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Self-defense preparation emphasized after woman's encounter on Georgia Street

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Posted at 8:52 PM, Jan 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 21:27:53-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Emily Smith was sitting along Georgia Street with her two dogs when it happened.

As she waited for her boyfriend to return from picking up carryout at Kilroy's, Smith saw a man turn the corner and come right for her.

"He was coming fast, very, very fast," Smith said. "That caused me to stand up. My dogs were already alerted. That’s when he started screaming, 'I am going to kill you. I am going to kill your dogs.'"

Smith, a dog trainer, said her training kicked in as she backed up with both dogs at her side barking.

"Getting the words into my dogs, 'It's OK, it's OK,'" she said.

Smith said her dogs were protecting her the entire time, and she wanted them to know she was in control. She told the man to back away.

Eventually, he ran away, and she called police to report what happened. Her story has been shared on Facebook more than 1,500 times. Her message behind it is to always stay alert.

"Especially women. Never think you are less of a target with your dogs. Especially big powerful dogs, because I wasn't. Start exposing your dogs and building that communication. It's so important," Smith said.

Smith's advice is great for people with dogs, but RTV6 went to the School for Self Defense in Carmel to learn what to do if you are alone.

Lessons on self-defense

"You're going to be loud and step back and say, 'Do not come any closer to me," Michael Valenti said. "You establish with your words what you want. A good one, "Please don't hurt me." If they aren't trying to hurt you they will stop."

But if they don't, Valenti said to take all your fingers and fire them into your attacker's eye. Another skill is to fight back against your instincts.

"If I grab your wrist and pull you, you pull your hand out. You've done nothing to stop me from grabbing you again. But instead you grab your free hand and jab into my eye, you've attacked and now the opportunity has been given to you to run," Valenti said.

Valenti has three important takeaways: always pay attention to your environment, avoid conflict and learn how to deescalate situations to avoid fighting altogether.

The School of Self Defense will host a free class at 6 p.m. Jan. 25, while the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will also hold two free classes at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 and Jan. 28 at Northwest District Roll Call located at 3821 Industrial Blvd.

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