LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A self-defense instructor is getting more requests to do training sessions as shoppers hit the stores for holiday gifts. He said you don’t need a black belt to protect yourself when you’re out shopping. One of the best things you can do is make yourself a hard target.

Impact Martial Arts owner and chief instructor James Nicholas teaches people how to protect themselves in everyday situations.

“A lot of our clients that we have and parents that are professionals in the corporate world, they're always looking for this time of year--for their staff to be safe so they always reach out,” Nicholas said.

Shopper Beverly Ross said those safety skills can save you.

“My biggest concern is out in the parking lots coming and going to and from the store,” Ross said.

But Ross said you aren’t always safe inside stores either.

“Someone did try to snatch my purse out of a shopping cart,” Ross said.

Fortunately, the man ran away after she yelled. That happened years ago, but ever since Ross leaves everything at home except her essentials.

“I’m just more aware of my surroundings, that’s the main thing, and I don’t carry the purse,” Ross said.

Nicholas said she’s on the right track. Everything he needs is in a wallet phone case, which he keeps in his front pocket.

“If you can take the purse and leave it at home and take what you need to have shopping. I need to have my card, I need to have my driver’s license,” Nicholas said.

A lot of the curriculum in his course entails learning how to shop smart.

“Don’t fumble around packaging and keys and everything else. Get in the car, lock the doors, then mess around with something if you need to,” Nicholas said.

He said if you’re not with a shopping buddy and feel unsafe, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

“If your gut feeling tells you something ain't right, go back inside the mall or go back in the store and ask the general manager or assistant manager to escort you out to your car,” Nicholas said.

He also says don’t be so overloaded with shopping bags that you can’t protect yourself.