Responding to Threats: Level Four

In the last part of our series we looked at Threat Level Three which is where someone approaches you physically with the intent to cause you harm. If you haven’t read that article yet, please click here.

Let’s move now to Threat Level Four.

[Because of Covid 19 restrictions, we are not able to record an instructional video in this part of the series.]

Threat Level Four is where you are with other people (e.g. family, friends, strangers who are victims). You could run away to protect yourself, but you don’t want to leave other people alone to face an attacker. What can you do?

Response Level Four is where we can choose to use a physical restraint technique.

The attack could cause either “bodily harm” or “substantial bodily harm.” We looked at “bodily harm” in our article and video on Threat Level Three. Substantial bodily harm is anything that causes temporary but substantial pain or injury to another person. Losing teeth, broken bones or needing stitches can qualify as “substantial.” A knock-out punch can also be viewed as “substantial bodily harm” since it may cause injury to the brain (even if only temporary).

A physical restraint can be as simple as grabbing someone’s arms and holding them back from hitting someone. It can expand to holding a person with both hands around their body to even more complex holds and locks. Pushing or pulling an attacker away from the object of their attack is another option.

Generally speaking the type of restraint or hold you use on an attacker should match the level of danger. Stop using the restraint when it’s no longer necessary (e.g. children have escaped safely and you can, too, or police arrive and take control of the attacker). Inflicting unnecessary injury to an attacker could get you into legal problems.

Legal Considerations

Our response should be in proportion to the action. Legally, assault and battery is –

Two separate offenses against the person that when used in one expression may be defined as any unlawful andunpermitted touching of another. Assault is an act that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent, harmful, or offensive contact. The act consists of a threat of harm accompanied by an apparent, present ability to carry out the threat. Battery is a harmful or offensive touching of another. Legal Dictionary, The Free Dictionary.com

When learning how to physically restrain someone, your instruction should include an understanding of how the various restraint techniques will affect the attacker. It is possible to permanently damage or even kill another person with physical restraints, so be sure you know what you’re doing before using them.

A judge and jury could determine your future based on your physical response to an attacker.

Personal Considerations

Wrestling, Judo, Jutusu, Aikido and Kung Fu techniques work well in physical restraint responses. Remember not to use a physical restraint that inflicts more injury than is warranted. Physical response should match, not exceed, physical threats.

Next Time

What do you do if physical restraints won’t keep the attacker from hurting you or others and you need to take your response up a level? We’ll take a look at that in the next part of our series.

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