When I asked my previous question regarding injury rates in martial arts practice and assault, some users pointed out (quite rightly) that it didn't take account of the severity of injuries sustained.

So, this question is to go with the other one in order to give a balanced view of the effects of training in martial arts on your chances of injury.

Obviously, this does not take into account other potential health benefits of martial arts. However, it will give an idea of injury severity. Again, let's take the United Kingdom, partly because that's where I live, but mostly because if we take the United States, gun violence eclipses all other injury statistics.

According to the UK Police, less than 50% of assaults actually caused injury at all.

See the graph under point 3: Violent Crime Crime in England and Wales: year ending December 2019

But let's ignore these (UK law has a very broad definition of assault) and just look at those where some injury was caused.

This is the minimum type of injury that is classed as Actual Bodily Harm:

  • The loss or breaking of a tooth or teeth
  • Extensive or multiple bruising
  • A displaced, broken nose
  • Minor fractures of bones
  • Minor (but not superficial) cuts requiring medical treatment
  • A recognised psychiatric disorder

Wikipedia for reference who in turn cite the Crown Prosecution Service

How do these compare to the minimum types of injury RECORDED in a martial arts dojo?

  • 3
    I am unclear why this is relevant at all. What are you trying to solve by this? Also, there is no control group of just normal injuries. Note that training martial art could decrease the risk and/or the seriousness of normal injury. Jan 16, 2017 at 18:09
  • @Sardathrion What is a 'Normal injury' and why would it be a suitable control group for this? I am trying to establish which martial arts increase the danger of injury and which decrease the danger of injury. Finding the ones that decrease the danger of injury will be hard (because injuries in assault are rare) but finding those that increase the danger of injury should be easy by looking at injury rates while training. We could look at the effect of learning breakfalls on injury rates too I suppose, falling over is common enough.
    – Huw Evans
    Jan 16, 2017 at 18:19
  • 1
    Variation in style, school, and teacher might be more significant than per art. Also, competition will skew the statistics. Jan 16, 2017 at 19:32
  • 1
    True enough. But that is no reason to ignore what information we do have.
    – Huw Evans
    Jan 16, 2017 at 20:47
  • The overriding injury concerns when being attacked are things like death, permanent impairment, or long hospitalization. I fail to see how a comparison of the minimum legal definition of assault in the UK and the minimum injury report criteria for a martial arts school is relevant to those major concerns.
    – mattm
    Jan 18, 2017 at 22:36

2 Answers 2


Legally speaking, in most states, you are never physically injured from any assault. (In other states, assault is the same as battery).


If you meant battery, then no - there's nothing to suggest anything that happens criminally is any more or less severe than MA practice. Severe injuries can happen - by accident - during practice. Some forms of illegal battery - eg, spitting - induce no physical injuries at all.

  • This was a UK question. But thanks anyway.
    – Huw Evans
    Jan 16, 2017 at 20:48

First off, I'd like to see the link providing proof of this statement:

According to the UK Police, less than 50% of assaults actually caused injury at all.

Secondly, assault is unfriendly, angry and criminal. If you are injured in your dojo, hopefully, you are friends or in some kind of agreeable relationship with the person you are sparring or training with.

To be specific, I would say that yes, in the UK, injuries from assault are traumatizing and more severe than injuries that occur in the dojo.

No, I do not have a link proving that.

  • ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/… See the graph under point 3: Violent crime
    – Huw Evans
    Jul 29, 2020 at 15:08
  • Lol! Downvote! Thanks for the link. It still sounds like a silly question. But I'm an outsider to questions about legalities, etc. Jul 29, 2020 at 15:22
  • Since you provided the link, I upvoted your question. Jul 29, 2020 at 15:24
  • it's not personal. I just don't think someone seeking an answer is likely to find that response useful.
    – Huw Evans
    Jul 29, 2020 at 15:26
  • It's worth pointing out that the UK maintains the original/traditional definitions of "Assault" (a threat or attempt to inflict physical harm or unwanted physical contact) and "Battery" (actually committing the act in question), rather than having joined them together. As such, waving a knife while shouting "I'm gonna gut ya" at someone constitutes Assault, even if the individuals involved maintain their 2 meters of social distancing... Jul 30, 2020 at 16:07

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