The claimant was in a martial arts class. The defendant was the instructor who carried out a “take-down manoeuvre” on the claimant, injuring her knee.
Both sides brought expert evidence. We instructed Eric Baskind.
Both experts agreed that sparring was an important part of martial arts training.
They agreed that the manoeuvre undertaken by the defendant was an appropriate technique if the claimant was aware that she was undergoing a free sparring session with her instructor.
They also agreed that, if the training session was of a kind in which the claimant was unaware that such techniques were to be used, then the take-down technique was inappropriate.
So the whole case turned on the factual dispute as to the nature of the training session from what the claimant knew or ought to have known about the take-down technique to be used on her.
Her case was that the move was carried out without any warning in circumstances where she had no reason to expect the move to be undertaken and thus she sustained injury to her knee including a dislocated patella.
The take-down was with the legs and she had thought she was sparring with her hands only.
In effect, the claim then failed for factual reasons.
The Judge found the claimant was wrong in saying that she had not realised she was part of a full training session.
In short, he found she knew she was in a free sparring session and certainly had the technique, knowledge and confidence to expect a manoeuvre of this sort to take place.
He added: “In my Judgment it is highly significant that at no point did the claimant challenge the defendant as to why he had undertaken the take-down manoeuvre. She had not, for example said, ‘What did you do that for?’ Or, ‘I did not know that take-downs were part of this bout’.
The claimant was a lady well able to stand her own ground as had been seen in the court and she would, in the Judges view, have commented in some way at the time or immediately after the incident that she thought the manoeuvre applied by the defendant was inappropriate in some way.
The Judge accepted she was a willing participant in the class who had instructions as to the nature of the bout and that it would include kicks, punches and take-downs and she knew or ought to have known that.
Noakes -v- Woofindin. Leeds County Court, 16 November 2009.