Self-defense has been recognized in both the criminal code and civil liability cases. One does not have a right to self-defense—self-defense is a privilege extended by the law, not a right. One may defend himself/herself or another person from physical harm when no other options are reasonably available, however, Taekwondo practitioners should be aware of the legal limitations. Taekwondo training may protect a person in a self-defense situation, but, if it is used improperly, it may lead to criminal charges or civil liability.
As a general rule, you should observe the following:
- Stay away from places and areas where you could get into trouble.
- If you are attacked and cannot retreat, use only the force necessary to stop the attack and to hold the assailant for the police.
- Stop your assault as soon as the attacker has submitted or is in custody. Legally, you are on firm ground if you act in the situation just as any reasonable person would act under the same conditions.
- Call the police immediately. You must justify that your actions were necessary to protect yourself.
- Be alert to any witnesses who may support your side of the story.
The laws of each state pertaining to self-defense may be different, but there are certain basic premises that are basic to all states. English common law is the basis for most laws in the United States, but some states, such as Louisiana, base their laws on continental European law, so their laws may differ. You should contact your state attorney general or a library for specific information on your country or state.