Richard Player wrote:
would this be acceptable i wonder in court?
I can only tell you about the Swedish law on self defense, but I imagine that it is not that very different from other countries.
There is no law for every specific situation, of course, so it has to be settled by a court. The directive on self defense in Swedish law is that the violence used should not be "obviously indefendable" (I am not sure that I find the best English words for it, but you get the picture).
So, if someone pokes you in the chest, you can't respond with an elbow to his chin. On the other hand, if five persons attack you, I bet that a Swedish court would allow you any unarmed defense.
If someone attacks you with a knife (to stick to the thing most frequently discussed in this thread), you can also do pretty much what you like.
A Swedish court will not consider your Martial arts experience, since that is almost impossible to do to any certainty, and seldom relevant. They will try to consider how scared you were, at the attack - when scared you are entitled to some extra violence, so to speak, simply because it is hard to balance it.
The one who claims not to have been scared at all, but gives the court the impression of having been on top of the situation - he or she will also be expected to have used a balanced and appropriate level of violence.
Police in Sweden are bound by a much more restrictive law, stating that their violence must be "obviously defendable". They are never allowed any excessive force. I don't envy them...