Liability of martial arts teachers

Liability of martial arts teachers
Part 2 The liability of martial arts teachers in Hapkido training
From Dr. Jörg-Michael Günther and GM Gerhard E. Hermanski

Editor's Note: The legal texts provided in this article by the authors of our magazine have been scrupulously researched by the authors, but do not constitute legal advice! This article serves our readers only as a guide! Since our magazine is published worldwide, other laws may apply in your country of origin. This article has highlighted the legal situation in Germany in the HAPKIDO magazine Flipbook. A liability can neither be derived from our publisher nor from the authors . If in doubt, contact the legal advice of your trust in your region! (uw)
Martial arts teachers have at the Technikv Law A high level of responsibility for their students. As a coach, you should always be aware of this responsibility from a legal point of view. However, martial arts are not among the numerically injury intensive sports. Classic budo disciplines such as hapkido, karate or judo are statistically less dangerous in relation to football, handball or tennis. However, it can of course be in case exercises, throws, grip and strangulation techniques, punches and kicks, which belong to the Hapkido repertoire, come to sports injuries. Causes are often carelessness, not optimally executed attack and defense techniques, insufficient training or lack of fitness / responsiveness. Bruised spots, strains, swelling, and slight overstretching caused by the combat partner may well be "normal" and accepted circumstances of intense martial arts training. It is partly also about a "hardening". Since the well-being of the injured person is affected only for a short time and not significantly, the legal marginality threshold is hardly reached , A liability of the trainer and the fighting partner are then eliminated from the outset. Normal Kampfblessuren are accepted after the self-understanding of the participants in Hapkido. Finally, technical errors in the preparation and execution of certain handling and throwing techniques are hardly avoidable, so that their avoidance as such does not already belong to the traffic duties to be observed by the fighters. Unfortunately, in rare cases, severe sports accidents can occur between martial artists. Regardless of the severity of the injury, the case law assumes that you do not have to adhere to the sporting rules of Hapkido. For example, you should not go over the recognizable pain point with levers and always strictly observe a knocking. Agreements on an exercise must be complied with, a trainer must point out special risks and always have an eye on the level of training and the individual abilities of the participants. Of legal importance is the aspect of consent. Anyone who practices martial arts complies with an always-existing risk of injury and can not hold anyone responsible for any injury. The normal risk of life in the practice of martial arts can take no one off. There is a relatively large liability in this respect, if all have adhered to the rules and principles of fairness and, unfortunately, enters a more serious sports accident at Hapkido , In the language of the highest German civil court: Damaged and injured persons are exposed to the martial arts to the same extent a risk, which is only accidentally realized in the finally injured. It would be unreasonable if the injurer would have to adhere , Such cases are then to be delineated in practice from cases where due diligence duties were clearly violated by a martial arts teacher.

Of course, martial arts teachers have special due diligence requirements, including, for example, the proper condition of training items such as sticks. The burden of proof for their fault lies regularly with the injured party. In practice, an unexplained or misleading explanation and training instruction often leads to an exercise leading to injury. Sometimes martial arts teachers do not adequately take into account possible incorrect reactions of a student and, for example, his lack of fitness and flexibility or his (low) level of education. The legal principles will be explained on the basis of some case studies from the case-law. They come from related dueling sports such as Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo and Karate, since published liability cases from the Hapkido are not known, which can be considered a good sign. However, the following liability principles from other budo areas are legally transferable without restriction to the Hapkido.

In a tragic case of the Higher Regional Court of Cologne, his pupil suffered a fracture of the sixth and seventh cervical vertebra in a throwing technique of a karate teacher when he fell head first on the exercise mat. The self-defense exercise should show how to get out of a headlock. During the trial, the martial arts student had described how martial arts master (7th Dan Karate) had summoned him and asked him to put his arm around his neck without further explanation. Then the martial arts instructor threw him up, resulting in paraplegia. The court rightly ruled that the martial arts teacher sued for damages and damages for pain had violated his due diligence obligations. Without explanations to carry out the exercise and faulty reactions of his pupil whose sudden rotary motion - not to take into account leads to liability. The martial arts expert had criticized the lack of safeguards in the process, such as the choice of the variant of walking together with the student. The martial arts teacher was sentenced to pay damages, etc. ,

In another case, a martial arts teacher had a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament tear and a meniscal injury during a "Martial Arts Taster Training." At the injured Judo beginner, he had suddenly performed the so-called "big outer sickle" during a demonstration. Due to lack of knowledge of the student of case techniques it came to the accident. The martial arts teacher said that because of the "stable state" of the student, he believed that he had judo skills. The court ruled that it was necessary for him to have a clear understanding of the novice status. The aspect of the disclaimer, as he could intervene in sibling combat partners, in the relationship martial arts martial arts students are out of the question , The court sentenced the martial arts teacher to liability because he acted recklessly and violated the principle of fairness. This case vividly illustrates how important a reasonable communication between martial arts teacher and student is. When in doubt, the martial arts instructor must always clarify in exercises with high injury potential what level of education and physical condition a student currently has.

The Karlsruhe district court once again emphasized the special features of sparring when martial arts training was carried out, and a pupil was injured by the martial arts teacher: "Even though it was a sparring practice in which full contact was fought under competitive conditions, the defendant was As a teacher and the related superior training experience and practice required to take into account the inferior skills of the plaintiff and not to strike with such force that they in the case of cover errors of the plaintiff - which were to be counted on the circumstances - serious injury lead. "Again, the martial arts teacher had to adhere rightly.
However, the liability of martial arts teachers also has clear limits and must have them. The Cologne Higher Regional Court has decided, for example, that a judo teacher is not liable if he orders a dangerous exercise appropriate to the training structure and level of education of the student. Here, the martial arts teacher must consider factors such as temporary power creation of the student, lack of technology and possible incorrect reactions. The judo instructor had ordered the so-called Seoi-Nage litter, which was carried out by an advanced Judo student (brown belt) with the injured more injured plaintiff. There had not been any indications that the plaintiff was not mastering necessary case techniques or was too exhausted. Here is the normal risk of martial arts exercise, which must be accepted. The OLG Hamm also ruled that exceptionally in a beginner's course in martial arts Shaolin Kempo an overhead throw does not lead to the liability of the exercise leader against a injured martial arts student, if the thrown beginner has already completed a sufficient fall school. In that case, the plaintiff had suffered a fracture in the thoracic spine area. In a case of the LG Trier again someone in the training fight at Taekwondo no safety shoes (so-called Safeties) had worn; the starting of the training partner led to this in the lower leg fracture. The court ruled that although the instructor had a duty to point out specific hazards and to ensure proper clothing. The injured plaintiff, the accident as a very experienced Taekwondokämpfer but attributed to himself, because he had admitted to the fight without security measures. From the verdict: "The leadership of a sports school for martial arts justified for the defendant, who is also training manager, the legal duty to keep harmful events from the students. However, this does not mean that the defendant has to answer for all imaginable damages. "He is to be fully agreed. As a martial arts student, you can not "give up" any personal responsibility to the martial arts teacher.

Summarizing the case law on the liability of martial arts teachers, the following principles emerge:

1. Those who practice martial arts agree to a certain risk of injury and can not blame the martial arts teacher for every training accident. The self-responsibility of martial arts students comes to a great weight.

2. Martial arts instructors must explain violent exercises very carefully and must always consider the level of education of the student and their possible incorrect reactions from the outset.

3. Recognizable unconcentrated and overly exhausted students are to be excluded from martial arts teacher of injury exercises.

4. When in doubt, students should ask and clarify exactly how their training and fitness status is.

5. A careful "monitoring" of the entire training process is a must for any martial arts teacher.

6. When "sparring" with students, the martial arts instructor must perform punches and kicks so dosed / controlled that any cover errors of the student do not lead to serious injuries.

7. At a higher level of education of a pupil also appropriate "dangerous" exercises may be carried out according to the level of education, because the risks involved belong to the normal martial arts risk.

BGH NJW 1993,2173 (minor lacerated wound); BGH NJW 1983,2939 (negligible bruising)
OLG Cologne VersR 1983, 929; Palandt / Thomas, 66th ed. 2007, § 823 BGB Note X

BGHZ 63,144; OLG Celle NJW-RR 2000,559
OLG Cologne VersR 1983, 929
OLG Cologne VersR 1983, 929
OLG Celle NJW-RR 2000,559
OLG Celle NJW-RR 2000,559

Portrait JuergGuenther Gr Portrait Gerhard E Hermanski2 Grand Master Gerhard E. Hermanski
8. Dan Hankido Hapkido
CEO of the Federal Academy of Korean Martial Arts
Instructor for security,
Personal protection and judicial training

Dr. Jörg-Michael Günther
Legal Advisory Council of the Federal Academy of Korean Martial Arts
Author and lecturer in sports and criminal law,
1. Dan Hanguldo / 2. Kup Hankido Hapkido
Gerhard Hermanski

8. Dan Hankido Hapkido, 
CEO der Bundesakademie koreanischer Kampfkünste, 
Lehrtrainer für Sicherheits-, Personenschutz- und Justizausbildung