Loyola University Maryland

Loyola Ju-Jitsu Club

The Law & Lethal Force

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Read the full report done by Sensei Geoff Sasso 2004 

Outline of Highlights

The student of Self--Defense and Martial Arts possesses great power. The power of life and death. The law calls this power " lethal force "

What the law thinks about Self-defense: In the court of law excessive force is evidence of malice. If the attacker dies from the injury you inflicted after you had already put him helplessly on the ground, you can be charged with murder.

You must know when to stop: The law does allow the use of deadly force against an assailant only when you or another innocent person are in immediate and unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm.

Criteria that determine such situations

  1. Ability: The opponent possesses the power to kill or cripple. That power may take the form of a deadly weapon, or it may be that you are out numbered; your attacker is much larger and stronger than you; you are a disabled person being attacked by a healthy criminal; you are an elderly person attacked by a young adult; or you are a woman savagely assaulted by a man.
  2. Opportunity: The opponent is capable of employing that power immediately
  3. How quickly a person can close what seems like a safe distance
  4. Jeopardy: The opponent is acting in such a way that you could assume He intended to kill or cripple you with a knife of stick.

When all of these elements are present, homicide is justifiable under the law. The plea is self-defense.

The Law - What you can and can not do

Class discussion

  • When do you turn into the attacker?
  • When can you use your self-defense to protect others?
  • Was it breaking and entering (watch out for that child)?
  • When can you use weapons and is it safe for you to do so
  • Guns
  • Mace "it can shoot up to 15 ft "
  • Hands can only be used if attacker is in your space
  • Secondary: what you carry on you or have around you

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