I’ve been pleased to watch the success of Barron Shepherd, whose Professional Edge Combatives program continues to get noticed. Among other things Barron recently put out his own version of the classic Get Tough combatives text. One of the classics of WWII Combatives, Get Tough by W.E. Fairbairn (now in the public domain) remains relevant today as an expedient guide to practical, even brutal self-defense. This classic has been floating around the Internet for years now, but Barron has updated it for the modern era with an extensive and insightful foreward that places the book in both historical and contemporary context.
As for Barron himself, it’s been my pleasure to know him for some years now. He’s an incredibly nice guy (and one of the most consistently pleasant, polite people I’ve ever met). He’s a 2nd degree black belt in Judo who has been involved in martial arts for three and a half decades. The instructor for the Winter Haven Judo Club and Professional Edge Combatives in Winter Haven, Florida, he has been a USA JUDO certified coach and a lifetime member of National Sport Judo. Back in the nineties, Barron was also the regional director for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) for the sport of Judo under Sensei Steve Scott.
Once certified to train police officers, he’s volunteered countless hours as an auxiliary law enforcement officer, and has even worked in the film industry — as part of the set and personal security personnel for Seaquest DSV during its second season. Barron frequently trains at Sasaki Judo in Orlando, Florida, in addition to teaching Judo and combatives in the Winter Haven area.
Barron achieved a bit of fame in 2016 when an exchange he had online with Arrow actor Stephen Amell went viral. He was even interviewed over the whole thing. He remains an avowed fan of the program.
What you may not realize is that Barron is something of a miracle story himself. I’m always happy to make the acquaintance of martial artists of skill and good character, which Barron is. He’s a fairly unassuming and very well-grounded person. But Barron should probably be dead or, at the very least, crippled. That’s because on 5 November, 2015, in some kind of freak mishap at work, he was run over by a truck.
“The wheels ran completely over the top of me, missing my head by inches,” he explained in his Arrow interview. “My legs became tangled in the last set of tires and I was dragged for 30 feet before the truck stopped… I had a titanium plate put in my foot and was told my prognosis was 6 months plus physical therapy before I could do normal stuff, but 7 weeks after the accident I was back to work and returned to my Judo training.”
What Barron does not reveal in that interview is that his superb level of physical fitness, especially for a man who’s past 50, is what saved his life. A man in lesser shape would have been killed or left permanently disabled by the crushing weight of that semi. The fact that he recovered and is now more active than ever is nothing short of miraculous.
If you’d like to read the Professional Edge Combatives PDF of Get Tough, including Barron’s extremely thorough introduction, I highly recommend it. Just Send him $9.99 USD via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to include your preferred email for receipt of the PDF.
Barron Shepherd is that rare breed among martial artists; he’s a martialist, too. Add to that the fact that he’s also a really nice guy and you have a formula for someone whose work we all ought to support.