This though entered my head immediately after reading the post by Rory Miller on the Money Dance. In a fundamental sense the monkey dance is a social event. As a social event often it is considered fighting. Fighting is illegal so to enter into a fray that is based on a social situation, i.e. the monkey dance, means anything we use in that instance is not self-defense.
In that light I also thought to myself that isn't the monkey dance actually a good high percentage of what most people encounter? If the answer is yes, mostly, then is what we teach in martial arts actually, factually and truthfully self-defense? If not, then when we tell students that what they are learning is self-defense are we not setting up a situation where that person will be implementing actions that are mostly illegal and regardless of perceived circumstances be legally prosecuted?
So, if I have this right and I suspect if I don't I am pretty darn close to the truth. Martial Arts when taught as a combative system, a self-defense system or a fighting system is teaching how to break the law!
Then it begs the question that if MA is actually teaching illegal actions in a self-defense scenario then what should actually be taught for self-defense? If I am correct in my perceptions then all martial arts are illegal for defense especially in the most encountered situations, the monkey dance.
Now, lets leave the monkey dance and enter the world of asocial violence, the predatory violent encounter. This is a totally different situation that warrants far more in-depth study, learning and practice to get the whole picture and this is simply an exercise in thinking it out. I have to think, are martial arts self-defense teachings still illegal since this is, for this discussion, outside the monkey social dance? I guess it would depend on the present moment situation. What attack, the type of attack, the type of technique used in the attack, the ultimate goal of said attack, and then the response you provide - if you even get the chance to provide a response. After all if my understanding remains valid this type of attack against you, the experienced martial artists, means you were acting in a manner that said victim and the assailant knows that he has you and your going down hard and fast.
I suspect that even in the asocial violent encounter your actions, if successful, will depend greatly on how you present your case in court and as you already know that is a whole other can of worms. Use of force comes into play here while it means little or nothing in the monkey dance since the legal perception is both parties involved are guilty of fighting.
See, this subject of self-defense gets more complicated and convoluted as one seeks out knowledge. It makes the onus of the seeker of self-defense to determine true self-defense training that is realistic and within the limits of the social and legal culture and laws critical. I have to wonder, "how many of the self-defense trainers actually know stuff like this and are they actually teaching within those criteria?"