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 is a Master Sergeant with the US Army Green Berets and a Special Forces sniper with multiple combat deployments.  He is a former professional mixed martial arts fighter and two-time title challenger. Having fought for the world's largest organizations, including the UFC, Strikeforce, IFL, and the WEC, he holds numerous black belts including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and U.S. Army Combatives.Tim is a regular commentator on cable news and is renowned for his hosting abilities as seen on HISTORY Channel's show, ‘Hunting Hitler’, as well as the Discovery Channel’s series, ‘Hard To Kill’.  A regular on Joe Rogan and Jocko’s podcasts, Tim inspires current and future generations of patriotic freedom-loving Americans.Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, brand amplifier, and respected thought leader. Tim owns nearly a dozen successful companies and represents some of the world's most elite brands and ideals. Now celebrated as a New York Times best-selling author of his autobiography,Scars And Stripes,Kennedy enjoyed consecutive months on the iconic New York Times list, including more than thirteen weeks as the number one audiobook in the world. Kennedy's flagship effort, Sheepdog Response, gives the good guys the tools they need to effectively protect and preserve human life. With niche training opportunities available for all levels from beginner to advanced, Sheepdog Response offers all people, from the Fortune 500 CEO, to the elementary school teacher, the ability to command and protect their environment and loved ones.  In addition to his keen entrepreneurial savvy, Tim has a heart for giving back.  Kennedy was one of four special operation operatives who flew into Kabul Afghanistan as a civilian volunteer to assist with the evacuation of America’s allies for the NGO Save Our Allies (SOA).  After ten days of operations, SOA saved nearly 17,000 lives while staging out of Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA). Kennedy is the president and a founding member of Save Our Allies. He serves as an ambassador and advisor to The Independence Fund to prevent veteran suicide and educate the public on mental health awareness. Kennedy founded Heroes JiuJitsu with an ethos of connectivity and camaraderie on and off the mats for all first responders. Tim is also a staunch advocate for family school choice and is a national leader through his Apogee Strong mentorship, schooling, and foundational efforts to lead the next generation of warriors.Most importantly, Tim is the proud husband of Ginger and father to four children all of whom embody his sense of adventure, patriotism, and justice.

Tim Kennedy

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.

Carl Cringle
Chief of Operations

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.

Matt Smith
Director of Sheepdiog Response

Andrew Craig is the Director of Partnership Development for Tim Kennedy Operations. Andrew started training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu during his time at the University of Texas. After graduating in 2008, he went full steam ahead attacking his dream of competing in mixed martial arts. By 2015, he had 7 fights in the UFC under his belt and had moved on to working for Onnit handling their ambassador/athlete program. He is now a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and a white belt in shooting.

Andrew Craig
Director of Partnership Development

Nick is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blue belt and creates amazing products for Sheepdog Response. He started his first design company in college before starting his career as an accountant. After realizing he couldn’t spend his life crunching numbers, he left and began working as a jeweler on 47th St in New York City. After seeing what the lockdowns did to the north east, he decided to move to Austin to train jiu jitsu and start another company. He quickly found Gracie Humaita Cedar Park and Sheepdog Response and they became his new home.

Nick Buttiglieri
Product Manager

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.

Zach Mayo
Director of Customer Experience

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.

Iako Kalili
Director of Training

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.

Maike "MICAH" Kellner
Operations Assistant

Lead Instructors

Travis Joyner
Lead Instructor
Chantry Coker
Lead Instructor
Pete Kovach
Lead Instructor
Stephen Martin
Lead Instructor
Justin Flood
Lead Instructor
Andres Capra
Lead Instructor
Ray Villa
Lead Instructor
Ryan Hay
Lead Instructor