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Martial arts teachers naturally have special duties of care, which also include, for example, the proper condition of training objects such as sticks. The burden of proof for their fault is regularly on the injured person. In practice, a lack of clarification or misleading explanation and training instructions often lead to an exercise leading to injury. Sometimes martial arts teachers also do not take into account possible wrong reactions of a student and, for example, their lack of fitness and flexibility or their (low) level of training. The legal principles will be explained using a few example cases from the case law. They come from related duel sports such as judo, jiu-jitsu, taekwondo and karate, since published liability cases from hapkido are not known, which can be seen as a good sign. The following liability principles from other budo areas are legally transferable to Hapkido, however.
In a tragic case at the Cologne Higher Regional Court, a karate instructor's throwing technique caused his pupil to suffer a fracture of the sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae when he fell headfirst onto the training mat. The self-defense exercise should show how to free yourself from a headlock. During the trial, the martial arts student had described how the martial arts master (7th Dan Karate) called him and asked him to put his arm around his neck without further explanation. Then the martial arts teacher threw him up, which ultimately resulted in paraplegia. The court rightly ruled that the martial arts teacher sued for damages and compensation for pain and suffering had violated his duty of care. If the exercise is not explained and the pupil's sudden reaction to incorrect reactions does not count, this leads to liability. The martial arts expert had criticized the lack of security measures in the process, for example the choice of the variant of going down with the student. The martial arts teacher was sentenced to pay pain and suffering ,
In another case, a student had suffered a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament and a meniscus injury during a "martial art taster training" by the martial arts teacher. He had suddenly carried out the so-called "large outside sickle" during a demonstration at the damaged beginner judo. The student's lack of knowledge of fall techniques led to an accident. The martial arts teacher claimed that because of the student's "stable position", he believed that he had judo skills. The court ruled that he had to be clear of beginner status. The aspect of the disclaimer, as it can intervene with peers of the same rank, should not be considered in the relationship between martial arts teachers and martial arts students , The court sentenced the martial arts teacher to liability for acting lightly and violating the principle of fairness. This case clearly shows how important a reasonable communication between martial arts teacher and student is. When in doubt, the martial arts teacher should always clarify the level of training and physical condition of a student during exercises with a high potential for injury.
The Karlsruhe Regional Court, in turn, emphasized the particularities when sparring was carried out during martial arts training and a student was injured by the martial arts teacher: “Even if it was sparring training that involved full contact under competitive conditions, the defendant was due to him Position as a teacher and the associated superior training experience and practice obligated to take into account the inferior skills of the plaintiff and not to strike with such force that they could cause serious injuries if the plaintiff failed to cover the situation - which was to be expected under the circumstances lead here. ”Here too the martial arts teacher had to be liable.
If you summarize the case law on the liability of martial arts teachers, the following principles result:
1. Anyone who practices martial arts accepts a certain risk of injury and cannot hold the martial arts teacher responsible for every training accident. The personal responsibility of martial arts students is of great importance.
2. Martial arts teachers must explain injuries that are prone to injury very carefully and must always take into account the student's level of training and their possible wrong reactions from the outset.
3. Discernibly unconcentrated and excessively exhausted pupils are to be excluded from the martial arts teacher from exercises that are prone to injury.
4. If in doubt, ask the students exactly and clarify what their level of training and fitness is.
5. Careful "monitoring" of the entire training process is a basic duty of every martial arts teacher.
6. When “sparring” with students, the martial arts teacher has to perform punches and kicks in a controlled manner so that any mistakes in coverage of the student do not lead to serious injuries.
7. If a student has a higher level of education, appropriate "dangerous" exercises may also be carried out according to the level of education, because the associated risks are part of the normal martial arts risk.
BGH NJW 1993.2173 (minor laceration); BGH NJW 1983, 2939 (minor bruising)
OLG Cologne VersR 1983,929; Palandt / Thomas, 66th edition 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