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Case Law Tae Kwon Dough Tracey Benson Solicitor (Personal Injury) Slater & Gordon You might think that the title of this article is rather a brash and inappropri- ate way to describe the misfortune of my client Rachel Phillips who sustained severe injuries whilst taking part in a karate lesson at a martial arts school in Basingstoke. However, this was the caption printed on page 3 of The Sun newspaper after I obtained damages of £200k for the Claimant. My colleagues found it highly amusing that I featured on page 3 of The Sun but our marketing department assures me that this is the most read page of any tabloid newspa- per and the best advertising space one could hope for! Rachel was a novice at karate and after her fourth beginners lesson she asked the instructor some questions and he engaged in some sparring with her. She had only covered basic footwork and punches. With no prior warning or even any discussion concerning “throws” or “foot sweeps” or any karate move that involves being manhandled the Defendant performed a move (which he later told us was a “foot sweep”) which 4 involved using one of his legs to sweep the Claimant off her feet into the air and then throw her to the ground with extreme force. The force of the contact caused her left leg to twist so awkwardly and with such force that she ruptured her ACL; tore her PCL; tore the NCL and sustained a significant injury to the LCL and the Postero-lateral corner. The Claimant endured 3 operations and extensive rehabilita- tion. She went through 3 years of hell before she reached an end point in her physical recovery and is unable to run, squat, kneel or do anything particularly active with her children. The case was pursued on the basis that the Claimant had not even started learning any form of throws or moves involving the lower limbs and was com- pletely unprepared when the instruc- tor performed the move upon her. In correspondence we established that the move that he was demonstrating was a foot sweep. We argued that the move was performed using highly excessive force and should only have been performed on somebody more experienced and with warning and that the Claimant could not have consented to the risk of injury by taking part in a karate lesson as this particular type of injury could not have occurred during sparring. We were met with a denial of liability on the basis that the foot sweep was executed correctly, without undue force and was not misjudged. They did not accept that the Claimant was thrown into the air and stated that it would not be appropriate in a sparring situation to warn an opponent of any move they were intending to use. They maintained that the move had been practiced in class and that the Claimant had indeed seen the move and performed it in previous lessons. They also quoted the case of Cope v. Cassells (1990) and were of the view that when taking part in martial arts she accepted the risk of injury whilst taking part in a contact sport.