How To Become A “Sheepdog,” Grappling With Weapons, Making Yourself Harder To Kill, Are There Fringe Navy SEAL Smart Drugs & Much More With Tim Kennedy.

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Fitness, Lifestyle, Podcast

My wife and I recently immersed ourselves in a three-day, close-quarter combat and firearm and personal defense training course called “Sheepdog Response” (and, perhaps because I'm becoming a crazy prepper, I've also been drooling over the new Endgame Survival And Preparation Documentary by my friend Jeff Hays).

During Sheepdog, we experienced hours upon hours of grappling, close-quarter combat, situational awareness, firearm training, and much more. You can see some photos we took here and here. We were feeling a bit sore and beat up at the end, but definitely more prepared for any “curveballs” life may throw at us. I think these types of skills, along with skills such as wilderness survival, plant foraging, hunting, etc. are really good ways to ensure that one is prepared for life in general. (If you're already thinking, “I need to do this,” you can get 10% off Sheepdog Response with code BENGREENFIELD).

I was so impressed with the course that I decided to get the founder of Sheepdog, Tim Kennedy, on the podcast to talk about it, and much, much more.

If you haven't heard of Tim, then you definitely need to know about this guy. Tim is a retired American mixed martial artist and current soldier. A fighting professional from 2001 until 2016, he has fought in the UFC, Strikeforce, the WEC, ShoMMA, HDNet Fights, and represented the Chicago Red Bears in the IFL. Kennedy is one of the few fighters to simultaneously serve in the United States Army while also fighting professionally. He also is a television host, producer, and entrepreneur.

Tim completed Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, Airborne School, Special Forces Assessment and Selection, and the Special Forces Qualification Course. In 2007, he completed Ranger School and was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, where he served on an Operational Detachments Alpha. During this time he was also a sniper, sniper instructor, and the principal combatives instructor for C Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group. Kennedy deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom multiple times. In August 2009, Kennedy transitioned from active duty to the Texas Army National Guard's 19th Special Forces Group and served in the position of Special Forces Weapons Sergeant. Among Kennedy's multiple awards is the Army's Bronze Star Medal with V device, which was awarded for valor under fire. He is now an active, Ranger-qualified, Green Beret, Special Forces Sniper with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other locations around the globe.

Tim was the host of the History Channel television series Hunting Hitler, which explores alternative theories about Adolf Hitler's death. He also hosted the show Hard to Kill (on the Discovery Channel), in which he attempted to explore a day in the life of the world's most dangerous occupations. Tim produced the TV documentary Not a War Story in 2017 and helped co-produce Warriors in 2014, and also produced and hosted Iron Dragon TV. He’s also made appearances on Deadliest Warrior and The Ultimate Soldier Challenge.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-The inspiration behind Sheepdog Response training…12:40

  • 25 years as a professional
  • Sheepdog Response has several tiers of 3-day intensive training courses (use code BENGREENFIELD for 10% off)
  • Sheepdog came from Colonel Grossman's parable of  sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs:
    • Sheep: regular beings, just living their lives
    • Wolves: looking for the weak ones to kill
    • Sheepdog: has all the predatory skills of a wolf but it loves the sheep and wants to protect them
    • Sheepdogs: Meet Our Nations Warriors by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
  • Tim was part of the task force that brought down al-Zarqawi (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi), leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)
  • While he was at war, he was hearing about the school shootings in the U.S.
  • Vision of wanting to empower the American people to fight, protect and defend themselves from the wolves that are knocking on our door
  • Four years of Sheepdog Response has already trained 9,000 Americans; will train 21,000 by the end of next year

-What to expect in the Sheepdog training course…23:35

  • Front-load the course with the most important aspect of training which is situational awareness
  • Your brain's ability to process what's happening around you takes the longest
  • The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
  • People live in fear because they do not have the skills of situational awareness
  • 1/3 of women are sexually assaulted in college
  • Safety is one of the key motivators to why we train, so that we can live free

-What a Sheepdog-trained person might carry on them in public…28:45

  • A sheepdog changes and tailors the stuff that he carries depending on the permissiveness of the environment
  • Plan to mitigate threats; understand the social patterns or POL (pattern of life) of the people in the environment you are walking into and identify any outliers (potential threats)
  • As a green beret, Tim caters his life to be able to always carry a gun with him
  • Tim always carries a TQ tourniquet pouch—80% of people that died in the Las Vegas shooting bled out; carries all things that can preserve and protect human life
  • A big blood loss type of wound, a car accident or a gunshot wound, bleeds a lot; blood lost in a 15-20 second time is almost impossible to recover from; a tourniquet stops that blood from getting out
  • A tourniquet is the easiest solution to keeping blood in the body
  • Tim keeps a CAT (combat application tourniquet) and a regular rescue tourniquet with him at all times

-The importance of jiu-jitsu in combat training…38:15


  • Tim has a black belt in jiu-jitsu and Army combatants
  • “I get to pick where the fight happens” with jiu-jitsu
  • Understanding how to control your own body and someone else's body
  • UFC fighters have wrestling and jiu-jitsu backgrounds
  • Being close to the ground allows you to neutralize bigger, stronger people without hurting them or worse
  • Jiu-jitsu is the gentle art of martial arts

-How real-world experience makes Sheepdog training legit…43:55

  • There are many charlatans in the martial arts industry selling techniques that would never actually work in the real world
  • There are dozens of martial arts but if you don't practice the martial art against a fully resistant opponent, it's not a martial art
  • If you are going to do a technique and the person allows you to do it, you're doing a kata
  • A kata in martial arts is like a dance; a choreographed pattern of movements
  • A martial art should be something that saves your life, your family's life
  • Other martial arts are just teaching people how to die

-How Sheepdog Response vets attendees for the program…48:40

  • A capable society is a polite society, a trained society is a polite society
  • A man that has the ability to be violent, but isn't, is a kind and gentle man
  • A man that does not have the ability to be violent is useless when it comes to protecting and preserving human life
  • Sheepdog Response does background checks on each attendee

-Real-life examples of Sheepdog attendees using their training…54:35

  • Female police deputy attended 3 Sheepdog courses
  • Before Sheepdog training, she had never learned how to apply a tourniquet
  • When attacked at work by an inmate who was trying to kill himself, she fought back, subdued the attacker, applied a tourniquet to him, and saved his life
  • Level 1 student saved a woman that was being lured by a man based solely on the situational awareness learned from the course

-Fringe smart drugs, supplements, and secrets of the Sheepdog Response team…1:01:15

  • Sheepdog Response team specially selected: Green Berets, Navy SEALS, or Rangers
  • No supplements or smart drugs, only training and pure inward motivation
  • Consciously short circuit our own brains to successfully meet the end state of a mission is all that matters
  • Everyday problems seem so easy to solve when you have put yourself through the hardest moment of the day

-The most dangerous and impressive occupation in filming “Hard To Kill”…1:07:10

  • Ski Patrol and avalanche recovery team
  • Elevation change of about 5000 feet, have to be medically trained and know how to acclimate to the elevation

-And much more…

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

– Tim Kennedy:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Episode sponsors:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Tim Kennedy or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!


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9 thoughts on “How To Become A “Sheepdog,” Grappling With Weapons, Making Yourself Harder To Kill, Are There Fringe Navy SEAL Smart Drugs & Much More With Tim Kennedy.

  1. Ryan Creek says:

    Link not working

  2. Mark says:

    Is this link broken? Trying on a Brave browser – seems not to work. Previous podcast loaded fine.

    1. Paul says:

      Same for me. Doesn’t work on any browser.

  3. Ann says:

    Uhhh ohhh, This link is not working…….

  4. Rebecca Prange says:

    Hey Guys, great convo. Thanks for addressing the societal unwillingness to acknowledge a need for awareness and physical response to violence or potential violence. This is especially true with regard to women facing the nearly constant danger of sexually/misogynistic motivated attacks. I once had a man respond with table pounding anger at my insistence that women are in no way obligated to acknowledge him in a friendly way out on the street. His position was that it is unfair to him for women to assume he might be out to harm them. My position is that a woman who mistakenly assumes otherwise risks rape, torture, and death, while his only risk is hurt feelings. He left my classroom in an angry outburst complete with slamming of the door.
    Moving on, I would like to be more resilient and harder to kill, but find myself with great anxiety and fear around being physically uncomfortable, likely a result of sexual trauma. Any suggestions on how to retrain my brain and nervous system? I’d love to hear a podcast on how these people train themselves to endure discomfort and pain, especially in the context of PTSD/trauma.

  5. Steve says:

    What is this Moo 🐮 Thai that Tim Kennedy talks about? 😆 It’s Muay Thai 🥊

  6. Steve says:

    Tim Kennedy said that all the UFC champions started from a grappling background and that all of them had a collegiate wrestling background. What is he talking about? Israel Adesanya was a striker first before learning grappling. Tim Kennedy named Anderson Silva as an example of someone who grappled and wrestled in college before learning striking. What is he talking about? Anderson Silva was a striker first.

    1. Chris Harrey says:

      Incorrect with Anderson Silva, he trained BJJ as a child before going into Taekwondo and then Muay Thai. Definitely correct, in actual fact the majority of non-American and non-Russian fighters come from a striking background and learn grappling after – when transitioning into MMA.

  7. Edward Nino says:

    cant download sheepdog podcast

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