Acting Appropriately?

Was it appropriate?

That’s a question which is important in every walk of life.

We are judged by what others think is appropriate.

The way we look, the way we act, even the way we speak.

But what is appropriate changes depending on your situation.

Let’s look at food.

What would you eat if  you were starving?

Snakes? Bugs? Other passengers?

On a desert island you do what you NEED to do to survive, just watch an episode of “Bear Grylls”

He’ll eat anything, survival is all that matters.

It should be the same when you train self-defence.

There are no rules, no off limit targets and definitely no “gentlemanly conduct”.

Too often, as self-defence instructors, we worry about “reasonable force” and the law.

Personally, I prefer the cliche saying;

” I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6 ”

Before anyone gets up on their high horse, I do advocate studying the law.

Every instructor should have a thorough understanding of the laws applying to their sector.

But the key word is “understanding”, not just repeating a few phrases they remember from a lecture they saw on YouTube.

I saw this on Facebook earlier.

“There is also the difference in evaluating whether someone wants to kill you or rape you or mug you and responding accordingly..”

If we look in the dictionary, we find:


1. in a way that is appropriate to the particular circumstances.


“we have to discover what his plans are and act accordingly”

The instructor who posted, was asking us to consider the situation and respond appropriately.

But our time for effective reaction is limited.

Should we “waste time” on evaluation of intent and circumstances

In my opinion, no.

In the news, we heard about a vehicle plowing into a group of s Christmas market.

Was it a drunk driver or an act of terrorism?

Does the cause really matter?

While the incident is taking place, we have no idea of the drivers intentions but the consequences are the same, people die.

How often have people said “it was an accident, I didn’t mean to kill them”

But that situation doesn’t happen often, right?


how about this..

You get into a heated argument down the pub,

You didn’t mean it to happen, but it turns violent.

Now you’ve seen all the movies and are a trained martial artist.

As a trained individual you understand reasonable force and so try not to cause harm.

After all, you understand the consequences; you will be arrested and charged.

So you don’t hit back

His punches are like windmills

You bring all your years of martial training to this moment.

You parry each strike like Neo in the Matrix.

Controlling your emotions and using your superior skills to evade his attacks.

Just like Sensei showed you.

It’s even easier than class, this guy is drunk and untrained.

You smile knowing that you are safe and that his actions are useless against such a formidable opponent.

A part of you even hopes someone is filming it, you will look really good on Facebook.

Not that you’d share it on your wall cos that’s just egotistical..

You continue blocking, waiting for the moment when your attacker tires and his brain catches up with what is “really” happening.

in time he will see the futility of his attacks and sees the error of his ways.

You know that he will come to his senses, given time, you will shake hands and he will buy you a drink.

Unfortunately, fate has a twisted sense of humour.

Although he continuously misses with his attacks, you trip and hit your head on the way down.

The last thing you think; why was there a handbag in the dojo..

Unconscious, you no longer have the ability to block with your arms but instead opt for the little used “chin” block.

Hospital awaits, but only if you’re lucky.

Did your attacker mean to kill you?

Probably not, but the argument ended in your death or severe injury.

Now what if the attacker had also injured staff and police during the incident.

Maybe your family or friends who tried to protect you.

Terrorism is rare but fights occur daily.

If you had used force, you could have subdued the attacker reducing the chance of harm to yourself and others.

Would your actions have been appropriate?

What about the other situations mentioned by the instructor in his post?


People have died during muggings.


People have died during rape.

And murder, yes people definitely die during murder.

Are use of force options appropriate?

Positive obligation to preserve life should be the ultimate aim of self-defence,

Remember, it starts with the protection of one life..


Hopefully, this will put your training into a new different perspective.

There is one legal quote I would like to share with you, before I go.

It is on how your actions should be judged under self-defence law, from Lord Morris..

“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 …”

Lord Morris in (Palmer v R 1971 AC 814);
Stay safe,..