Our Instructors



headshotLEOSteve Sheridan .  – Fortress Fighting Systems Program Director, Law Enforcement Training Program Director, School Owner– Steve is a retired state of Florida law enforcement officer after over 14 years of service. He has over 20 years of law enforcement teaching experience, 13 as a lead instructor for his former agency, and over 10 years as an instructor for Florida’s State Police Academy. He has supervised and trained the state’s Special Operations Group (SOG), an integral part of Florida’s Homeland Security initiative.  He continues his law enforcement career as a Leon County Deputy (part-time), maintaining his state certifications as a Defensive Tactics and Firearms instructor, TASER instructor, and Active Shooter Instructor. In 2010 he was inducted into the Police Hall of Fame for Lifesaving.  Steve is also an adjunct instructor at the state police academy (FPSI) teaching Defensive Tactics, General Police Practices and Advanced classes in Edged Weapons, Firearms, and Defensive Tactics. He has been teaching self-defense for over 30 years, developing programs for students, families, agencies, and corporations nationwide. He is currently the state’s BOW Personal Safety Instructor (Becoming an Outdoor Woman Program). He is the founder of the Fortress Fighting System (TM)  and holds Black Belts in Taekwondo and Combat Hapkido.  Steve is also assists with instructing in Kenpo Karate, JKD, and Kali. Steve has a B.S. degree in Sociology with a minor in Criminology from FSU (1994), and he holds a Masters in Adult Education from University of Phoenix (2010).   He is also the founder and president of the Leadership and Training Research Institute here in Tallahassee, Florida and the Training Director for De-Escalate, a company specializing in teaching verbal de-escalation skills to law enforcement, Corrections, School Staff/Teachers, and Hospital staff.



Vergy Sheridan – Women’s Program Director, School Owner-  Instructor Fortress Fighting Systems, Instructor Specialty Law Enforcement Classes (Sudden Assault Survival for Women in Law Enforcement), Women’s only self-defense classes.  Vergy is a former Florida State Trooper (class 91). Vergy is currently an instructor for the federally funded Becoming an Outdoor Woman Program (BOW).

Russell Wilder  – Kenpo Karate Board Member/Instructor – 5th degree Black Belt Kenpo Karate

                                         Theresa Pepe – Kenpo Karate Board Member/Instructor – 5th Degree                                             Black Belt Kenpo Karate, Instructor in Women’s Only Program


Alan Swirsky – Kenpo Karate Board Member/Instructor- 4th Degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate. Alan is a Professor at Tallahassee Community College.




 Rupert Giroux –  Kenpo Karate Board Member/Instructor – 3rd Degree Black Belt Kenpo Karate




Dean Hilton – Kenpo Karate Board Member/Instructor – 4th Degree Black Belt Kenpo Karate, Arnis Instructor







Kaitlyn Sisk –  Kids Program and Kenpo Karate Board Member – 3rd Degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate and Women’s Only Instructor. Kaitlyn is pursuing her degree in Special Education for Special Needs Adults and Children.



Sifu/Guro Victor Ferreros

The Tallahassee Kali – JKD Group / Combat Arnis de Mano – Sifu Ferreros has been teaching martial arts since 1983. Sifu/Guro Ferreros was a 5th Level Associate Instructor (Sifu) in Jeet Kune Do / Jun Fan Gung Fu and a 5th Level Guro in the Inosanto/Lacoste style of Filipino Martial Arts certified by the Inosanto International Martial Arts Instructors Association headed by the Legendary Dan Inosanto in Los Angeles, California. He also holds a Black Belt (or higher) ranking in other Filipino styles such as Sayoc Family Kali, Doce Pares Eskrima, and Arnis Jiu-Jitsu. He has also trained extensively in the Philippines in other FMA systems such as Lapunti Arnis de Abaniko, Nickelstick Balintiwak Eskrima, and Kali Ilustrisimo. His background also includes study in various traditional martial arts of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese Lineage including Tae Kwon Do, Moo Duk Kwon, Shito Ryu Karate, Judo, Aikido, Northern Shaolin, Hsing-I, Wing Chun, and various styles of Tai Chi. He was a boxing coach and fenced with the Treasure Coast Fencing Club. Assisting him will be his students, Guro John Sliger, Guro Hank Hawkins, and Guro Bo Jackson who have a combined 20+ years of experience under Sifu/Guro Ferreros.



Bo Jackson JKD-Escrima/Kali-Silat – Sifu Bo has been a student of the martial arts for over 20 years.  His experience includes many styles such as Southern Eagle Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Wrestling (Free Style and Greco-Roman), Shorin Ryu Karate, Kenpo Karate, Judo, Muay Thai, and Western Boxing.  He has spent the last 6 years under the tutelage of Sifu/Guru Victor Ferreros, a long time student (30+ years) and certified instructor under Sifu/Guru Dan Inosanto who is the highest ranking JKD instructor certified by the late Sigung Bruce Lee and the founder of the Inosanto/Lacoste style of Filipino Martial Arts (FMA).  Bo has been granted instructor ranking in Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do as well as “Guru Lakan” ranking in Filipino Martial Arts und Sifu/Guru Victor Ferreros’ Tallahassee Kali JKD Group/Combat Arnis de Mano.  Bo also holds Apprentice INstructor ranking in Jun Fan Gung Fu through Sifu Larry Hartsell.  Sifu/Guru Bo continues his training under the wtachful eye of Sifu/Guru Victor Ferreros.                               

Donald Trussell – Judo   Coach Don passed away on March 12, 2016…..
Coach Don held a 7th Degree in Judo and 4th Degree in Yoshikai Karate. Competed at state & National Level in Judo, Coaching Judo/Karate since 1968. Part of Development Team for the Sunshine State Games 1980 and coordinator for the games 1983-90, Charter Member of Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports, Member of Tallahassee Sports Festival Team, Trained 3 Members of the USA Olympic Judo Team. USA Judo International Coach, Completed Level III Coaching Certification with Dr. Chris Dewey, Fitness Test Technician Certification from Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX. Coaching Certificate from Florida State University and a B.S. Degree from Florida State University.  Coach Trussell was also a Reserve Police officer with the state of Florida.   US Olympic Judo Team Competitors Coached  –  Jill Stokesberry (alternate,)  Brian Olson, Ato Hand
Coach Donald Trussell passed away on March 14, 2016 after more than 50 years of bringing Judo and the Martial Arts to Tallahassee.