Self-defense
Overview
 
Self-defense, self-defence (see spelling differences
American and British English spelling differences
One of the ways in which American English and British English differ is in spelling.-Historical origins:In the early 18th century, English spelling was not standardized. Differences became noticeable after the publishing of influential dictionaries...

) or private defense is a countermeasure
Countermeasure
A countermeasure is a measure or action taken to counter or offset another one. As a general concept it implies precision, and is any technological or tactical solution or system designed to prevent an undesirable outcome in the process...

 that involves defending oneself, one's property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 or the well-being of another from physical harm
HARM
HARM or H.A.R.M. may refer to:* AGM-88 HARM, a high-speed anti-radiation missile* Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum, a museum in Creve Coeur, Missouri, United States...

. The use of the right of self-defense as a legal justification for the use
Use
Use may refer to:* Use , an obligation on a person to whom property has been conveyed* Use–mention distinction, the distinction between using a word and mentioning it...

 of force
Force
In physics, a force is any influence that causes an object to undergo a change in speed, a change in direction, or a change in shape. In other words, a force is that which can cause an object with mass to change its velocity , i.e., to accelerate, or which can cause a flexible object to deform...

 in times of danger is available in many jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

s, but the interpretation varies widely. To be acquitted of any kind of physical harm-related crime (such as assault
Assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

 and battery
Battery (crime)
Battery is a criminal offense involving unlawful physical contact, distinct from assault which is the fear of such contact.In the United States, criminal battery, or simply battery, is the use of force against another, resulting in harmful or offensive contact...

 and homicide
Homicide
Homicide refers to the act of a human killing another human. Murder, for example, is a type of homicide. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English...

) using the self-defense justification, one must prove legal provocation
Provocation (legal)
In criminal law, provocation is a possible defense by excuse or exculpation alleging a sudden or temporary loss of control as a response to another's provocative conduct sufficient to justify an acquittal, a mitigated sentence or a conviction for a lesser charge...

, meaning that one must prove that he was in a position in which not using self-defense would most likely lead to death or serious injuries.
Encyclopedia
Self-defense, self-defence (see spelling differences
American and British English spelling differences
One of the ways in which American English and British English differ is in spelling.-Historical origins:In the early 18th century, English spelling was not standardized. Differences became noticeable after the publishing of influential dictionaries...

) or private defense is a countermeasure
Countermeasure
A countermeasure is a measure or action taken to counter or offset another one. As a general concept it implies precision, and is any technological or tactical solution or system designed to prevent an undesirable outcome in the process...

 that involves defending oneself, one's property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 or the well-being of another from physical harm
HARM
HARM or H.A.R.M. may refer to:* AGM-88 HARM, a high-speed anti-radiation missile* Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum, a museum in Creve Coeur, Missouri, United States...

. The use of the right of self-defense as a legal justification for the use
Use
Use may refer to:* Use , an obligation on a person to whom property has been conveyed* Use–mention distinction, the distinction between using a word and mentioning it...

 of force
Force
In physics, a force is any influence that causes an object to undergo a change in speed, a change in direction, or a change in shape. In other words, a force is that which can cause an object with mass to change its velocity , i.e., to accelerate, or which can cause a flexible object to deform...

 in times of danger is available in many jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

s, but the interpretation varies widely. To be acquitted of any kind of physical harm-related crime (such as assault
Assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

 and battery
Battery (crime)
Battery is a criminal offense involving unlawful physical contact, distinct from assault which is the fear of such contact.In the United States, criminal battery, or simply battery, is the use of force against another, resulting in harmful or offensive contact...

 and homicide
Homicide
Homicide refers to the act of a human killing another human. Murder, for example, is a type of homicide. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English...

) using the self-defense justification, one must prove legal provocation
Provocation (legal)
In criminal law, provocation is a possible defense by excuse or exculpation alleging a sudden or temporary loss of control as a response to another's provocative conduct sufficient to justify an acquittal, a mitigated sentence or a conviction for a lesser charge...

, meaning that one must prove that he was in a position in which not using self-defense would most likely lead to death or serious injuries. The threat of damage or loss of property alone is not enough.

Physical

Physical self defense is the use of physical force to counter an immediate threat of violence.
Such force can be either armed or unarmed.
In either case, the chances of success depend on a large number of parameters, related to the severity of the threat on one hand, but also on the mental and physical preparedness of the defender.

Unarmed

Many styles of martial arts
Martial arts
Martial arts are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development....

 are practiced for self-defense or include self-defense techniques. Some styles train primarily for self-defense, while other martial/Combat sport
Combat sport
A Combat sport, also known as a Fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport where two combatants fight against each other using certain rules of engagement , typically with the aim of simulating parts of real hand to hand combat...

s can be effectively applied for self-defense. To provide more practical self-defense, many modern day martial arts schools now use a combination of martial arts styles and techniques, and will often customize self-defense training to suit the participants' lifestyles, occupations, age groups and gender, and physical and mental capabilities.

Armed

In some countries, it is legal to use or carry weapons (for example knives
Knife
A knife is a cutting tool with an exposed cutting edge or blade, hand-held or otherwise, with or without a handle. Knives were used at least two-and-a-half million years ago, as evidenced by the Oldowan tools...

, firearms or batons
Baton (law enforcement)
A truncheon or baton is essentially a club of less than arm's length made of wood, plastic, or metal...

) for purposes of self-defense. In other countries, this may be illegal or may require a license, or some items may be legal to carry without a license, while others, most commonly firearms, are not. Limitations on the use of weapons for personal defense are a source of controversy in some countries, pitting self-defense rights against efforts to combat violent crime via restricting access to common weapons.

Everyday objects, such as baseball bat
Baseball bat
A baseball bat is a smooth wooden or metal club used in the game of baseball to hit the ball after the ball is thrown by the pitcher. It is no more than 2.75 inches in diameter at the thickest part and no more than 42 inches in length. It typically weighs no more than 33 ounces , but it...

s or aerosol spray
Aerosol spray
Aerosol spray is a type of dispensing system which creates an aerosol mist of liquid particles. This is used with a can or bottle that contains a liquid under pressure. When the container's valve is opened, the liquid is forced out of a small hole and emerges as an aerosol or mist...

 cans, can also be used as improvised weapons for self-defense, but are not likely to be as effective as purpose built weapons. Some non-lethal weapons as the Kubotan
Kubotan
The Kubotan self-defense keychain is a close-quarter self-defense weapon developed by Takayuki Kubota. It is essentially a derivation of the stick, usually 5.5 inches long and 0.56 inch in diameter, slightly thicker or the same size as a marker pen...

 have also been built to resemble everyday objects, such as keychains.

Pepper spray
Pepper spray
Pepper spray, also known as OC spray , OC gas, and capsicum spray, is a lachrymatory agent that is used in riot control, crowd control and personal self-defense, including defense against dogs and bears...

 and personal stun guns are non-lethal self defense alternatives, which are legal in some countries. Pepper sprays can have a range between 5–20 feet, and act by delivering a spray or foam containing highly irritating chemicals. Handheld stun guns operate by delivering an incapacitating electric shock, and must actually come in contact with the assailant to be effective, with the exception of tasers which use gas-propelled barbs connected to the taser by conductive wire to deliver the shock.

De-escalation

Verbal Self Defense
Verbal self defense
Verbal Self Defense, aka 'Verbal Judo', is defined as using one's words to prevent, de-escalate, or end an attempted assault. It is a way of using words as a way to maintain your mental and emotional safety...

 aka 'Verbal Judo' is defined as using one's words to prevent, de-escalate
De-escalation
This is a commonlly used term in Social Work practice. It is used as an anger management tool to remove tension between two participants in a conflictual relationship or intervention. A cooling off period is experienced and then the potential for further communication is invitedDe-escalation refers...

, or end an attempted assault. It is a way of using words as weapons. This kind of 'conflict management' is the use of voice, tone, and body language to calm a potentially violent situation before violence actually ensues. This often involves techniques such as taking a time-out
Child time-out
A time-out involves temporarily separating a child from an environment where inappropriate behavior has occurred, and is intended to give an over-excited child time to calm down and thereby discouraging such behavior. It is an educational and parenting technique recommended by some pediatricians...

, and deflecting the conversation to individuals in the group who are less passionately involved.
  • Author Katy Mattingly defines verbal self-defense as simply saying no to someone or repeatedly refusing a request or telling someone who has violated a boundary what you want, or it could entail a more complicated scenario in which you are called on to refuse to engage verbally with someone manipulative, to set limits, and end the conversation.

  • Suzette Haden Elgin
    Suzette Haden Elgin
    Suzette Haden Elgin is an American science fiction author. She founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and is considered an important figure in the field of science fiction constructed languages...

     the author of The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense states that verbal self-defense defends against the eight most common types of verbal violence, and redirects and defuses potential verbal confrontations.

Avoidance

Being aware of and avoiding potentially dangerous situations is an emphasis of self defense. Attackers are typically larger, stronger, and are often armed or have an accomplice. These factors make fighting to defeat the attacker unlikely to succeed. In order to attack, an aggressor must have three elements in place: desire, distance, and decision. If any one of these elements can be removed, an attack can be avoided without resorting to physical self defense. When avoidance is impossible, one often has a better chance at fighting to escape, such methods maybe referred to as 'break away' techniques.

Personal alarms

Personal alarm
Personal alarm
A personal alarm is a small hand-held electronic device with the functionality to emit a loud siren-like alarming sound. It is activated either by a button, or a tag that, when pulled, sets the siren off....

s are a way to practice passive self defense. A personal alarm is a small, hand-held device that emits strong, loud, high pitched sounds to deter attackers because the noise will draw the attention of passersby. Child alarms often function as locators or device alarms such as triggering an alert when a swimming pool
Swimming pool
A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, or simply a pool, is a container filled with water intended for swimming or water-based recreation. There are many standard sizes; the largest is the Olympic-size swimming pool...

 is in use to help prevent dangerous situations in addition to being a deterrent against would-be aggressors.

Self-defense education

Self-defense techniques and recommended behavior under the threat of violence is systematically taught in self-defense classes. Commercial self-defense education is part of the martial arts industry in the wider sense, and many martial arts instructors also give self-defense classes.
While all martial arts training can be argued to have some self-defense applications, self-defense courses are marketed explicitly as being oriented towards effectiveness and optimized towards situations as they occur in the real world. It should not be presumed however that sport based systems are inadequate, as the training methods employed regularly produce well conditioned fighters experienced in full contact fighting.
There are a large number of systems taught commercially, many tailored to the needs of specific target audiences (e.g. defense against attempted rape for women).
Notable systems taught commercially include:
  • civilian versions modern military combatives, such as kapap
    Kapap
    Kapap , short for Krav Panim el Panim, translated as "face to face combat", was a combat system of defensive tactics, hand-to-hand combat and self defense...

      Krav Maga
    Krav Maga
    Krav Maga is a noncompetitive eclectic self-defense system developed in Europe that involves striking techniques, wrestling and grappling. Krav Maga is known for its focus on real-world situations and extremely efficient, brutal counter-attacks...

     and Systema
    Systema
    Systema is a Russian martial art. Training includes: hand to hand combat, grappling, knife fighting and fire arms training as well. Training involves drills and sparring without set kata. It focuses mainly on controlling the six body levers through pressure point application, striking and weapon...

  • self-defense oriented forms of jujitsu, such as Bartitsu
    Bartitsu
    Bartitsu is an eclectic martial art and self-defence method originally developed in England during the years 1898–1902. In 1901 it was immortalised by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories...

    , Goshin Jujitsu, Ketsugo jujutsu, Kodokan Goshin Jutsu
    Kodokan Goshin Jutsu
    Kodokan Goshin Jutsu is a set of prearranged self-defence forms in Judo.It is the most recent kata of Judo, having been created in 1956. It incorporates techniques from aikido through the influence of Kenji Tomiki...

    , Yawara-Jitsu
    Yawara-Jitsu
    Yawara-Jitsu is a self-defense-oriented martial art. It derives from the millenary Yawara, or "agility art", from which other schools were born such as Wa-Jitsu, Tai-Jitsu, Kumuishi, or Kempo....

    , etc.
  • rape prevention, including Rape Aggression Defense System (RAD), AWARE, etc.Reality-Based Self-Defense (RBSD)
  • Sport based systems, such as Muay Thai
    Muay Thai
    Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It is similar to other Indochinese kickboxing systems, namely pradal serey from Cambodia, tomoi from Malaysia, lethwei from Myanmar and muay Lao from Laos...

    , Boxing
    Boxing
    Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

    , Judo
    Judo
    is a modern martial art and combat sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw or takedown one's opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one's opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an...

    , BJJ, and Wrestling
    Wrestling
    Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position...

    .

Legal aspects

The most crucial difference between self-defense training for civilian application in a society under rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

 to military combatives
Combatives
Combatives is a United States Army term for hand-to-hand combat training and techniques.-History:Militaries have long taught unarmed combat, both as physical conditioning and as a supplement to armed combat. Among the samurai of Japan, such combatives were known as Bujutsu...

 is the necessity to consider the extent of force permitted in a given situation under the self-defense laws of the applicable jurisdiction.

The self-defense laws of modern legislation build on the Roman Law
Roman law
Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, and the legal developments which occurred before the 7th century AD — when the Roman–Byzantine state adopted Greek as the language of government. The development of Roman law comprises more than a thousand years of jurisprudence — from the Twelve...

 principle of dominium where any attack on the members of the family or the property it owned was a personal attack on the pater familias
Pater familias
The pater familias, also written as paterfamilias was the head of a Roman family. The term is Latin for "father of the family" or the "owner of the family estate". The form is irregular and archaic in Latin, preserving the old genitive ending in -as...

. In Leviathan
Leviathan (book)
Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil — commonly called simply Leviathan — is a book written by Thomas Hobbes and published in 1651. Its name derives from the biblical Leviathan...

(1651), Hobbes argues that although some may be stronger or more intelligent than others in their natural state, none are so strong as to be beyond a fear of violent death, which justifies self-defense as the highest necessity.
In his 1918 speech Politik als Beruf (Politics as a Vocation
Politics as a Vocation
Politics as a Vocation is an essay by German economist and sociologist Max Weber. It originated in a lecture he gave to the Free Students Union of Munich University, in January 1919, during the German Revolution....

), Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

 defined a state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 as an authority having the monopoly of the legitimate means of organised violence
Monopoly on violence
The monopoly on violence is the conception of the state expounded by Max Weber in Politics as a Vocation. According to Weber, the state is that entity which claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, which it may therefore elect to delegate as it sees fit...

 within defined territorial boundaries. Modern libertarianism
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 characterizes the majority of laws as intrusive to personal autonomy and, in particular, argues that the right of self-defense from coercion
Coercion
Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. In law, coercion is codified as the duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way...

 (including violence
Violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...

) is a fundamental human right. In this context, note that Article 12 Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly . The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled...

 states:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.


Combined with the principle of the state's monopoly of violence, this means that those authorized by the state to defend the law (in practice, the police
Police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

) are charged with the use of necessary force to protect such rights. The right to self-defense is limited to situations where the immediate threat of violence cannot be prevented by those authorized to do so (in practice, because no police force is present at the moment of the threat). The right to self-defense granted by law to the private citizen is strictly limited. Use of force that goes beyond what is necessary to dispel the immediate threat of violence is known as excessive self-defense (also self-defense with excessive force, excessive self-defense).
The civil law
Civil law (legal system)
Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

 systems have a theory of "abuse of right" to explain denial of justification in such cases.
Thus, in English law
Self-defence in English law
Self-defence is part of private defence, the doctrine in English law that one can act to prevent injury to oneself or others or to prevent crime more generally – one has the same right to act to protect others as to protect oneself. This defence arises both from common law and the Criminal Law Act...

, the general common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 principle is stated in Beckford v R (1988) 1 AC 130:
"A defendant is entitled to use reasonable force to protect himself, others for whom he is responsible and his property. It must be reasonable
Reasonable person
The reasonable person is a legal fiction of the common law that represents an objective standard against which any individual's conduct can be measured...

."

Similar clauses are found in the legislation throughout the western world
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

. They derive historically from article 6 of the French Penal Code of 1791
French Penal Code of 1791
The French Penal Code of 1791 was a penal code adopted during the French Revolution by the Constituent Assembly, between 25 September and 6 October 1791. It was France's first penal code, and was influenced by the Enlightenment thinking of Beccaria and Montesquieu.The principle of legality was...

, which ruled that "manslaughter is legitimate if it is indispensably dictated by the present necessity of legitimate defense of oneself or others". The modern French penal code further specifies that excessive self-defense is punishable due to "disproportion between the means of defense used and the gravity of the attack" defended against.

The evaluation of whether use of force was excessive in a given case can be a difficult task. The British Law Commission Report on Partial Defences to Murder (2004) Part 4 (pp78/86) recommends a redefinition of provocation
Provocation (legal)
In criminal law, provocation is a possible defense by excuse or exculpation alleging a sudden or temporary loss of control as a response to another's provocative conduct sufficient to justify an acquittal, a mitigated sentence or a conviction for a lesser charge...

 to cover situations where a person acts lethally out of fear. This reflects the present view of psychiatrists that most people act in violent situations with a combination of fear and anger in their minds, and to separate these two types of affect
Affect (psychology)
Affect refers to the experience of feeling or emotion. Affect is a key part of the process of an organism's interaction with stimuli. The word also refers sometimes to affect display, which is "a facial, vocal, or gestural behavior that serves as an indicator of affect" .The affective domain...

 is not legally constructive. In practice, self-defense laws still do make this distinction. German criminal law  (§ 33) distinguishes "asthenic affect" (fear) from "sthenic affect" (anger). Excessive self-defense out of asthenic affect is not punishable.
Outside of the western world, justifiable self-defense tends to be interpreted more loosely, including the right to defend against any criminal act, without limitations to reasonable or proportionate use of force based on the magnitude of the crime. Instead, it may simply be the minimum amount of force required to stop the criminal, which may lethal even for relatively small crimes. Thus, the Intermediate People's Court of Foshan
Foshan
Foshan is a city in central Guangdong province in southern China. The prefectural area under the city's jurisdiction over an area of about 3,840 km² and a population of 5.4 million of which 1.1 million reside in the city proper ....

, People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 in a 2009 case ruled as justifiable self-defense the killing of a robber who was trying to escape, because "the robbery was still in progress" at this time.

See also

  • Carrying concealed weapon
    Carrying concealed weapon
    Concealed carry, or CCW , refers to the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one's person or in proximity....

  • Hand to hand combat
    Hand to hand combat
    Hand-to-hand combat is a lethal or nonlethal physical confrontation between two or more persons at very short range that does not involve the use of firearms or other distance weapons...

  • Right of self-defense
  • Sell your cloak and buy a sword
    Sell your cloak and buy a sword
    Sell your cloak and buy a sword is an instruction by Jesus to his disciples which has been interpreted in several ways. At the Last Supper Jesus says:-Self-defence or righteous violence interpretation:Some, such as S. G. F...

  • Turning the other cheek
  • Verbal self defense
    Verbal self defense
    Verbal Self Defense, aka 'Verbal Judo', is defined as using one's words to prevent, de-escalate, or end an attempted assault. It is a way of using words as a way to maintain your mental and emotional safety...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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