Keynote Speakers and Panelists
Craig Douglas, Shivworks
Craig Douglas is a renowned self-defense expert, law enforcement veteran, and founder of Shivworks, a leading training organization dedicated to interdisciplinary problem-solving for self-defense. With over two decades of experience in law enforcement, including narcotics and SWAT, Douglas has trained thousands of individuals in various aspects of self-defense.READ MORE
Craig is known for his extensive work in scenario-based training, where individuals are prepared to face real-world violent encounters using physical techniques and mental preparation. His flagship program, ECQC (Extreme Close Quarters Concepts), is a highly regarded and intensive course focusing on close-quarters combat and self-defense.
Craig has taught globally, conducting coursework on entangled shooting skills and unarmed combatives in nearly 40 states and nine foreign countries. In addition, he has trained federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and all branches of the U.S. military. He currently leads and teaches over 40 open-enrollment courses annually.
In addition to his training work, Craig has authored numerous articles on self-defense. He has been featured in various publications, including Black Belt and SWAT Magazine. With his extensive experience and dedication to preparing individuals for real-world violent encounters,
Craig Douglas is a respected authority in criminal assault behavior and self-defense.
Matt Larsen, USMA Director of Combatives
Matt Larsen is the Director of Combatives at the United States Military Academy (USMA). Matt is a former US Marine, Army Ranger, and Evolutionary Psychologist specializing in Combat Psychology. He is known as "The Father of Modern Combatives" for creating the US Army's modern combatives doctrine and establishing the US Army Combatives School.READ MORE
Upon his discharge from the Marine Corps, Larsen enlisted in the US Army and joined the 75th Ranger Regiment, where he remained for 14 years. He utilized his martial arts training and became the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of combatives and Close Quarters Battle (CQB) training for the Battalion. He merged different disciplines into an effective fighting style and established himself as the Army's subject matter expert on combatives.
Larsen transferred to the Ranger Training Brigade to develop the Army's combatives doctrine and refine his training methods. Next, he moved to the 11th Infantry Regiment to design a combatives instructor training course and established the "United States Army Combatives School." In 2002, the Army published his training manual as Field Manual 3–25.150 (Combatives).
In 2005, Larsen was inducted into the Order of Saint Maurice at the Centurion level. Currently, he is the Director of Combatives at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Cecil Burch, Immediate Action Combatives
Cecil's training methodology emphasizes simplicity, efficiency, and effectiveness. He provides practical training in pugilism, weapons-based grappling, knife fighting, firearms training, and entangled fighting. In addition, he designs courses that prepare individuals for real-world violent encounters, equipping them with the necessary tools and tactics to survive and prevail.READ MORE
Cecil Burch is a renowned self-defense expert and Immediate Action Combatives founder.
With over 30 years of experience in various martial arts, Cecil is recognized for his expertise in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, where he holds a black belt under the legendary Wellington "Megaton" Dias.
After studying Shotokan, Kenpo, and Tae Kwon Do, Cecil moved to Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Martial Arts under Dan Inosanto and Paul Vunak, where he specialized in stick and knife combative use and empty-hand training. He has also been an instructor in various Pentjak Silat systems, such as Tongkat, Mustika Kwitang, and Bukti Negara.
Cecil has trained military personnel, law enforcement officers, and civilians and holds annual training courses throughout the United States and internationally. He has also been a featured presenter and keynote speaker at professional training conferences such as the Pat Rogers Memorial Revolver Round Up and the Rangemaster Tactical Conference.
Additionally, Cecil is a regular online contributor to the Personal Defense Network and has authored numerous articles on self-defense and combatives.
Cecil Burch is highly regarded in the self-defense community for his extensive knowledge and expertise. He continues to impact the lives of those he trains significantly.
Cole Miller, Sole Force Combatives
Sole Force Combatives founder Cole "Magrinho" Miller is a former American mixed martial artist. He began his professional MMA career in 2005 after a successful amateur start, with a record of 6 wins and one loss. Cole fought in several regional promotions before signing with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2007. He competed in the featherweight and lightweight divisions, with over 20 victories as a professional fighter.READ MORE
Cole made his official UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale, defeating Andy Wang via technical knockout in the first round earning the "Knockout of the Night" award. Cole is known for his submission skills, being a 4-time recipient of "Submission of the Night" in the UFC. He has notable wins over fighters like Jorge, Gurgel, Ross Pearson, Sam Sicilia, and Bart Palaszewski.
Miller, who has been inactive in MMA since 2017, has focused on coaching and training his students in martial arts and Combatives, which he began in 2010. Miller trained at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, regarded as the best MMA team in the world.
Cole is a Third Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Marcos "Parrumpinha" Da Matta. Additionally, Cole is a certified Instructor in Special Operations Combatives Program and Master Instructor in the Air Force Combatives Program. Cole currently co-owns and operates Miller Martial Arts in Bonaire, Georgia.
Cliff Byerly, Hill Country Combatives
Hill Country Combatives Owner, Cliff Byerly is a former Marine with over 20 years of service, 12 of which were on active duty, where he served as a reconnaissance team leader. He has deployed to various locations, including Somalia and Iraq, and finished his active duty as a drill instructor in San Diego.
After leaving the Marines in 1996, Byerly joined the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and worked in patrol, gangs, and narcotics. He took a break from police work to deploy to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) 1 in 2003, where he served as a team leader with the 4th Force Reconnaissance.
An active practitioner of martial arts disciplines such as Tang Soo Do, Kung Fu, San Soo, wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), Cliff has trained innumerable service members and officers in combatives, firearms use, high-risk control tactics, and vehicle extraction techniques.
He holds several certifications, including a BJJ Black Belt under Rodrigo Pinheiro, LAPD Arrest & Control Instructor, Tactical Ground Combatives Instructor, Certified Range Safety Officer, and Certified Level 1 CrossFit Trainer.
Cliff is certified in various combat and weapons defense systems, such as Combat Focus.
Shooting Instructor, Krav Maga Force Training, Division Police Instructor, Military Combat Instructor, Military Marksmanship Instructor, and Red Zone Weapons Defense/Adaptive Striking Instructor.
Additionally, Cliff maintains current certifications in Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC).
Ben Aubin, Redbeard Combatives
Ben has provided combatives courses to diverse audiences for over two decades, including members of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, Joint Special Operations Command personnel, various law enforcement agencies, and Personal Security Detail (PSD) members assigned to Central Command.READ MORE
Ben is a seasoned security professional. His extensive experience spans over 14 years in U.S. Government and Private Security sectors, and he has over 20 years of experience in civil and structural engineering design. Additionally, Ben is the primary self-defense and hand-to-hand combat instructor for Tactical Intelligence International, a military defense contractor in Orlando, Florida.
His expertise lies in physical security, vulnerability assessments, and combatives training. He has been deployed several times to austere locations in the Middle East and South America. Additionally, he has conducted numerous at-sea deployments, providing training in vessel security aboard commercial ships transiting high-risk waters.
As Assistant Team Leader on a U.S. Department of State contract, Ben conducted site security surveys and PSD operations in areas of civil unrest in Bolivia and Peru. He also performed physical security and personnel escort duties while attached to Task Force 3-10 in Afghanistan.
Ben is a tactical advisor with Naval Special Warfare Advance Training Command – SEAL Combatives. He is instrumental in enhancing and modernizing combatives tactics and competency for operational team members.
Ben founded Redbeard Combatives (RBC) and is the developer/inventor of the RBC Force on Force Helmet used worldwide. He is a 3rd-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with numerous competitive victories. Ben is a certified protection specialist, weapons instructor, and guest writer for multiple security publications. Additionally, Ben has a degree in Intelligence Studies from American Military University, with advanced certifications in Counterintelligence.
Jon Hauptman, PHLSTER
Jon Hauptman is a highly regarded figure in advanced concealment technology. He is known for his expertise in developing innovative holsters and concealment education. As the owner of PHLster, which has operated for over a decade, Jon has become a leading provider of cutting-edge concealment technology and groundbreaking concealment education.READ MORE
PHLster's focus on systematically refining the concealment process has made it popular for those seeking repeatable and transferable results. Jon's approach emphasizes concealment as a set of fundamentals in his workshop course called "Concealment Mechanics."
This principle-driven process eliminates trial, error, frustration, luck, and wasteful gear spending. The Concealment Mechanics workshop teaches anyone of any body type and experience level to achieve extreme concealment.
Jon's commitment to educating others about concealment mechanics has made him a sought-after lecturer at events like the Rangemaster Tactical Conference and the Combtives Association Summit, where he teaches beginner and instructor-level coursework. In addition, his dedication to improving the concealment process has earned him a reputation as a thought leader and innovator within the Self-Defense Community.
With a deep passion for the principles and practices of advanced concealment technology, Jon Hauptman continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the field. His work with PHLster has revolutionized how people think about and approach concealment.
John Valentine, Deeds of Arms
John Valentine is a distinguished expert in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Modern Army Combatives, and firearms training. He holds a coveted black belt under the tutelage of the "Father of Modern Combatives," Matt Larsen. Additionally, he has completed the Rangemaster Instructor Development Master Course graduating with "Top Gun" honors.READ MORE
With a degree in Criminal Justice, John combines his extensive training and experience to deliver exceptional instruction on self-defense and firearms use.
With years of experience as an assistant instructor to Matt Larsen, John has also served as a primary and associate instructor for premier private training companies. Companies such as Green Ops, Hill Country Combatives, and Sheepdog Response. John is also the lead instructor for the Lift, Shoot, Fight Camp put on by Starting Strength.
John is dedicated to sharing his knowledge with others. He has attended thousands of hours of formal training in fitness, firearms, and Combatives John is approaching two decades of active military service, including multiple deployments to the middle east. John currently teaches under the Deeds of Arms brand.
Aaron Jannetti, Knife Control Concepts
Aaron Jannetti is a multifaceted individual who has dedicated his life to pursuing knowledge and improving himself and those around him. As a husband and father, he places a high value on family. He uses his experiences to inform his teaching and business practices.READ MORE
As co-owner of Endeavor Defense and Fitness, Aaron has developed cutting-edge training programs to equip individuals with practical self-defense skills. His innovative programs, including Active Shooter Response and Knife Control Concepts, have gained widespread recognition for their effectiveness and practicality.
An accomplished author, Aaron penned the widely acclaimed How to Survive an Active Killer, a comprehensive guide to understanding and preparing for active shooter situations. His book has been lauded for its clear and actionable advice, making it an invaluable resource for those seeking to stay safe in today's world.
With over a decade of experience in various forms of martial arts and defensive tactics, Aaron has ranked and trained in Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Boxing, Kickboxing, Firearms, and more. He has taught in over thirty states and three countries, sharing his expertise and passion with students of all backgrounds and skill levels.
Despite his impressive accomplishments, Aaron remains committed to continuous learning and growth. He sees himself as a lifelong student, always seeking to improve his leadership, teaching, and personal practice.
Through his work and dedication, Aaron Jannetti inspires those around him, showing that anyone can achieve their goals and positively impact the world with hard work and determination.
Dave "Boon" Benton, Threat Management Solutions
Dave "Boon" Benton is a highly experienced professional approaching three decades of combined military, law enforcement, protective security, and intelligence community service. READ MORE
He has served in various specialized teams and leadership roles and held positions from assaulter, sniper, breacher, tactical medic, and team leader to instructor positions from explosive entry. Boon is one of the founders of ShootingClasses.com, where he shares his knowledge and expertise with others under his training company, Threat Management Solutions.
Boon is best known for his heroic actions as part of the CIA annex security team that responded to the terrorist attack on the US Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. The group, which fought terrorists for over 13 hours, saved more than 20 lives.
Boon and the other surviving team members co-authored the book "13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi" with Mitchell Zuckoff. Their story was also adapted into the movie "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi."
With his extensive experience and leadership skills, Boon has proven himself a true icon to American military and civilian life.
Guy Schnitzler, Palisade Training Group
Guy is a Rangemaster certified Master Handgun Instructor and Shotgun Instructor and holds several certifications as a defensive tactics instructor, including Red Zone Threat Management Empty Hand Knife Defense Instructor, Adaptive Striking Foundations Instructor, and Groundfighting Overview Foundations Instructor. He is also a certified Small Impact Weapons Instructor through Point Driven Training.READ MORE
Guy Schnitzler is a highly skilled law enforcement officer with over 24 years of experience in the field. He is a retired Federal Law Enforcement Officer in the Department of Homeland Security. He utilizes his extensive self-defense and combat tactics expertise to keep the public safe.
In addition to his law enforcement experience, Guy is an accomplished martial artist, holding black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Kenpo Karate, and is an experienced boxer. He has completed multiple firearm, tactics, tactical medicine, and criminal behavior courses and is a Combatives University Black Belt.
As the owner of DFW Defensive Training and an Agile Training and Consulting OC/Less Than Lethal Instructor, Guy has trained numerous law enforcement officers and civilians in self-defense and combat tactics. He is also a KR Training Force on Force Instructor, bringing his expertise in real-world scenarios to his training.
Guy's vast experience and knowledge make him a sought-after presenter at events such as the Combatives Association Summit, where he will teach saps and jacks. His passion for self-defense and combat tactics is evident in his teaching. Guy has dedicated to helping others learn how to protect themselves and others in dangerous situations.
Nick Delgadillo, Starting Strength
Nick Delgadillo is a highly skilled self-defense, firearms, and strength coach and educator with over 20 years of experience. Throughout his adult life, he has dedicated himself to refining his skills and expertise, focusing on coach development and mentorship.READ MORE
As a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt, Nick is a self-defense expert. He is the owner and head coach at Iowa Park Jiu-Jitsu Club in North Texas. In addition, he has helped launch multiple successful self-defense and fitness businesses.
In addition to his martial arts expertise, Nick is a Starting Strength Coach specializing in performance improvement through barbell training. He has been a coach since 2011 and is recognized as a leading expert in the field.
Nick's extensive private security background and years of experience teaching and coaching self-defense make him a highly sought-after presenter and educator. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. Nick is committed to helping his students become stronger, more confident, and better equipped to defend themselves.
Nick is a featured presenter at the Combatives Association Summit, where he will be teaching Stronger is Better. His commitment to excellence and passion for teaching make him a valuable asset to anyone looking to improve their self-defense skills.
Fletch Fuller, Ready Up Tactical
Fletch Fuller is a highly experienced military veteran and active duty law enforcement officer with over twenty years of service in a prominent South Florida agency. He is a full-time training supervisor specializing in hand-to-hand (H2H), ground tactics, edged weapons, force-on-force (FoF), and firearms training.READ MORE
Fletch is a certified Force Science Analyst and has earned various instructor qualifications from reputable organizations such as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the NRA Law Enforcement Division, and Rangemaster.
Fletch's background in martial arts and combatives is extensive, holding a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and extensive training in other systems, including MMA. He is the former VP and Director of Law Enforcement Training for ISR Matrix International and the current owner and lead instructor of Ready Up Tactical.
Fletch regularly presents at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers
Association (ILEETA) and the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI), sharing personal safety and survival information with police officers and responsibly armed citizens.
Fletch's philosophy on self-defense and tactical training is grounded in the belief that firearms and combatives training must be taught seamlessly and reflect the reality of situations officers and civilians may face.
Devin Crinklaw, In Extremis Tactical Group
Devin is a 14-year veteran SWAT team member and trainer with an extensive background in threat mitigation, firearms, and tactics training. He has dedicated his career to providing high-quality, affordable training based on research, science, and experience.READ MORE
Devin Crinklaw is a highly experienced law enforcement veteran and expert in all areas of self-defense. With over 20 years of experience in the field, Devin has trained thousands of students, from civilians to police and military personnel.
As the founder of In Extremis Tactical Group, Devin is passionate about sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. His team specializes in providing cutting-edge training to civilians, police, first responders, and military personnel, focusing on behavior-based CQB.
Devin's training philosophy is based on the belief that self-defense is not just about physical skills but also about mindset and decision-making. Therefore, he emphasizes the importance of situational awareness and teaches his students to use their environment to their advantage.
Devin's dedication to his craft has earned him a reputation as a highly respected expert in the field. As a result, he is a sought-after presenter at events such as the Combatives Association Summit, where he will teach behavior-based CQB.
His passion for teaching and commitment to excellence make him a valuable asset to anyone looking to improve their self-defense skills.
Chet Palumbo Esq., The Combative Lawyer
Chet Palumbo is an accomplished attorney who graduated from the Appalachian School of Law in 2010, achieving a top 10% rank in his class. At school, he also served as captain of the mock trial team. In addition, he demonstrated his legal proficiency by passing the Bar exam with flying colors, ranking in the top 5% of all test takers.
Throughout his career, Palumbo has practiced criminal law in four states and has extensive experience as a Defense Attorney and Prosecutor. He has led over 40 jury trials, ranging from simple misdemeanor assault cases to severe felonies punishable by life imprisonment.
Apart from his legal expertise, Palumbo is a highly skilled martial artist. He holds a Purple Belt in BJJ and a Green Belt in Combatives, with over 100 hours of training in weapons-based grappling and 200 hours of firearms training. Additionally, he has cross-trained in kickboxing and MMA. Palumbo is a Certified NRA Pistol Instructor, emphasizing his proficiency in firearms.
Palumbo is also known for his work on his YouTube channel, "The Combative Lawyer," where he offers insightful commentary on topics related to self-defense law. His exceptional legal and martial arts background has positioned him as a leading authority in the field.
Sam Ferguson, Galo Combatives
Sam Ferguson is a highly experienced Police officer with six years of service in Lexington, KY. He has been a combat sports enthusiast throughout his life, having trained in MMA, boxing, and Thai boxing.
While well-rounded in striking, he has made a name for himself as a skilled grappler. His journey began at 8 when he started wrestling, which he continues to coach at a high school level.
In addition to wrestling, Sam has also earned a blue belt in judo and a 1st-degree black belt in BJJ. Additionally, he has proven himself a top competitor, having medaled at No Gi Worlds as a purple, brown, and black belt.
As Sam shifted his focus to his career in law enforcement, his attention moved towards combatives and arrest tactics. As a patrol officer on the third shift, he earned a black belt in combatives.
He trained with renowned experts such as Paul Sharpe, Larry Lindeman, Craig Douglas, and Aaron Janetti. Thanks to his extensive combat sports background, he has been able to translate his knowledge and skills into practical and effective combatives training for his work as a police officer.
Jerry Wetzel, Red Zone Threat Management
Jerry Wetzel, the founder of Red Zone Threat Management, is a highly experienced combat training professional dedicated to reality-based combat. Jerry has devoted himself exclusively to this training field for almost two decades.
In 1999, he established Centerline Gym with a singular focus on researching the realities of violence and developing practical tools and tactics for managing them.
Various publications have recognized Jerry's expertise. He is a featured subject matter expert in numerous instructional videos. His approach aims to understand the biological, psychological, emotional, and behavioral factors that come into play during combat situations. He then applies this knowledge to the practical realm by testing it against a resisting opponent under realistic conditions.
Jerry's unyielding commitment to his craft has made him a trusted figure in combat training. He continues to work tirelessly to improve his methods and help others become better prepared to manage violent situations.