Josh was born and raised in Lafayette, IN. He knew from an early age he wanted to be an engineer and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelors degree in Materials Engineering from Purdue University. He worked as an engineering intern at Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis during college and enjoyed work in the aerospace industry. Following graduation, he moved to South Bend to work for another large aerospace manufacturer. He has since pursued additional education and in May of 2013 he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Materials Engineering from Purdue. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Emily, and they recently welcomed a daughter, Nora.
Josh’s interest in the world of self-defense started with an interest in firearms. He took his first training class with Mike Swisher who would later become a good friend, training partner, and business colleague. Josh’s initial classes had a focus in firearms, but upon taking his first force-on-force class his whole outlook on personal defense changed. Since that class he still attends shooting classes when possible, but spends a majority of his time, money, and effort on the decisions behind criminal encounters. He has attended multiple force-on-force classes and is always looking for more. His focus on the problems leading up to a fight and the desire to more clearly resolve what an encounter actually looks like has led him down a path of increasing resources spent on skills other than shooting.
Josh runs a local training group in South Bend which works on various aspects of the fight and both instructs and attempts to learn more in these areas. Topics of focus include boxing, clinching, grappling, BJJ, knife integration, striking weapons integration, verbal interaction, in-fight weapon access, weapon retention, entangled shooting, and fitness. Josh strongly believes that the firearm is one small piece of a very large puzzle. His teaching curriculum and influences support this. When Josh was asked to join Paladin Combatives as a member of the staff, these ideas were at the forefront of the discussion.
This was my first defensive training class. Mike Swisher was the instructor and it was organized by Suarez International. In 2 days, we covered everything you could want in an introductory pistol class. This class very much set the stage for my future training and eventually teaching. This was Mike’s first class teaching so we both have sort of grown together in this industry and ended up becoming good friends.
ECQC from Shivworks. This class really needs no introduction. I was fortunate to take this class very early in my training career. At the time, I didn’t expect the benefits I would eventually receive from this class. There are many reviews and descriptions of this class available with a google search and I can’t recommend it enough. In my opinion everyone should take ECQC at least once. Craig is an excellent instructor and the coursework is very relevant to everyday problems. Topics covered include: entangled shooting, modern 4 count draw stroke, MUC (managing unknown contacts), standing grappling, and weapon disarms and retention.
This was a two day class that covered the basics of force-on-force. It was taught by George Matheis (AKA: Mercop) through his company Modern Combative Systems. We covered topics like the Tueller drill, moving while drawing, street stick, and knife defense.
I was fortunate to get a chance to have a short seminar with Cecil Burch who is not only a top BJJ competitor and instructor under one of the most famous BJJ instructors in the world (Megaton Diaz), but he’s also a certified instructor for CMD (Crazy Monkey Defense). I had seen the videos but Cecil was able to help me to understand the basics of the defensive structure and and some details on the footwork.
I went through a three day NRA instructor certification course. We covered material for basic pistol, personal protection inside the home, and personal protection outside the home. Although I have the instructor certificate, I will likely never teach or sponsor any NRA class. I feel the curriculum is more about protecting the NRA from liability rather than teaching people the best way to do things. Even with my low level of training at the time, I had been exposed to more useful and reliable techniques. There are many great people who happen to be NRA instructors, but believe anyone teaching NRA material to people is doing it solely for the money rather than out of a desire to do what’s best for their students.
DVD was the only format in which this material was available. Our training group took this material, took detailed notes, and drilled this for over 100 hours. This is a compilation of a complete look at the inside and outside standing clinch game. Adam & Rory Singer along with Paul Sharp have put together one of the best overall collections for the close-in clinch game ever produced. Fights follow a progression that ALWAYS includes clinch in one form or another. I’ve used some of this material in Managing Confrontations, and have found it to be a force multiplier for people without a background in wrestling.
This was a one day seminar taught by Larry Lindenman. We spent the first half the day working on CMD. CMD stands for Crazy Monkey Defense. It’s a striking system developed by Rodney King, an ex professional boxer. It’s a very unfortunately stupid name for a very solid and worthwhile system of striking. It’s the system I use personally. Essentially, it’s a defensive oriented simplified boxing system. Many experts agree that it can take 5 years in a boxing gym to get to the point of being able to defend yourself while striking. CMD attempts to shorten this time by throwing out much of the complicated offensive and defensive elements and keeping only the very most simple. You can learn to be effective in this in as little as an afternoon.
The second half the day was spent on survival BJJ or brazilian jiu jitsu. BJJ is arguably one of the fastest growing martial arts in the world and the best overall system for being capable while fighting on the ground. Even taking the time to learn the basics of BJJ can make you hugely more capable of defending yourself.
I like these two systems so much that I go over the basics in my longer Managing Confrontations coursework.
These Mindset Laboratory courses were each one day. We covered a wide spectrum of information on how a use of force encounter is likely to unfold and what will need done after. We then participated in multiple scenarios (7 total) that tested our decision making skills under pressure. This is not a physical class, but multiple adrenal dumps make it feel very tiring. The lessons learned while solving problems under real life stress are invaluable. I would highly recommend this coursework.
This 8 hour class was taught by John Pemberton through his company Pemberton Combatives. We covered some basics of firearm retention while in the holster against grab attempts. Real resistance wasn’t used and many theoretical examples were used to demonstrate methods of firearm retention from multiple angles.
Since I have unfortunately been unable to make it to a RedZone class, I ordered the DVDs and have spent hours on learning, incorporating, and using the material within the South Bend Training Group. I’m certainly not an expert, but we’ve been able to make the system work using real effort and resistance.
This basic rifle class consists of topics which include the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship, making an accurate timed shot, using a sling correctly, weapon malfunction clearance, a wide variety of reloading techniques, and a brief discussion on gear for the average citizen who does not carry a rifle everyday. This was a Suarez International class where Mike Swisher was the lead instructor.
Dynamics of the Kalashnikov is a single day basic level class that familiarizes students with AK pattern rifles. We taught the basics of rifle marksmanship as it applies to this platform as well as weapon specific manipulation, malfunction clearance, reloads, and maintenance. This was a Suarez International class where Mike Swisher was the lead instructor.
This basic pistol class consists of topics which include the fundamentals of pistol marksmanship, making an accurate timed shot, drawing correctly from the holster, weapon malfunction clearance, a wide variety of reloading techniques, and a brief discussion on gear for the average citizen who carries a gun on a daily basis. This was a Suarez International class where Mike Swisher was the lead instructor.
Close Range Gunfighting is a flagship class from Suarez International. This advanced pistol course consists of learning how to engage targets at a variety of very close distances. Topics include shooting on the move, maximizing your time to draw, single handed shooting while moving, etc. This class where Mike Swisher was the lead instructor.
This was a 4 hour lecture from the famous gunfighter Frank White. He discussed the fighting spirit, told some war stories about his past gunfights, and helped us all to lock down the mindset problems about carrying and using weapons for personal defense. Very worthwhile and a real honor to meet such a legend.
The Multi-Disciplinary Optimization course is a 16 hour focused overview of skillsets used in the ECQ environment. There were 6 different modules throughout the two days. They consisted of:
- Multi-Disiplinary Optimization (Paul Sharp)
- Shooting Through the Drawstroke (Jeff Tinsley)
- Edged Weapon Defense (Paul Sharp)
- Impact Weapon Usage (Larry Lindenman)
- Tactical Combat Casualty Care / TCCC(Jeff Tinsley)
- Survial BJJ (Larry Lindenman)
I attended a Self Defense and the Law seminar taught by Mitchell Lake Esq. He is a criminal defense attorney in CT, but has put together a very solid and worthwhile set of information for people in all states. Topics covered included the order of things happening after an incident, what to say to the police, best practices before, during, and after an encounter, and best practices regarding training notes. Some of these general ideas have made their way into the curriculum of Managing Confrontations.
The ShivWorks Vehicle Combatives and Shooting Tactics (VCAST) course is a twenty-four hour block of instruction focused on developing combative functionality with firearms and empty hand skills in and around vehicles. The coursework is contextually underscored for the problems an armed citizen might possibly face from criminal activity. VCAST is a high liability course due to the nature of the developmental drills and evolutions.
May 2003 – Feb 2014
Organizer, Lead Instructor
Organized and coordinated the local South Bend Training Group. We work striking, grappling, and wrestling development. We practice weapon work with both firearms and knives. We then take the two and work on integration. Other topics are also covered. Practice takes place at Kodiak Firing Range where we have a nice training room in the basement with a padded floor.
Training has been changed down to once a week starting recently due to low participation. The class schedule can be found here.
Fist Fire is a shooting system developed by D.R. Middlebrooks of the Tactical Shooting Academy and used by some of the best high level competitive shooters today. The class was taught by Paul Sharp who is a certified fist fire instructor. The primary basis of the fist fire system is to develop a repeatable consistent index from which to fire. At very close range you can fire from the index positions without seeing your sights. As the range increases you will use it to be aimed at the point you sights come into view allowing you to only confirm alignment and break a shot. The system is not about point shooting although it is often mistaken for a point shooting system.
The class was excellent and the instructor was top notch as usual. This class marks the fourth time I’ve trained with Paul and he is always a wealth of knowledge and a super nice guy. He’s willing to teach you everything he’s learned and earned over years in the study of the entire personal protection field.
June 2012 – Present
This class is sort of a general self defense class. There is no live-fire shooting, nor does it include force-on-force. I would suggest, however, that it is my most recommended class. If I could recommend one group of information for everyone, it would be the material in Managing Confrontations (MC).
The coursework includes a full version of Managing Unknown Contacts (MUC) from Craig Douglas (Southnarc) at Shivworks. His MUC module is widely accepted as the best exploration of the way criminals do their jobs, and the steps regular people can take to mitigate their attacks. Although I do my best at attempting to cover all of the MUC material and I clearly explain its source, this class is no substitute for training with Craig if you have the opportunity. It is money well spent and I can’t recommend it enough.
If an ECQC class isn’t in your future, Managing Confrontations isn’t a bad option. We cover MUC as discussed previously, as well as other material related to recognizing criminal threats, victim deselection, and building a legal framework for future action. We try to make sure every student leaves with a framework for when to initiate aggressive action that affords them a chance to escape while giving them the time to act when needed.