Meet Sheepdog Response Instructor Dennis Jones.
Sheepdog Response instructors bring real-world experience to every course we offer. Whether it’s in the classroom, on the mat, or on the range, they bring a wealth of hard-earned knowledge to every block of instruction.
In short, our instructors have real-world experience using the techniques and strategies they’ve used against people trying to harm them.
They have dedicated their lives to learning how to be hard to kill and teaching those same skills and mindset to our students.
An outstanding example of that practical experience and passion for teaching is our director of training, Dennis Jones.
An Army combat veteran with more than 10 years of active service as a Special Operations Combatives Instructor, his certifications and specialties include Airborne, Air Assault, Modern Army Combatives Levels I-IV Instructor, Special Operations Combatives Program Instructor, Protective Services Training Course, Anti-terrorism and Evasive Driving Course, and Gracie Survival Tactics Trainer.
During his service in the Military Police, he conducted supervisory community policing operations within the CONUS environment, supervisory tactical policing operations within the OCONUS and combat environments, and served as the team commander for an installation level Special Reaction Team at one of the U.S. Army’s largest CONUS installations.
Jones was selected for assignment to the Army’s only executive-level protection unit in the Military District of Washington where he developed and implemented a unique Unarmed Defensive Tactics program specifically tailored to the mission of personnel protective operations.
In addition to his military specific endeavors, Jones holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, competes in both military and civilian MMA tournaments, and participates as a competitive IDPA shooter.
What made you join the Army and want to become an MP?
Like most kids, I was a restless teenager and a somewhat aggressive kid.
After 9/11, I wanted to get in the fight so I went to talk to my local recruiter. I did pretty well on my tests and the recruiter wanted me to work in information technology, but that had no appeal to me.
He showed me a photo of the Military Police unit’s SWAT team and started telling me about all of the cool stuff they do.
I thought that’s all I would do as an MP, so I was sold.
But, lo and behold, I was wrong!
In what way?
My career really ran the gamut of experiences. Without getting into too much detail, I’ll just say it ranged from the mundane to a few moments where the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck.
I’m really proud of my career though. I was named the 2011 Military Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in El Paso. I’ve competed twice in the MP version of the Best Ranger Competition and won once. I won the Warfighter Competition in 2011 and was named Soldier of the Year and NCO of the Year at the post where I was stationed.
I’ve also been through every combative program the Army has and have been honors graduate in every single one.
One of my career highlights was creating and instructing a combatives program for the Army’s only major executive protection unit.
How does your military experience translate to Sheepdog Response courses?
Everything we teach has been tested against fully resistive opponents in a real-world experience. That’s critical.
We want students to leave our courses knowing that something bad can happen to them on the streets or in their home, and they’ll know what to do.
Really, we teach mindset more than anything else.
What’s your favorite part of the class to teach?
It’s the Situational Awareness block in our Level 1 course.
Because that’s the first time I get to see the students and it starts the process of us getting to know each other.
It’s kind of an icebreaker that also sets the tone for the rest of the class. Teaching situational awareness is the foundation for everything we do together for the next two days.
And, if our students take it to heart and continue to practice the actions and techniques we teach them, it can be life-changing. Plus, students can pass along those skills to their families and friends.
Situational awareness doesn’t cost money practice and it can be employed immediately that first night.
If you continue to develop an awareness of your surroundings and the people in it, you may never need to use any of the other skills we teach.
What student had the most impact on you as a teacher?
There are so many.
One that recently comes to mind is a police officer who attended one of our courses. He was on patrol and got into a scuffle with a suspect. The suspect made a move for the officer’s gun and using the grappling techniques we taught, the officer locked him up with a kimura and was able to cuff him. The officer didn’t get shot, and he didn’t have to shoot the suspect.
This why I teach. Our curriculum saves lives and, of course, makes the good guys harder to kill.
You’re saying being a Sheepdog requires more than shooting skills?
When I was active duty in the Army, there were several times I was working in a law enforcement capacity in the U.S. for American soldiers and their families. Because of my training and combatives skills, I never had to hurt anyone unnecessarily.
If you know what you’re doing and have to put your hands on someone, that person knows. I don’t know how they can tell you are in control, but they do. That transfer of power, if you will, is what allowed me to do my job without hurting anyone if I didn’t have to.
There were several times when I was stateside where I could have been in a position to shoot someone but didn’t because of my skill set.
That’s why I’m compelled to share that training through Sheepdog Response.
To train with Dennis, or learn more about our courses and curriculum, sign up for any one of our training events near you.