Nick (Expert 1)
Jonathan (Expert 1)
Paul (Graduate 4)
Will (Graduate 3)
Terry (Graduate 3)
Cassie (Graduate 1)
Bouba (Graduate 1)
Andy (Graduate 2)
Chris (Graduate 2)
Sam (Graduate 2)
Michael (Graduate 1)
Omar (Practitioner 5)
Darryl (Practitioner 5)
James (Practitioner 5)
Ines (Graduate 2)
Jay (practitioner 5)
Taurus (Practitioner 5)
Jason (Practitioner 3)
Bridget (Practitioner 3)


All of First Defense’s Assistant Instructors are certified through Krav Maga Global and have trained directly under Eyal Yanilov and the KMG Global Instructor Team.

Nick Masi

Lead Instructor, Herndon, VA

Nick Masi has been teaching Krav Maga in the Washington, DC area since 2004. He began his training in 2003 after completing graduate school in California. He was a natural and within a year, was an assistant instructor leading classes at a number of different locations.

In 2008, Nick traveled to Berkeley, CA for the IKMF US Instructor’s Course with Eyal Yanilov, a first of its kind event in the United States. Nick is one of the very few instructors in the DC metro area to complete his instructor training personally with Eyal (who is now head of Krav Maga Global – KMG, the highest ranked practitioner in the world, and the leading voice of modern Krav Maga).

Nick is currently ranked Expert 1 making him one of the highest ranked instructors in the United States. He is also the North American Coordinator for Krav Maga Global, assisting with the development of instructors and schools throughout the United States and Canada.

Nick began his Shuai-chiao training and earned his 3rd degree black belt under Dr. Chi-hsiu Daniel Weng in Cupertino, CA. A strong competitor, Nick has medaled consistently and placed first in the 2005 & 2006 National Championships. He has also represented the United States in competitions in Brazil, Italy, China, and Taiwan. Nick started the Northern Virginia Shuai-chiao Club in 2007 to teach and spread the art.

Paul Apostolescu

Instructor, Herndon, VA


Cassie Clifford

Instructor, Herndon, VA

Cassie completed the Krav Maga Global (KMG) General Instructors Course in 2013. In addition to teaching and assisting classes at the school, Cassie continues to train hard for her own personal advancement and help others enjoy the benefits of Krav Maga.

Cassie’s other passion as a human rights activist over the last 20 years, has led her to be a recognized leader in the field of both Human Trafficking/Modern-Day Slavery and Children’s Rights, and as Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation seeks to ensure victims of all forms of slavery have the tools and resources they need to thrive, including an established Violence Prevention program which provides Krav Maga training to victims of violence and provides training for self-defense Instructors to recognize triggers and safely train victims.

Cassie is a published writer and has written countless articles for International Think Tanks on violence, abuse, bullying, rape and other related issues.

Bouba Ballo

Instructor, Herndon, VA

Certified KMG Instructor having trained under Ran Laskov, Ilya Dunsky, Balazs Szabo and Eyal Yanilov.

Andy Berkin

Assistant Instructor, Herndon, VA

Our Eagle Scout!

Omar Jones

Assistant Instructor, Herndon, VA


James Lindsey

Assistant Instructor, Herndon, VA

Certified KMG Assistant Instructor having trained under Ran Laskov, Ilya Dunsky, and Eyal Yanilov.

Darryl Johnson

Assistant Instructor, Herndon, VA

Darryl is a 30 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. He is a Special Operations U.S. Marine and a Sniper. Darryl has served in combat from Beirut to Afghanistan. He has completed the Blackwater 22 week Tactical Operations Officer’s Course, SERE School, the U.S. Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), the U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Leaders Course, Protective Agents Course, and is Combat SCUBA and HALO qualified. Darryl holds multiple firearms certifications and is experienced in VIP Protective Operations. Darryl also coaches Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth Travel Baseball. He has completed his KMG GIC 1 and GIC 2 under Eyal Yanilov and the KMG Global Instructor Team. Darryl currently holds the KMG rank of P5.

Michael Schindler

Assistant Instructor, Herndon, VA

Former member of the German military and Avid outdoors-men.

Chris Murphy

Assistant Instructor, Herndon, VA

Chris Murphy is outspoken advocate for the principles of Krav Maga and its practicality. He has been studying it for over 5 years as both a student and assistant instructor. He has trained in Israel under Ran Laskov, Ilya Dunsky, and Eyal Yanilov as well as with other innovators of the system in the United States. Chris brings energy to his classes and loves to share his passion for the system!

Sam Murphy

Assistant Instructor, Herndon, VA

Samuel Murphy holds a current rank of Graduate 2 and is an assistant instructor at First Defense Krav Maga. Samuel has studied various martial arts before coming to Krav Maga and has over a decade of combined experience training in martial arts disciplines. When Samuel first learned of Krav Maga, he was drawn to the real world scenarios the Krav Maga system encompasses and fighting tactics it employs for self defense and defense of others. Samuel has been learning Krav Maga for over 6 years and has trained under some of the top instructors in Krav Maga Global including John Bollock, Jani Savanto, Balazs Szabo and Eyal Yanilov. In his current role as an assistant instructor, Samuel is passionate about helping students develop and learn self defense skills that may one day save their life.

Bridget Anderson

Youth Instructor, Instructor College member, Herndon, VA (successfully completed GIC part 1)

Bridget is a driving force that makes First Defense Youth Program such a success. Her teaching style keeps all the participants engaged in class while learning all the important principles of Krav Maga.

Ines de Pablo

Instructor College member, Herndon, VA (successfully completed GIC Part 1)

Ines D.P. completed Part 1 of the General Instructor Course in 2013 and completed her Graduate 1 level in Israel while training under the guidance of Jan Tevini, Ran Laskov, Ilya Dunsky and Eyal Yanilov. This pass fall in Las Vegas, NV, she has also graduated to rank of Graduate level 2.

Taurus Johnson

Instructor College member, Herndon, VA (successfully completed GIC part 1)

Successfully completed GIC Part one under Jonathan Bullock

Jay Saunders

Instructor College member, Herndon, VA (successfully completed GIC part 1)

Krav Practitioner and Actor.

Jason Moyer

Instructor College member, Herndon, VA (successfully completed GIC part 1)

Successfully completed GIC part 1 under Jonathan Bullock

Terry H.

Senior/Guest Instructor, Herndon, VA


William Allen

Senior/Guest Instructor, Herndon, VA

One of the first First Defense students to complete the KMG General Instructor Course, Will taught in our Herndon location for over a year before relocating to Texas. We look forward to Will's visits whenever he comes back to Northern VA.

Jonathan Levy

Senior/Guest Instructor

Jonathan Levy successfully completed his Krav Maga Instructor course with Eyal Yanilov (assisted by Amnon Darsa) in 2001/2002. While living in Israel, he trained extensively with KM black belts at Gabi Noah's studio, and has traveled abroad to continue his KM education (Budapest, Melbourne). He currently holds the rank of Expert 1, awarded by Eyal.

Henoch Otero

Guest Instructor

Henoch Otero is a 21-year veteran of the New York City Police Department with Martial Arts and Self Defense training in Boxing, Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Martial Arts, Muay Thai Boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Krav Maga. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Henoch began boxing in 1979 at the age of 9. He then went on to study Jeet Kune Do at the age of 17. From there, he transitioned into many other areas of Martial Arts and Self Defense as he trained continually over the next three decades.

In the mid-1990's, looking to expand his training into an area that would apply self defense tactics to law enforcement strategies, Henoch began training in Krav Maga and earned the title of World Wide Krav Maga Lead Law Enforcement Instructor.

In order to increase the effectiveness of his teaching, Henoch began training with Eyal Yanilov of International Krav Maga Federation. He earned full instructor status in Krav Maga Global. After three and a half years of teaching self defense tactics to other officers, Henoch joined the NYPD's Emergency Services Unit. where he became a detective where he spent the remainder of his law enforcement career, until he retired in 2012 at the age of 42.