While it is true that professional fighters could cause serious injury to others if they engage in street fights, does that mean that their hands are weapons? Do they have to register their weapons?
Professional fighters don’t have to register weapons. But, it’s not as simple as it seems. Even though they don’t have to register their weapons, professional fighters may still be able to use them as deadly weapons in court.
Before you decide to fight, there are important legal considerations that anyone who has been trained in martial arts should consider. You must also register your martial arts skills by law in one location.
So where did the idea that professional fighters use deadly weapons in their hands come from?
We believe there are several scenarios that could lead to the enduring myth that professional fighters need to register their weapons as “deadly arms”.
Boxers Can Be Braggarts
This is not a mean thing. Boxing is about a show.
Yes, professional boxers are braggarts by their very nature. This means that there is a good chance that the myth was created in this way.
Another interesting apocryphal story is that Joe Louis, a professional heavyweight fighter, paid police to show up at each weigh-in and register his deadly weapons.
Although we don’t know for sure if this actually happened, we can tell you that it wasn’t legal registration for a professional fighter. It was simply another boxer bragging to a crowd.
The Legacy of World War II
Some claim that professional fighters need to register their skills stems from the American occupation in Japan. The American occupiers wanted to be sure that they understood what was happening because there was war.
Martial arts instructors, schools, and even individuals who were trained in martial arts had to register their martial art background and get permission before they could teach or practice martial arts.
This policy was, however, not brought back to America and was ended in Japan after the Americans withdrew.
Chancers in Search of A Payout
A cottage industry has also emerged from the notion that professional fighters must register their weapons.
Young men want to impress others and there is no better way than to get a “license to kill hands”.
The Internet loves to fulfill a need no matter how ridiculous it may seem. In practice, this means that there are many websites who will gladly sell registrations (which don’t necessarily mean anything) at a bargain price of $19.99 to $99.99.
They will send you a small plastic card, which is your “Martial Arts License“, in exchange for your cooperation.
Professional fighters can use deadly weapons in their hands
It doesn’t really matter from where the myth of registration came, the truth is that even if you fight someone and train in martial arts, if you are brought before a judge, the judge could still convict you of assault with deadly weapons.
If you think about it, this is quite logical. You could be charged with assault with deadly weapon if you, for instance, grabbed a rolling pin from someone and beat them with it.
Rolling pins are not required to be registered.
Texas says that professional fighters’ hands can be deadly weapons
Jamual Parks was arrested in Texas for assault in 2015. He had a lot of MMA training.
The Assistant District Attorney stated to reporters that he was an MMA fighter and therefore it was appropriate for us to charge him with deadly weapons.
Jamual pled guilty, and the judge accepted. He was sentenced for 6 years.
Jamual did not register his hands. It didn’t matter what he did with his hands.
The US Territory of Guam says Martial Artists must Register
All martial artists in Guam must register with the government. This law applies to all martial arts where the hands or feet can be used as deadly weapons. After registration, if you are convicted of assault and convicted again, it will automatically be upgraded to an aggravated assault charge, which is a much more serious offense.
Are You able to act in self-defense?
You may be thinking about this now. Hang on! Do you think that if I choose to take up martial arts, I won’t be allowed protect myself or others? This is a crazy idea!
It would be correct. You would be right.
You could end up in court if you get too aggressive with someone, such as Ninja Warrior TM. Even if you use reasonable force, you may have to appear in court to discuss the matter.
However, there are certain situations that can be justified in self-defense. For example, if someone pulls out a knife or a firearm on you.
The laws that govern self defense also apply to defense of others. While you must act responsibly, it is acceptable to defend another citizen, especially an elderly or child.
This is the key ingredient: End the threat, not the person
It’s perfectly acceptable to break an arm and take a knife from someone else. No one is charged with assaulting someone with a deadly weapon to stop a threat.
If you do this, you are going too far.
Once a threat has been neutralized, it is time to stop attacking and defending.
What is the likelihood that a professional fighter’s hands will be classified as a deadly weapon?
This is obvious, but it’s very likely that you will get into trouble if you attack someone before they attack you.
Although professional fighters do not have to register their weapons as deadly weapons, they can still be dangerous weapons. A court will view a trained martial artist who fights in bars and streets. Very poorly indeed.
For example, simple misdemeanor attack can lead to up to two years imprisonment in the US with a possible fine and/or probationary sentence.
You could spend a lot of time in federal or state prison if they make it felony assault. You could face the death penalty if you kill someone.
It is also important to consider civil liability
You could be civilly liable if you use force in a fight that is not in self defense or is considered inappropriate.
This could mean that you may be forced by the courts to pay large amounts of money, often substantial, in compensation.
You may be able, in certain states, to sue the other person for damages even if they are completely at fault. This should be a wake-up call that you should only use the minimum amount of force, even in self defense. These are Hawaii, Missouri and Nebraska, New Jersey (North Dakota), Tennessee, and New Jersey.
Here are some tips for martial artists to avoid trouble
- 25 US states have “stand your ground” laws that protect your rights and those of others. So long as you have a legal right to be there.
- Self-defense is legal in 22 states.
- Castle Doctrine guarantees are available to most, but not all states. They allow you to use any amount of force necessary to defend yourself and your home from an attacker. Although this is not a license for murder, it can offer additional protection to martial artists who are a bit too passionate.
- Always shout your intent to fight back. This can often stop an attacker from attacking you before violence happens.
- Do not attack someone unless you feel under attack. While you don’t have the right to punch them, you shouldn’t make them feel threatened.
- Always use the appropriate force. You will not use more force if an 85-year old is attacking you on a walking platform than if you were attacked by a 250-lb. footballer.
- Stop fighting once the attack has been stopped.
- Do not try to resolve conflict.
- Pay attention to the self-defense laws wherever you may be.
Are professional fighters required to register their weapons? They do not. However, if you have been trained to use deadly weapons with your hands in Guam, you will need to register with the authorities.
However, this does not mean you can’t get in a fight. It is possible to be charged for assault with a deadly instrument even though you do not have to register your weapons.
There are many ways to decrease your chances of getting into trouble, but you shouldn’t start a fight without being attacked.