Join Date: Oct 2002
I cannot speak for jurisdictions outside the United States. Here, only that amount of force can be used by a defender in a confrontation which is equal or proportional to the amount of force given by the attacker, UNLESS one is a law enforcement officer acting as such and identified to the attacker as a law enforcement officer. In that case, said LE can use necessary and reasonable force at a level which in practice turns out to be one stage (at least) above that shown by attacker.
Absent such LE credentials, for someone trained to high levels of lethality in any martial art to employ deadly force, the attacker must have threatened to use or in fact used such a level of force as would convince "the reasonable person - read 'jury'- that the defender was in immediate danger of grave bodily harm or death, that the defender had done nothing to provoke the attack, had sought an avenue of retreat if (1) required by the jurisdiction in which the altercation took place, and (2) if so, such retreat could have been accomplished in complete safety.
the reasonable person standard will, in an effort to assess the proportionality of the use of force by the defender, look at such factors as the attacker's ability as to whether or not it is disproportionate to that of the defender. E.g., was the attacker stronger, taller, younger, different in gender, i.e., male attacker v. female defender,were there more than one, and did the attacker(s) have weapon(s) commonly regarded as capable of inflicting grave bodily harm or death.
Second, the trier of fact (reasonable person) will evaluate the attacker's opportunity to deliver an attack, i.e., what is the distance between the attacker and the defendant; e.g., an attacker with a knife at a distance of 21 to 30 feet from a defender can in fact launch a fatal knife blow to the defender, unless the route to the defender is in some way amplified or blocked, even if the defender has a distance effective weapon - read 'firearm'- and is skilled in its use. Within this range, w/o a firearm, the defender is at a lethal disadavantage.
third: jeopardy - had the attacker manifested a behavioral intent to employ lethal force against defender, i.e., not only words, but associated physical activity, e.g., lunging forward, crouching and leaping, with such behavioral indicators occurring concurrently with the verbal attack or in close temporal proximity thereto.
I could go on and on here, but must add one more critical variable a jury would consider. Let's assume that you as AiKiDo practitioner, irrespective of ranking, but with a demonstrable record of systematic dojo practice, were required by force of some confrontational circumstance to employ moves, throws, counters, etc., consistent with your AiKiDo training, the prosecutor would use that information to hold you to a higher standard as to your responsibility for DISENGAGING from any such use of force on your part. This prosecutorial move would gain added crediblity because the "literature" of AiKiDo speaks so definitively of "not harming one's attacker."
While what I have just said is NOT LEGAL advice, because I'm not a lawyer, I am a multiply certified use of force instructor.
I would caution those of you who read this in USA to "get the heck out of dodge at the first sign of difficulty." For those of you in other countries where the rule of law disparages the use of force in the defense of self, I would encourage you not to be in confrontational circumstances to begin with.
I hope this is helpful and forgive me in advance if anything in my post sounds arrogant or offensive - I did not intend it to be so.