Our instructors are some of the best operators, medics, fighters, and law enforcement in the country. Come learn from the best!


Our instructors are some of the best operators, medics, fighters, and law enforcement in the country. Come learn from the best.

In-House Staff & Instructors

Tim Kennedy


Tim Kennedy’s legend began at his local Army recruiter’s office on September 12th, 2001. His training to earn his Green Beret was featured in the book “Chosen Soldier.” Kennedy is now a Ranger qualified Special Forces Sniper with deployments in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and multiple other deployments around the world. He is the only soldier to win the grueling 3 day All Army Combatives Tournament three times. Kennedy has black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Modern Army Combatives. He is also one of the top-ranked mixed martial arts fighters in the world, a position he achieved while simultaneously serving his country at the highest levels of special operations. Prior to his retirement from professional mixed martial arts, he was ranked among the top Middleweights in the UFC. Tim has been featured on many television shows, most recently “Hunting Hitler” on the History Channel, and Hard to Kill on the Discovery Channel.

Carl Cringle

Chief of Operations

Commander Carl Cringle is a 20-year Navy veteran. He deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, the Global War on Terrorism, and other missions worldwide. He operated in everything from countering Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq, training and aiding the Afghan Special Forces, and directing containment and decontamination of nuclear fallout in Japan. CDR Cringle conducted sensitive missions with other Government and DOD agencies in support of national security with top tier units in Special Operations. A Special Mission Unit alumni, he developed sensitive capabilities for the Department of Defense in support of the National Defense Strategy. CDR Cringle is a certified scuba and skydiver and has business degrees from multiple universities. He competes in triathlons, adventure races, functional fitness competitions and trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Matt Smith

Director of Sheepdog Response

Sergeant Major Matt Smith is a US Army Green Beret and 20-year veteran of Special Operations. He is a Special Missions Unit alumni and master tactics trainer. He is an Army TCCC instructor, certified Flight Paramedic, Critical Care Paramedic, Diving Medical Technician, and has conducted joint medical mission planning for some of the top tier units within Special Operations. His certifications include Master Parachutist, Military Free Fall Jumpmaster, and Combat Diving Supervisor. SGM Smith is a Master Diver and former head of the Special Forces Underwater Operations School in Key West, FL. He has been featured on Discovery Channel training the nation’s finest Special Operators on clandestine infiltration. He has deployed as a direct action operator to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and multiple other deployments worldwide. SGM Smith has spent decades training multinational Special Operators, Law Enforcement, and other Government/DOD Agencies in advanced tactics and combat medicine. He competes in military combatives tournaments, civilian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, and trains in MMA.

Justin Jones

Product Manager

Justin Jones is an Amphibious Reconnaissance Marine with over ten years in the Marine Corps. He has completed multiple deployments, including to Afghanistan, the middle east and southeast Asia. Through the Marine Corps he is certified in Tactical Combat Casualty Care, Range Safety and Laser Range Safety Officer, Foreign Weapons Instructor, Helicopter Rope Suspension Master, Static Line Jumpmaster, and advanced pistol and carbine marksmanship. Justin also holds the secondary military occupational specialty of Advanced Security Forces Advisor. Outside the military, Justin is a certified NRA Range Safety Officer as well as NRA Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun Instructor. Justin is currently active in the Marine Reserves as well as working full time for Sheepdog Response.

Zach Mayo

Director of Customer Experience

Zach is a US Navy veteran and black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He began training BJJ while stationed in Hawaii in 2009. He has competed and trained all over the United States, as well as in Japan while there on deployment. Zach has taught at many different gyms, as well teaching the BJJ clubs at the University of Texas Austin and San Antonio while earning his bachelor's degree. He continues his training under head instructor, sixth degree black belt Paulo Brandao, at Gracie Humaita Austin, TX.

Iako Kalili

Director of Training

William Kaiako Kalili Jr (Iako) was born and raised in Kona, Hawaii. After joining the Hawaii National Guard in 1996, Iako decided that he wanted to be an Airborne Infantryman in the prestigious 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. Kalili served as a Light Infantryman and was deployed to Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, Iako PCS’d to Fort Benning, GA where he was handpicked by Matt Larsen, the Father of Modern Army Combatives, to become a Combatives Instructor for the developing Modern Army Combatives Program. Through the next 7 years, Iako Kalili became known as one of the key developers of the Army’s hand-to-hand fighting program. He assisted in writing the Combatives manual and was the first head of the Combatives Quality Assurance/Quality Control Committee. Kalili is directly related, training wise, to every single Combatives student since 2004. In 2011, Iako PCS’d to Fort Carson, CO, and based on his merit and his unique set of skills, Iako was once again handpicked by the Commander of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) to be the subject matter expert in tactical fighting for the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course. It was this time, with the most elite Soldiers in the US Army, that Iako was finally able to combine his expertise in fighting with the Special Forces community’s expertise in tactics. Iako Kalili was Honorably Discharged from the US Army in August of 2017 after 21 years of service. He was a Sergeant First Class, Combatives Master Trainer, and 1 of only 12 Army Combatives Black Belts. Currently, Iako is the Security Director for the heavy metal/rock band, Five Finger Death Punch, providing personal and executive protection.

Maike "Micah" Kellner

Operations Assistant

Maike “slays” OPS, Training, HR and Legal matters at Sheepdog Response. She is married to an active duty Navy F/A-18 pilot and knows what is like to be the sole protector of the family with her husband gone on long deployments. In 2017, Maike found herself in the middle of the Las Vegas concert shooting and thankfully walked away without a scratch. Maike holds a Juris Doctorate and is currently finishing her MBA. When time permits, you can find her on the mats training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Lead Instructors

Travis Joyner

Travis Joyner is a seasoned law enforcement officer, professional MMA fighter, and expert in defensive tactics for police officers. Travis is a native Texan who has been studying martial arts from a young age. He continued his training as an adult and has primarily focused on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, and Muay Thai. Travis holds rank in several martial arts and received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2011. Travis has been competing as an adult since 2004, and has competed successfully in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, No-Gi grappling, Freestyle Sambo and has fought professionally in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Travis has over 10 years of Law Enforcement experience in an urban environment. During that time Travis has attained numerous certifications related to police defensive tactics and firearms training. Travis has taught law enforcement defensive tactics for several years and is also a firearms instructor. Travis has been teaching martial arts for over a decade. Travis brings an insight into close quarters weapon based fighting and its application for civilians and law enforcement.

Chantry Coker

Chantry served 4 years in the US Navy with multiple overseas deployments. After being Honorably discharged from the Navy, Chantry pursued a career in EMS and Firefighting lasting 8 years. He then made the switch to being a police officer. Chantry has been a police officer for 6 years in a major metropolitan city. His experiences include work as a patrol officer, as well as undercover operations, counter-terror team, and SWAT operations. He is a competitive strongman and powerlifter, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu purple belt, and a defensive tactics instructor.

Pete Kovach

Peter has over 14 years of law enforcement experience to include serving in plain clothes and undercover capacities. During his time in law enforcement, Peter has served in specialized units to include street crimes, gang suppression, and federal violent crime task forces. In addition, he is a training cadre member for the Counter Assault Strike Team which specializes in response to active shooter events. Peter is a TCOLE firearms instructor and shoot house instructor. Prior to this, he spent 10 years in Marine Corps reserve during which time he served as radio team operator and team leader, deploying numerous times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Stephen Martin

Stephen H. Martin was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. He served in the U.S. Army for 22 years as a paratrooper, Combatives Master Trainer, and a Special Operations Combatives Instructor for the Army Combatives School at Fort Benning, GA; the Korean peninsula at Camp Carroll, South Korea; the 4th Infantry Division and the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson, CO. Stephen deployed with the 1/8 Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division to Iraq during OIF-1 in 2003 where he was awarded the Combat Action Badge. A black belt in the Army Combatives Program and in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Stephen is a powerful force on and off the mats, in shorts or in full kit. With respect and a positive attitude towards all people, he works tirelessly to motivate his students and encourages them all to work hard and succeed. As a single father of two, he raised his daughter and son to adulthood and is inspired by them daily. In his free time, you can find him on the back of his motorcycle or drawing in his sketch pad.