The Law and Martial
As a martial artist,
you have a legal responsibility when using martial arts for self defense.
Wrongful use of your martial arts knowledge can create civil and criminal
liability problems for you. In this article, the definitions are those
found in the Kentucky Penal Code. Similar definitions and laws will
be found in the state or country that you reside. For specific details
pertaining the the laws in your area, contact your local municipality.
The term Deadly Weapon includes only those seven items listed in the Penal
Code (KRS 500.080(4)):
Any weapon from
which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious
injury, may discharged; or
Any knife other
than an ordinary pocket knife or hunting knife; or
Any billy, nightstick,
or club; or
Any nunckaku karate
Any shuriken or
death star; or
knuckles made from metal, plastic or other similar hard material.
A Dangerous Instrument is any instrument, including parts of the human body,
when a serious physical injury is a direct result of that part of the
human body, article, or substance which, under the circumstances in
which it is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used, is
readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury (KRS 500.080(3)).
A dangerous instrument is something other than a deadly weapon. Whether
the item is a dangerous instrument depends on the circumstances in which
it is used. For example, if a pillow is used to cut off the victim's
air supply long enough to cause brain damage, the pillow is considered
to be a dangerous instrument. Other examples of items that can be considered
dangerous instruments include an ice pick, hammer, baseball bat, chain
saw or an automobile.
Serious Physical Injury
means "physical injury which
creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious and prolonged
disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health, or prolonged loss or
impairment of a bodily organ" (KRS 500.080 (15)).
Physical Injury is
defined as substantial pain or impairment of physical condition. For
example, a person who is punched or kicked would normally suffer physical
legal definitions may assist you in determining your course of action
should you be attacked. Remember that your actions should always be
justified by self defense - not anger or retaliation. Also,
be aware that carrying the weapons listed in the deadly weapons section is a criminal offense. These items should be stored in a case or bag outside
of your reach when traveling to and from your martial arts training
sessions. There are no provisions in the law to permit martial art students
to carry concealed deadly weapons.
"a wise man
walks with his head bowed."