury thought that that in a moment of unexpected anguish a person attacked had only done what he honestly and instinctively thought necessary, that would be the most potent evidence that only reasonable defensive action had been taken ..."

    The fact that an act was considered necessary does not mean that the resulting action was reasonable: (R v Clegg 1995 1 AC 482 HL). Where it is alleged that a person acted to defend himself/herself from violence, the extent to which the action taken was necessary will, of course, be integral to the reasonableness of the force used.
  16. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    This may also help, as there is an explanation as to what reasonable force is (in the UK).
    This particular explanation does focus more on dealing with an intruder.

    Does the law protect me? What is 'reasonable force'?

    Anyone can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime. You are not expected to make fine judgements over the level of force you use in the heat of the moment. So long as you only do what you honestly and instinctively believe is necessary in the heat of the moment, that would be the strongest evidence of you acting lawfully and in self-defence. This is still the case if you use something to hand as a weapon.

    As a general rule, the more extreme the circumstances and the fear felt, the more force you can lawfully use in self-defence.

    What amounts to disproportionate force? I’ve heard I can use that.

    The force you use must always be reasonable in the circumstances as you believe them to be. Where you are defending yourself or others from intruders in your home, it might still be reasonable in the circumstances for you to use a degree of force that is subsequently considered to be disproportionate, perhaps if you are acting in extreme circumstances in the heat of the moment and don’t have a chance to think about exactly how much force would be necessary to repel the intruder: it might seem reasonable to you at the time but, with hindsight, your actions may seem disproportionate. The law will give you the benefit of the doubt in these circumstances.

    This only applies if you were acting in self-defence or to protect others in your home and the force you used was disproportionate – disproportionate force to protect property is still unlawful.

    I’ve heard that I can’t use grossly disproportionate force. What does that mean?

    If your action was ‘over the top’ or a calculated action of revenge or retribution, for example, this might amount to grossly disproportionate force for which the law does not protect you. If, for example, you had knocked an intruder unconscious and then went on to kick and punch them repeatedly, such an action would be more likely to be considered grossly disproportionate.

    Do I have to wait to be attacked?

    No, not if you are in your own home and in fear for yourself or others. In those circumstances the law does not require you to wait to be attacked before using defensive force yourself.

    What if the intruder dies?
    If you have acted in reasonable self-defence, as described above, and the intruder dies you will still have acted lawfully. Indeed, there are several such cases where the householder has not been prosecuted. However, if, for example:
    having knocked someone unconscious, you then decided to further hurt or kill them to punish them; or
    you knew of an intended intruder and set a trap to hurt or to kill them rather than involve the police,

    you would be acting with very excessive and gratuitous force and could be prosecuted.

    What if I chase them as they run off?

    This situation is different as you are no longer acting in self-defence and so the same degree of force may not be reasonable. However, you are still allowed to use reasonable force to recover your property and make a citizen's arrest. You should consider your own safety and, for example, whether the police have been called. A rugby tackle or a single blow would probably be reasonable. Acting out of malice and revenge with the intent of inflicting punishment through injury or death would not.

    Will you believe the intruder rather than me?

    The police weigh all the facts when investigating an incident. This includes the fact that the intruder caused the situation to arise in the first place. We hope that everyone understands that the police have a duty to investigate incidents involving a death or injury. Things are not always as they seem. On occasions people pretend a burglary has taken place to cover up other crimes such as a fight between drug dealers.
  17. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

  18. Hazmatac

    Hazmatac Valued Member

    So, lets see... thank you all for your posts so far. Especially Simon. While the legal aspect can be important, what I was more so looking for was when should one strike first if you know that something is coming. In other words, mainly how to know that an attack is coming.

    Of course, this is generally if there can not be a peaceful way to resolve the issue. I suppose what I am really after is what are the tells that this guy WILL NOT back down, as well as any cues that he is about to attack (maybe even discounting pushing you, like, throwing a "serious" attack). From your own personal experience or study, is there any cues as to when someone is about to do seriously attack you?
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  19. Hannibal

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

    Let's start easier; How can you tell if a dog is about to bite?
  20. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    When his ears go back? Therefore a serious attacker will have their ears going back :p

    What I think Hannibal is trying to say, someone getting hostile, will do so emotionally, perhaps verbally or show some sign that you will be under attack. Hardly a time when a attacker will come up to you without provocation...CAUTION, this could and does happen without warning.

    Re-reading Simon's posts, sums it up for me.

    Simon, may I copy /print those and hand to some of my students?
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014

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