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Reagan Tokes remembered with self-defense class

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An anonymous donor has offered to pay for 50 women to take a self defense class at Ronin Training Center to honor Reagan Tokes. Credit: Courtesy of Laurah Hallock

Reagan Tokes has been and will be honored by scholarship funds in her name, and local bars donating profits to her family. On Sunday, a local gym will honor the Ohio State student by teaching women self defense.

In Tokes’ honor, an anonymous donor has offered to pay for 50 women to take the class for free.

After hearing about Tokes’ death, Logan Rance, a fifth-year in biology who practices jiujitsu at Ronin Training Center, reached out to gym manager Laurah Hallock about holding a self-defense class.

Hallock, a black belt in jiu-jitsu, has been teaching self-defense and rape prevention for eight years. The classes aren’t held regularly, but are public seminars held every couple months or as private events.

“I have a younger sister at home, and I’ve been bugging her to learn (self-defense) for forever now and she hasn’t,” Rance said. “So after this horrible tragedy happened, I was like, ‘No, you’re going to do this.’”

Sunday’s event started as one for Rance’s sister and friends, but Rance said he wanted to open it to the community, particularly to female students.

“I was thinking that people are really afraid right now, they’re traumatized,” Rance said. “(The event) is encouraged for female students, especially with what’s going on and the atmosphere on campus.”

Tokes, a fourth-year in psychology, was kidnapped, raped and killed after leaving work in the Short North on Feb. 8 at 9:45 p.m. Her body was found at Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City the next day.

Hallock got into jiujitsu through a self-defense and rape prevention seminar. She said typical self-defense classes focus on protecting oneself in bar fights or against bullies, but her style is specifically for women to use against potential sexual assault or rape.

A lot of her teachings focus on groundwork, Hallock said, because when the intent is sexual assault or rape, the fight quickly goes to the ground.

“You also have a much higher chance of getting out of a fight when it’s on the ground,” Hallock said. “To give up when you’re on the ground, is a big fail. Don’t do that. The fight still continues.”

Hallock will also teach participants techniques to defend themselves when attacked from behind, as well as some striking techniques. The class is for women of all ages.

“I’ve had women take the class ranging from 13 to 86 years old,” Hallock said.

Hallock said in her eight years of experience, she has heard many success stories.

“Girls have come up to me and said they used the techniques in really scary situations and escaped,” she said.

The class will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday at Ronin Training Center, 1012 W. 3rd Ave. Those interested are asked to RSVP so the appropriate number of assistants will be available.

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