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How much force can I use?

If you do find yourself in a situation where you must defend yourself how much force is acceptable to use in order to get the better of your attacker? 

You have the right to protect yourself or someone else from violence by using force but your actions should be appropriate to the level of threat you find yourself dealing with, in other words, don’t go over the top after you have dealt with your attacker. 

If you have to hit someone 50 times to stop them attacking you this is acceptable providing they were still a threat after punch number 49! But if you continue to punch or kick them after they are helpless on the ground then the table has been turned around and now you are the aggressor and can be prosecuted as such.  

Now, having said that, this doesn’t mean you have to wait till you are punched first before using force to stop your attacker, if you wait till you are punched before taking action the first punch could well be the last punch too! Anyone can be taken out with one punch so don’t wait, act fast! 

You are entitled to use an appropriate level of force as soon as you recognize a threat to yourself. Notice I say `appropriate` and not `minimum` force? This is because the law does not require a person to carefully figure out exactly what level of force is required to stop an attack or use a specific move to stop the danger, so providing your actions are reasonable under the circumstances you are quite within your rights to do what is needed but no more than that. Remember don’t get carried away and turn yourself into the aggressor. 

The level of force used must be appropriate to the threat that you perceive it to be and you have to be able to justify your perception. Hitting someone who isn’t a threat but in your eyes looks a `bit dodgy` is not acceptable at all. But if you can explain exactly what signs of aggression you felt threatened by and feared for your safety, then as long as your response was proportionate to the threat you feared, then your actions are justified by law.

Once the threat is over you must stop as further violence is not necessary and certainly no longer self-defense at all. You are entitled to ensure your attacker is unable to continue, but certain guidelines apply here, it’s acceptable by using a restraining move but most certainly not acceptable by kicking them on the ground. Control is the key here.

There is no `he came at me with a knife so I killed him` principle, but if your only course of action to stop an attacker from doing something extremely serious to you resulted in his death or very serious injury, then as long as you actions were warranted by the circumstances, they would be considered lawful.  

You are not required by law to try to escape from a situation or to surrender any more than you are to stand and fight. However, if do claim self-defense then you will need to explain why you chose this option rather than using other means not using force. For example, if you chose to stand and fight someone when you had a clear chance of escape, you would be required to explain why you did not take that opportunity. If there wasn’t a good reason for your choice of action, then this might undermine your assertion that you only did what you had to do in order to protect yourself. 


If you have the attitude that the person deserved a `good kicking` for attacking you in the first place you have taken this way past self-defense as self-defense only applies while there is a threat. It’s amazing how quickly your attacker will happily play the role of victim and sue you should you step over the line for something they started in the first place! 

So basically, if you decide you want to get some `payback` after the threat is over you will most likely answer for it in a court of law, remember, there are cameras on most streets now watching your every move that will confirm whether your actions were justified or not. Again, control is the key here, I cannot stress that enough.

Have you been the victim of an attack where you successfully defended yourself? Did you do this with minimum force or did you go over the top and give your attacker a beating?

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Self-defense, discipline and self-control

There’s a huge difference between Self-defense and fighting! If you are attacked your number one priority above all should be to get away as quickly and as safely as possible, your goal is not to try to win a fight but escape unhurt. Of course in order to escape you may need to disorient, distract, stun, and even disable your attacker. But once you see an opportunity to escape, take it and get out of there, don’t hang around and admire your handy work. Do not give your attacker a second chance to come at you, next time you might not get the chance to escape.

Self-defense should not be about teaching you how to `go the distance` in a street fight or how to `teach someone a lesson` and is most certainly not about using your skills in the wrong way such as being a bully or
attacking others when unprovoked. Just because you know you have skills don’t misuse them! Self-defense training should have also given you the discipline, self-control and understanding concerning this.

You are learning valuable skills, what to do in case you are
attacked, how to gain that momentary edge over your attacker so you can get away or find people who can help you. You haven’t learned these skills to turn `psycho` or `put the boot in` and start kicking the attacker all around the ground or generally using excessive force, if you do this then you have taken this way past the point of self-defense and now have become the aggressor! Many attackers will happily play the role of victim and get you sued over something they started! So self-control is a huge factor. Do not go over the top!

Prevention is the best defense and being situationally aware is your first line of self-defense. By avoiding certain situations you can minimize your risk of being attacked, such as scanning your environment for suspicious activity and being alert at all times instead of just blindly walking around. Avoid dangerous places like poorly lit, isolated, late at night, in unfamiliar territory, and stay away from people who might be prone to violence such as drunks or gangs.

Unfortunately, even if you are street smart, there are too many incidents of random, unprovoked violence nowadays. If someone attacks you, your life may be in danger. You must react quickly and confidently. The longer you wait, the harder it may become to free yourself. There is no time for social graces, or being polite and reserved, you must respond as the situation requires.

Bottom line is do what is necessary to escape, after all, an attacker is not coming for your autograph! Do whatever is necessary to gain an advantage and get out of there quickly and as safely as possible.

If you practice martial arts can you honestly say it has given you confidence, discipline and self-control? What is your chosen martial art?

Teenager abducted into human trafficking

Linda Bartlett 39 of New Bedford Massachusetts wanted to tell her story in hope of bringing this terrible crime to people’s attention.

“When I was 15 years old I experienced the most horrendous thing you could ever imagine, it`s took me a very long time to come to terms with what happened and even longer to be able to talk about it, but I figure by telling this story it may help someone else and also make people aware that this is going on today!”

“I had only gone to the corner store down the road to get a few items my mother had requested for dinner that night. As I walked the short distance back home a car pulled up alongside me with a lady showing me a map asking for directions. As I moved closer to help her a guy suddenly grabbed me from behind and bundled me into the back of the car.”

“He put a cloth over my nose and mouth that made me feel like I was floating, I was totally powerless to stop them driving me off.”

“When I came to my senses, I was in a house with several other girls roughly my age, I think anyway. I had no idea where the house was, but it had serious security with no windows and heavily locked doors, we weren’t even allowed to talk to one another. We were all very scared.”

“Basically, to cut a long story short we had been sold into human trafficking as sex slaves. Wealthy men would fly in from all over the world on business trips and stop off for a few hours and we would have to entertain them in any perverted way they wanted!”

“I was held captive for 5 years! They made me sleep with hundreds and hundreds of these filthy men with no hope of ever escaping back into the outside world. The whole time all I could think about was my family and how much I missed them and wanted to be with them but in all honesty, I was running out of hope. But I still kept praying.”

“Then one day my prayers were answered when cops stormed the place releasing us, we were met by a whole army of press reporters eager for our account of what had happened. Thankfully the cops held them back and took us away from them where we were all reunited with our families. It was incredibly emotional.”

“The really shocking part of this whole ordeal was the fact the house we were held prisoner in was less than 10 miles from where I lived! It was on a regular housing estate and no one had the slightest idea what was going on behind those walls. Apparently, the cops had an anonymous tip-off from someone who remains unknown, but whoever you are thank you so much for giving me the chance to escape this hell-hole and live my life freely again.”

The start of this awful ordeal was when Linda was first grabbed and bundled into the back of the car, a little self-defense knowledge here could have stopped that happening and prevented the 5 years of hell that was about to happen to Linda.

This is a shocking and very sad story; many people have no idea this kind of thing is really happening nowadays. The fact this all happened within a few miles of her home and no one knew is very sad and terrible.

Human trafficking is thought to be one of the fastest growing activities of world-wide criminal organizations. Human trafficking is also condemned as a violation of human rights.

*51% of identified victims of trafficking are women, 28% children and 21% men.

*72% people exploited in the sex industry are women.

*63% of identified traffickers were men and 37% women.

*43% of victims are trafficked domestically within national borders.

(Estimates by The United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime-UNODC).

Has this evil crime happened to you or anyone you know? Take up self-defense to give yourself a fighting chance! Sometimes that’s all you need to stay safe.

Nigel Taylor – My bio

Nigel Taylor

One typically cold and rainy night in Chesterfield England way back in 1980 I was feeling very bored flicking through the only three TV channels we had being BBC1, BBC2 & ITV hoping to find something entertaining when a documentary called `Pumping Iron` came on. Not knowing anything about this I decided it may be worth watching, so I settled down and was completely shocked by the size of these monsters filling my small TV screen, after about 15 minutes I realized these were real people and not some camera or computer enhanced figures. Right from that moment I knew I was destined to become a `Gym Rat` for life!  Immediately after the show ended, I called my friend who had also been watching equally impressed.

 “Did you see the size of that guy? and what about that Arnold character with the weird last name?” we both agreed on a time and set off the next morning to a sports store in the local town center to purchase a cheap weight set of plastic sand filled weights, well they seemed good at the time. In our eagerness we hadn`t considered how we were to get them home. Since neither of us could drive at that time we had to walk the 5 miles home carrying a 100lb. weights set! After a few very hard & long hours we finally got them home by which time we were both so tired and sore we didn`t start working out for another week! And that`s how it all began.

So, six months later I’m training like crazy, seven days a week sometimes twice a day. Constantly waking up the next morning unable to move because I’m so sore through over training No-Pain-No-Gain, right? I’m quite proud of the fact that I’m able to get rid of the soreness each day just in time to hit the weights again. No thought to any kind of diet, eating everything in sight and drinking lots of beer at the weekends, dressed in muscle shirts everywhere I go showing off those tiny biceps to anyone who is crazy enough to look! Of course I’m not making any gains and have no idea why, but by now I’m totally obsessed with the weights, like a drug I must have my fix of iron, yes I have progressed from the plastic sand filled ones to real iron weights and no I didn’t walk home 5 miles with these, I ordered them from a catalog along with a lightweight bench. I’m working out in the kitchen now which has turned into my gym with dad spotting me on a 150lb. bench press, this is getting hard work as dad isn’t sure he can lift this, come to think of it I’m not sure I can either! Now this really isn’t an ideal situation to have to carry all the equipment from a closet, set up the bench and all the weights which is a workout in itself.  Work out, then put them all back again in the closet afterwards, and all the time we are keeping mom out of her kitchen. This goes on for a further two years with very little gains to show for my efforts, and then I finally see the light, I really need to join a gym.

This is great, a real gym with real bodybuilders working out there. In fact it’s an old Doctor`s surgery that someone has turned into a gym with very old equipment, some of which is homemade. The gym has no name and comes complete with a hole in the roof above the leg press machine. Now winter in England is no joke as its freezing and always seems to be snowing on leg day. Each time I emerge from the leg press in a light covering of snow. I love this place, it has real character and I’m still working out almost every day with of course no gains to show for my pains, plenty of pains at this point. One day I get lucky and meet the owner, a real genuinely great guy who informs me I’m over training and need to cut back to three sessions a week if I really want to develop muscle and strength, and also pay attention to my diet. I never considered I was doing too much and being a `gym addict` now I’m worrying about what I will do on my four days off. But I take his word for it and do as he says, and like magic I start developing muscles without the previous pain, now I’m experiencing a nice soreness that isn’t severe. I’m getting to train with lots of experienced people now all offering great advice, and I’m in the best shape since I started and start to realize the mistakes I made in the beginning. Two years later the owner moved to another part of town and opened a fantastic gym! This place has much more modern equipment, bigger building, a name and no holes in the roof and still going strong today. On my four days off I’m studying about various aspects of everything associated to the gym, correct form, nutrition, cardio etc. By this time, it`s four years since I first started working out. I have a great training program, and for the first time I really know what I’m doing in a gym, in fact to the extent that I’m now a certified personal trainer.

So, onto the present day, I have now swapped the cold weather in England for the hot weather in South Texas! After I worked for one of the `Big name` gyms a short time I have now found the perfect place to work. As an independent trainer I feel I`m more able to work on my own style rather than training like everyone else. So basically, if you come to me as a client you will be getting well over twenty years experience and I will be more than happy to give you value for money and really help you to the best of my ability to help you bring the best out of yourself without over doing it, and to reach your fitness goals, but to first start you out on the correct path.

This is the final part of my story, the part that has the serious message that I want to get over to anyone who may be thinking of starting out lifting weight. I don`t claim to know everything, but from my own experiences and mistakes I feel that I`m qualified to offer some serious advice. The first three years or so I pretty much wasted by throwing myself head first into this without any serious thought behind what I was doing, it was very much trial and error, mainly error I must admit. All this pain and wasted time could have been avoided if I’d have thought to seek the help of a good trainer to start me out on the correct path. But then again, looking back now some twenty plus years ago I`m glad to have made these mistakes because it really makes me aware of how a client is feeling when first coming to me for help, and I`m very happy to guide them away from that kind of start I made. I know firsthand the `No-Pain-No-Gain` attitude can be a very dangerous guide to follow and certainly know what it feels like following this style of training.

Well I hope you enjoyed reading this story as much as I enjoyed telling it, I know a lot of it sounds amusing, but it also carries a very important message about safety and starting off in the correct manner.

UPDATE

In 2018 I opened my own gym called `The Backyard Gym` which saw me move away from personal training to focus on my real passion of self-defense and kickboxing. I have devised my own style of self-defense called `Street self-defense` which is a no-nonsense approach martial art based on evading and escaping an attack, the elaborate moves on the movies look great but will not help you at all if you’re attacked simply because they don’t work, this does!

You don’t have to be Bruce Lee or a black-belt to defend yourself. Street self-defense works for anyone-from young kids being bullied at school to the elderly out walking their dog at night-and allows everyone to effectively protect themselves and is proving to be a big success.