I heard it again last week. Then I heard it in a women's self defense setting not long after. In fact, I've heard it said in a variety of reality based self defense seminars, in traditional martial arts clubs, and even on t.v.
"It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6"
Well, yes it is. So why a rant?
Because most people who say it are being irresponsible. Most people use it as a blanket statement to avoid answering legitimate questions over the reasonable use of force in self defense. In one 'reality-based' women's self defense seminar, the statement was used when someone was hesitant to throat stomp their attacker after throwing multiple strikes to the face and legs. The attack on her was a wrist grab. Instead of answering the question, the instructor fell back on the good old 12/6 response. That was irresponsible and misleading.
Women in the class would either come out thinking any amount of force is fine in self defense, or would still question what is reasonable, which could translate into hesitation in an actual encounter. Actually, neither outcome would be desirable.
This is but one of the examples. In a life and death situation, when your own life is in imminent danger, the statement hold up. If you can't get away, fight with everything you've got. Let the chips fall where they may afterwards.
The problem is that the statement is rarely examined or broken down. And usually it's used as an 'out' for an irresponsible instructor, or by one that doesn't have a clue about the law. Sadly, these 'teachers' are often providing instruction to impressionable beginners who believe they are qualified to provide accurate and responsible direction.
In my Mind the Gap series, I talked about how your motivation, goal, or desired outcome in an attack should be to get away. The question of using force was the subject of one of the posts. Basically you can use as much force as you need to in order to negate the threat enough to allow you to get away.
Knowing that, be cautious of any instructor who tells you "It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6" when you have questions or concerns.
In truth, this is but one part in a larger rant I have on the state of women's self defense instruction, but that's a post for another day.
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