Last, but definitely not least: the Third Fight. It has been said that it’s better to be judged by twelve than carried by six. I can’t argue with that, but what do we do if we find ourselves being judged? The Third Fight takes place in the legal system and it may come in a variety of forms, from encountering law enforcement, to criminal court, or being on the receiving end of civil suit. In any case, the key to winning this fight is preparation and the ability to articulate facts.
The most common manifestation of this Fight is with law enforcement. If you ever have to defend yourself, you should definitely notify the police. Make sure that you tell the dispatcher if you or your attacker is armed and/or injured. When the police arrive, be calm and tell them what happened. Tell the officers that you want to press charges against your attacker, even if you don’t think it was a big deal. Pressing charges shows that you are the victim, rather than a participant in mutual combat. Taking the time to make sure the incident is well documented by law enforcement will help protect you from criminal and civil liability.
Another thing that will protect you is understanding “reasonable force,” which is the force that a reasonable person would use in a similar circumstance. Vague, I know. Basically, this means that you shouldn’t ever escalate the violence higher than what is being used against you, or could likely be used against you by your attacker. It also means that you won’t continue to hurt your attacker after he is no longer a threat. Consider that there are only three things an attacker may want from you: your property, your body or your life. If it is your property that the attacker is after, it would be difficult to justify using violence against him; just give him your money. On the other hand, if the attacker’s motivation is to hurt you, rape you, kidnap you, etc. then use whatever force is reasonable to protect yourself. If the attacker is trying to kill you, do whatever it takes to not die.
You should train to use reasonable force and to recognize the difference between low and high-levels of violence. The other thing you need to be able to do is to articulate why you acted the way you did. As long as you can honestly explain that what you did was reasonable, you have a good chance of winning the Third Fight.