I have been following a high profile court case involving self-defense in my old home town of Perth Western Australia:
I think it is worth a look for observations and lessons. A quick note regarding the 'mateship' culture in Australia - it's very common amongst young men to support one another regardless of the consequences 'putting your body on the line' for your mates no matter what. It's a very strong ethos which is perpetuated in sporting community particularly in Australian Rules football.
The basic story is this:
- Dylan Winter, who was on trial, went out with some friends including a friend Travis Gray and his girlfriend. young and dumb, they were fooling about play fighting in a nightclub and got ejected very roughly by the bouncers who also called police.
- As they moved on, Travis Gray and girlfreind started to argue, and Luke Adams, who is a renowned football (Aussie Rules) player, a ruckman which would make him very tall - they are regularly around 6'5" and very strong as he was playing high level football.
- Luke, a bit of a trouble-maker, called out 'Just break up' and possibly some other seedy things which caused Travis to react angirly and approach Luke Adams and his friends.
- Luke Adams then said to his friends 'Lets smash these c...'
- Dylan Winters, who had walked on ahead returned to back up his mate.
- He told Luke Adams to 'back off', who responded with more threats.
- Winters, who had only about 2 months Mauy Thai training, popped him with medium strength pre-emptive punch.
- it knocked Adams out cold, and he fell and fractured his skull on the pavement, nearly costing him his life.
The punch itself left no injury, it was so mild, yet it was enough to knock out a fairly drunk and very big man. His size undoubtedly contributed to the severity of the fall. He didn't so much as have a bruise on his face. The irony of this situation is that Luke Adams became a cult hero, and went around promoting non-violence. During the case Dylan Winters was vilified by the press as being some kind of thug, even though he had never been in a situation like this, and he had no criminal record.
It's pretty clear went right and what went wrong for Winters. He should have tried to remove his friend from the fight, but once he had been threatened by Adams, the pre-emptive strike was reasonable and appropriate - and why he got off the charge. He could have done much better to prevent the fight in the first place. Here is something to think about:
If he had karate training where we take control (a grab) and strike at the same time, could he have prevented Adams from falling and injuring himself so badly? Should that even be a consideration in a scenario like that? Even if Winters had more training, Adams would have been probably as much as 5 inches taller and very fit. Surely the force was proportionate, but the consequences were not.
The consequences for Winters was extremely severe too - a great argument for doing everything possible to avoid confrontations of this nature. Even though he 'won' the fight, 'won' the court battle, he still lost an awful lot.