I remember years ago a tall tale that said: “martial artists have to tell anyone who is about to attack them that they do martial arts”. It was almost a disclaimer so that the attacker would be taking his life into his own hands if they didn’t go away.
The second part of the tall tale was that if the martial artists didn’t use the disclaimer they could face jail.
Now although we know this is total nonsense there are some pretty easy ways that any martial arts student or instructor could land themselves in jail, and today we look at them and ask….are you doing any of these?
1.You Train To Deliver A Killing Strike
This is a key issue, especially with self defence systems.
Rather than train to disable or deal with an attacker I see so many arts finish with a kick to the attacker whilst he is on the floor beaten.
Just think about this for a second. You train to defend yourself from an attacker and you knock them onto the floor where they lie dazed and beaten…. why would you then put the boot into a man that is beaten?
The arguments are that it is so he cannot get up and attack you again. However, that is a pretty poor argument given that you are essentially now attacking a man who cannot defend himself. In actual fact this could now be classed as an assault.
So you train to land a head kick to a man on the floor, that is defenceless, possibly unconscious already, in essence those killing blows will land you in a heap of trouble.
Do yourself a favour stop training to follow up on the attacker when they are defeated
2. You Talk About Violence On Facebook
So imagine this situation. You have been attacked and the attacker was defeated, in fact he now has a broken jaw and needs surgery.
There are no witnesses but the attacker blames you for the incident and says you attacked him.
You get arrested, charged and go to court.
The prosecution barrister says “so Mr Jones you have told the court that you were the one attacked not Mr Smith, even though Mr Smith had a broken jaw, you have told the court that you are not a violent person, so why is it that on 5th August 2015 that you said on Facebook ‘ that would beat the crap out of anyone who crossed you?”.
Facebook is part of life now, so be warned it is pretty hard to claim you are a non-violent person when you keep posting abuse, make violent comments and remarks on the social media site.
3. You Start Relationships With Students
Romance can happen to anyone at any time, but many instructors get caught in the trap of ‘sleeping’ with student after student.
The end result is bitterness and very often you leave yourself open to accusations.
Quick tip, be a professional martial arts instructor and don’t use your dojo as your own personal dating site. The same goes for your instructor team. Keep a track on what’s going on because this could wreak havoc wth your business.
Remember, false accusations by bitter people can easily end up with legal action.
4. You Do Not Have A Child Protection Policy
If you are in the business of teaching martial arts to children then you are also in the business of protecting children.
So to make life easy you need to have a clear and visible child protection policy and possibly even a child protection manager (who could be a volunteer).
Now this helps to protect children and staff, but let’s say one of your staff members is behaving inappropriately , this could be as minor as letting kids have some alcohol at a summer camp event.
The member of staff or even parent volunteer might not think this causes any harm because there are no policies in place to tell them what is right or wrong. Or perhaps things could go wrong when one of your young male black belts keeps giving all the 14 year old female students lifts home, and we could see how that could cause issues!
No one is accusing anyone of doing anything but a child protection policy is really useful in preventing things from developing.
5. You Train To Over React In A Situation
This is a classic issue. You train martial arts and everyone is attacking you. In your mind you see people as threats, so when an issue happens you resort to violence first and not last.
De-escalation is something that a lot of martial artists gloss over, but it is a key concept that all students must grasp.
A quick idea would be to start each session with a 5-minute drill with one student playing angry and the other calming them down
6. You Go Looking For Violence To Test Your Skills
One of the common themes these days are YouTube videos showing school fights. In lots of the cases we see martial artists fighting martial artists. It seems really odd that youths trained in martial arts or MMA would try and fight in schools using the techniques they have been taught in class.
It is almost as if martial artists have lost the Budo way and have become thugs with skills. . The sad fact is that a martial artist is a really dangerous person and they need to have respect engrained into their belief system. To quote Spiderman “with great power come great responsibility”
If you go looking for fights you will end up causing some serious harm to others and this leads to a spell behind bars.
7. Martial Arts Give You A Bigger Ego and Not A Smaller One
When you go on forums and Facebook groups in martial arts you tend to see one big ego fest!
“My style is better than your style; I’m tougher than you” etc., etc. What happened to those guys and girls who turned to martial arts because of bullying, because they were once attacked
Either way if you find that martial arts have given you a bigger ego, perhaps you can either try and reduce it (try some serious sparring at another gym) or perhaps you need to stop training in martial arts.
Having a big ego is what will ultimately lead to you fighting, getting into trouble and yep jail! So keep a check on that ego folks, it is easy for it to get out of hand.
So there you have it, 7 Ways you could end up in Jail. What are your thoughts?