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How I got empowered during free Columbus State Self Defense class

Regina Fox



At 24 years old, I’ve already experienced two flashers in my life, and I’d consider myself pretty lucky given today’s climate. If either of those situations had escalated, I’m not confident that I would’ve been able to protect myself—a very scary thought in hindsight. But after just one class with the Columbus State Self Defense Training Program, I’m sure I gleaned enough knowledge and skills to give attackers a run for their money.

The program was first established in 2017 as a grassroots movement to empower men and women to trust their guts, use their voices, and employ a takedown if necessary. It combines fitness training and martial arts for a 90-minute class offered three times a week that Columbus State faculty, staff, students, and community members can advance through completely free of charge.

Photos: Leah Conway

I was handed a gray shirt upon arrival, indicating my beginner status. Also in the class were a few fellow gray shirts, some yellow, and one blue (the highest rank). We warmed up our bodies with some stretching and a fun and challenging HIIT game. I tried to keep my composure during this, but I was sweating through my Columbus State-issued gi pants. To my relief, we were instructed to take a seat afterwards.

“What are some tips on how to minimize your chances of being attacked?” coach Devan Quitter asked the class. Quitter, along with Coach Sean Foster and Coach Jason Apt, spearheaded the program. All three are employed through Columbus State Community College and have extensive backgrounds in Jiu-Jitsu, among other disciplines.

“Scan the crowd often,” one student said.

“Ask for an escort,” said another.

“Trust your gut,” said one student who went on to tell a story about surviving an attack using her self-defense training (“I was prepared to hip toss [my attacker],” she said).

Nodding in agreement, Quitter affirmed her students. “Your first line of defense is always going to be your fitness level and your self-defense awareness. Second line is your body and your voice.”

This part of the lesson I found particularly compelling. As a young woman, I’ve never felt entitled to announce when someone is making me feel uncomfortable. To avoid making a scene, I’ll sit back and stomach inappropriate comments or even contact. Turns out, that’s the stark opposite of what you should do in those instances.

“Don’t shell up, that’s what the predator wants you to do,” Foster enforced.
Instead, the coaches encourage their students to correct their posture, make eye contact, and be vocal when they sense somebody getting a little too close.


“F*ck politeness,” as guest coach Sarah Mase likes to put it.
Letting a predator know that you see them and that you’re not afraid will significantly diminish the likelihood of you being attacked. However, if the predator continues to advance, Columbus State Self Defense students won’t be going down without a fight.

The first step of hand-to-hand self defense is leaning into the situation, literally. Quitter and Foster demonstrated how to throw your arms up in front of your face, put your hand on top of your head, and crash into your attacker’s chest—taking them off guard while also putting yourself in a more competitive position. Next, they showed how to establish power with both body position and grip. And then, my favorite part: the takedown. I was equally surprised and proud when I was able to hike Foster’s muscle-y body up on my hip and launch him back-first into the mat below with shockingly little effort (not a brag on my strength, just a testament to the power of leverage and the excellent instructors at CSCC). Ah, baby’s first hip throw.

“Too often we allow ourselves this idea that bad things are just things you hear on the news or on Facebook,” said Foster. “I think people should be more proactive in their own safety.”
He’s right. We see the worst being shared on social media and being reported on the nightly news, but we never think it’s going to happen to us. Columbus State Self Defense Training Program challenges participants to not only put themselves in those unimaginable situations mentally, but how to escape them physically, too.

“I believe having a self-defense knowledge base is important at all points of life,” said Quitter. “We tend to unknowingly put ourselves in dangerous positions. Learning and maintaining the ability to keep yourself safer can literally make the difference in a life or death situation.

Columbus State Self Defense Training Program meets Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays in Delaware hall on the Columbus State campus. For more information, visit

When I'm not weaving a beautiful tapestry of words, I'm likely digging through jewels and vinyls at an antique shop near you.

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Things To Do

Brick by Brick: Lego popup bar is the ultimate nostalgia trip

614now Staff



With playsets encompassing everything from Harry Potter to Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Legos remain a go-to for kids of all ages. Now, the colorful little blocks are preparing for their greatest team-up of all—with booze, of course!

A new popup event called "The Brick Bar" is bringing the fun of Legos to a bar near you for an exclusive 2-day engagement this March.

Bringing over 1 million blocks to the party, the event organizers will transform The Kitchen at 231 E Livingston Ave. with unique lego sculptures, as well as an abundance of blocks for people to shape into their own creations. Prizes for the best builders, DJs, and a ping-pong table (built entirely from Lego bricks, of course) are also in the mix for your nostalgia-driven enjoyment.

For ticket information, dates, and more, visit The Brick Bar Eventbrite page or follow them on Facebook.

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Things To Do

Hit Your Peak: 3 worth-the-drive ski slopes near Columbus

Asa Herron



The cursed Ohio Winter Monster has made its presence known to all with its 5pm sunsets, snow storms, and seasonal depression for all. How are you going to fight back against the gloom this year? It may seem like it’s impossible to do fun things with your friends or to stay active in the winter, but I’m here to tell you that not all hope is lost. Finding a new hobby is a great way to kick your winter woes to the curb and start the new decade on a good foot.

Skiing can be a great way to casually exercise with friends and resuscitate your serotonin levels. Here are three high quality places to ski within driving distance of Columbus for you to check out.


Located in Zanesfield, Mad River Mountain is about an hour's drive northwest of Columbus. They have the most reasonable prices of all the nearby ski resorts. Plus, their on-property bar, The Loft, has 12 taps of craft beers on rotation to add a little more fun to the night. Mad River is open until 1 a.m. on Fridays, too, so you’re getting a full Friday night of flurries.

Mad River is home to over 20 trails (spanning 3.9 miles) and four terrain parks making it the largest ski resort in Ohio. They also bolster ten ski lifts (the most in Ohio) and are tied with Snowtrails for the largest vertical drop in the state with their 300 foot slope. An added perk of Mad River is that they just built a new $6.2 million facility in 2016 to replace the space they lost to a fire in 2015. Plus, most of their trails are designated “easy” difficulty. Mad River has everything you need to have a relaxing, affordable day of skiing.

Details on hours and pricing can be found at


Founded in 1961, Snowtrails is Ohio’s oldest ski resort. It is located in Mansfield, so also about an hour drive north. This resort is only slightly more expensive, with lift rates starting at $31 for midweek evenings and $52 for all-day on the weekends, with skis, boots, and pole rentals are $37. If there’s one day this month that you visit Snowtrails, let it be January 25 for their mid-season party. Get ready for an outdoor DJ, a custom built snowbar, and a fireworks show 30 minutes after the slopes close for the night. Not into skiing? No problem! The party is free and open to the public, so let your expert friends hit the slopes while you hit the spirits at the snow bar.

Snowtrails is the second largest resort in the state with six ski lifts and 3.3 miles of trails. The majority of their trails are designated “intermediate” difficulty, so more experienced skiers will enjoy their time here.

More information can be found at www.


Boston Mills & Brandywine is the farthest ski resort from Columbus on this list, but great for a full weekend away. This quaint resort is in Peninsula, OH is a two hour drive from Central Ohio. Their pricing is $40 after 3:30 p.m. and $45 for an all-day pass. Staying another night? Come back on Saturday for $5 Late Nights admission from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM.

Boston Mill & Brandywine ski resort is known for being especially conducive to beginning skiers. They offer high quality lessons and will walk you through the process. This is the place to go if you have “stupid” questions about skiing, or just want to tube. However, they also appeal to veteran skiers as the majority of their 18 trails are designated “advanced”. Despite the high quantity of trails, this resort is much smaller than the other two, with only 1.2 miles of skiable trails, and their largest vertical drop being 264 feet. But for these prices? Could definitely be worth the trip.

Learn more about Boston Mills & Brandywine at

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Arts & Culture

Watch: “World’s largest mural” in Short North is more than meets the eye

Regina Fox



At a glance, "The Journey AR Mural" adorning the Graduate Columbus hotel in Short North is stunning. Look a little harder, and it actually comes to life.

Standing at over 107 feet tall and over 11,000 square feet of augmented reality, "The Journey AR Mural," is the world's largest AR mural, offering technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

The gaily-painted snapdragons, hibiscus, Easter lilies, and hummingbirds bloom and fly when viewed through the Journey AR Mural app (free for iPhone and Android). Watch the murals come to life in the video below.

Los Angeles-based artists Ryan Sarfati and Eric Skotnes (going by “Yanoe” and “Zoueh," respectively) are the creatives behind the project.

In an interview with Short North Arts District, Skotnes revealed he was inspired to take on the project after learning that Columbus is home to the second largest population of Somali immigrants in the country—he hopes the murals symbolize strength and prosperity for its viewers.

To learn more about The Journey AR Mural, visit

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