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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Two local self-defense instructors are urging people, especially women, to take a class before an attack happens.

Amanda and Michael Valenti own the School of Self Defense in Carmel. They use their martial arts training to empower girls and women.

Too often, they’ve seen women come into their studio after they’ve been attacked or had a close call.

“You think it`s not going to happen to you, until it does,” said Amanda.

That’s why they teamed up with us, to reveal the top 4 mistakes people make that can put them at greater risk of an assault.

Number 1: Not recognizing who the bad guy is

“Being attacked by a random person – someone you don’t know – makes up about 10% of all assaults,” said Michael. “If you overlook too many flaws you may miss some of the signs that that person is potentially an abusive person.”

Number 2: Not paying attention to your surroundings

“The person who is responsible for your safety no matter where you are or what you’re doing is you,” said Amanda. “You can’t trust other people to take care of you at a party. You need to be watching your drink. You can’t trust that your boyfriend is a nice guy and he’s never going to get mad and try to swing on you. You’re responsible for your own safety.”

Number 3: Not displaying confidence

“I’m not saying you have to be a big, scary, evil person. But if you carry yourself in a way that is going to prevent someone from targeting you,” said Michael. “The bad guy can smell that from a mile away.”

He said the best way to develop real confidence is by developing the skills that will actually help protect yourself.

Number 4: Not knowing when it’s time to act

“How aggressive does someone have to be with me before it’s okay for me to put my hands up or it’s okay for me to fight back in some way?” asked Amanda. “Verbally, the answer is always. It’s always okay. “

When it is time to act, the husband-wife duo teach women how to respond. They even go over how to properly use tools like pepper spray; a tool many women carry, but few have ever actually tested out.

“If you don’t have that muscle memory of flipping that switch when you have an adrenaline rush or when you’re anxious because you`re in a bad situation… having to deal with a little tiny fine motor skill like a safety on pepper spray can be a real make or break moment.”

In the end, the Valenti’s hope people will take self defense training as seriously as they would any other life-saving skill.

“I kind of think about it like a fire extinguisher. You have a fire extinguisher in your house, but you don’t want to use it. But if something lights on fire in your kitchen you’re going to be really glad you have a fire extinguisher,” said Amanda.

There are many self defense schools across Central Indiana. Some are catered to women only. Some offer one day classes or courses over several weeks.

Here are a few schools we found around the Greater Indianapolis area: