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Practical Self Defense...Saving the world, one ninja at a time!

The RAK Fund, Social Empathy & Situational Awareness

I believe a community characterized by ingrained social empathy also is one that promotes peace and cooperation, consequently minimizing physical and psychological threats. Building social empathy is no easy task because it requires establishing, nurturing, and sustaining social norms. Many people in the US incorporate these norms by following certain social rules, like the Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do to you"), performing a good deed everyday (Boy/Girl Scouts), or "Paying It Forward." This system of social ethics is one reason why the private charitable sector is unusually large in the US ... << MORE >>

The Scary Reality of the Non-Rape Rape in "The Wolf of Wall Street"

When is rape not rape? Apparently when you are in Hollywood and staring in a major motion picture with the nation's leading actors and directed by a legendary director. At least, that's how I felt after mulling over a late scene in the just-released movie The Wolf of Wall Street (and based on the memoire of stock swindler Jordan Belfort).

Before going too much further, let me say that The Wolf of Wall Street is a a great movie; one of the best I have seen in a long ...
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Most Popular Posts of 2013

Happy New Year!

For those that are curious, the top five blog posts in terms of views for 2013 were:
We've had an excellent first year on the blog since we started March ...
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The Bullying of "Counting Backwards"

Laura Lascarso's excellent debut novel, Counting Backwards, tells the story of Taylor, a teenager sentenced to "therapuutic boarding school" in southern Georgia after she she is arrested for stealing a car. In more pedestrian terms, it's a maximum-security juvenile detention facility (Taylor has a habit of running away--from everything) that will give her "intense psychiatric care." Lascarso's story is an excellent, coming of age tale set for the modern day and particularly well suited for girls. It's was also pleasant reminder that we have some really talented authors writing for teenagers these days. But, that's incidental to ... << MORE >>

The Sobering Reality of Violence in Today's Schools

In November 2013, I led a discussion with about 200 seventh graders on how plot, character and setting are used to create good stories. I used The Hunger Games as an example because because the second movie, Catching Fire, was about to be released and these books rank as among the most popular for young adults in recent history.

The violent content of these books also gave me an opportunity to discuss how violence is used to create conflict in stories (a subject I have explored in this youtube video and ...
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Captain Phillips, Pirates, and the Value of Training

I saw the film Captain Phillips and, as usual, I came out of the movie pondering things that the director, producers, and stars probably didn't anticipate. The movie is very good, and Tom Hanks (in the lead) deserves another academy award for his the last scenes of the movie.

But the closing scenes do a lot more than showcase Hanks's acting talents, or the deft skills of the director. They depict in raw form the critical role training plays in coping with adversity and ...
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22-34 Million Kids Witness Bullying Every Year

I use a number of dramatic numbers in my book trailer for Renegade, my most recent novel on middle-school bullying and gang violence, including:
  • 160,000 kids don't go to school every year because of bullying;
  • 34.5 million kids in the U.S. witness bullying every year;
  • 18.5 million kids experienced bullying;
  • 43.9 million kids believe that bullying is an ongoing problem.
How accurate are these statistics? These are admittedly back of the envelope estimates--they were used for a ...
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Why One Girl Says "Enough" to Violence and Bullying

On Saturday, August 17, 2013, SR Staley participated in the Reader Meet Writer author festival, an outstanding opportunity for authors working out of the Big Bend region of North Florida and Southern Georgia to market themselves and their books. The event was hosted by the Thomas County (GA) Public Library with the help of the Bookshelf and Gallery. The following is a slightly edited version of his remarks.

Comments by SR Staley:

First, let me thank ...

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Practical Self-Defense Session Schedule (UPDATED)

Beginning this fall, an innovative Practical Self Defense program will be offered at Renegade Boxing Gym in Tallahassee, Florida. For just $50, participants will have access to 12 sessions of martial-arts based self-defense instruction, covering a range of threats, from attempted abductions to physical fights and threats. Additional information can be obtained from Sam Staley ( and here are the details:


  • Sunday, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm (Practical Self Defense)
  • Friday, 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm (Renegade Quest Self-Defense Club)*


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How Martial Arts Empowers Women in Self Defense

Guest post by Theresa Murphy* 

I found the perspective on self defense and motivation in the post "Self Defense is Social Defense" interesting but probably not in the way many people would expect. I do not find it strange that the woman had trouble punching harder when she pictured her rapist. She was described as a student leader, an athlete, a fit young woman. I am sure she, like all women who are raped when they are conscious, fought back. I am sure she ...

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