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Our History

Self Defense Training | Swamp Fox Tactics | Grass Valley, CA

The History of the Swamp Fox

During the American Revolutionary War, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Marion served as a militia commander alongside the Continental Army. Marion trained and led a small group of irregular troops against the British and became a persistent adversary in their occupation of South Carolina in 1780 and 1781. His unconventional tactics and cunning ability to lose the British forces through the region’s swamps earned him the nickname by which he's remembered today, the Swamp Fox.


Named in honor of this widely-considered hero of the Revolutionary War is the Marion Military Institute (MMI) in Marion, Alabama. Founded in 1812, it is now the official state military college of Alabama and the nation's oldest military junior college. When facing unprecedented guerrilla warfare tactics by the North Vietnamese in 1963, MMI channeled the spirit of Marion by creating a program to modify combat strategies for their cadets. Aptly known as the Swamp Fox Program, it continues today in preparing soon-to-be leaders and soldiers for unconventional, guerrilla, and jungle warfare.


While attending MMI as a cadet, our founder, Jason Sussdorf, earned his place among the ranks of the Swamp Fox community. During the course of his education, he enlisted in the Army and began his career as a Tactical Psychological Operations Specialist, forever carrying the values and ethos impressed upon him during his time spent in the Swamp Fox Program.

Self Defense Training | Swamp Fox Tactics | Grass Valley, CA

The History of the Sussdorf Family

Dale Sussdorf was born in 1955 but began his life as a true martial artist in the early ‘70s when he was exposed to Taekwondo while serving in the Army. Upon returning home from the military, he continued to pursue this interest and began studying Kosho and American Kenpo. While earning his 1st-degree black belt, he met and fell in love with a woman, Sue, who was a black belt in her own right. They married in 1985 and began their life together, following the path of the martial way.


Dale spent the following two+ decades immersed in the teachings and trainings of multiple disciplines, earning his 4th-degree black belt in Kosho Kenpo and his 5th-degree black belt in American Kenpo, as well as degrees in Escrima (Filipino stick and knife fighting), Shiatsu (acupressure), and Shodo (Japanese brush writing). In 1989 he began studying Kobudo (Okinawan weapons) and Iaido (the art of Japanese swordsmanship) under Shihan (master) Mikio Nishiutsi. Three years later Dale traveled to Japan to test for and earn his black belt in Iaido. While there, he also earned his 5th-degree blackbelt in Kobudo. 


In 1984 Dale and Sue opened their own dojo in Woodland, California. It was here that their son, Jason, began his life as a true martial artist. Together the family of three continued to teach and train until Dale passed away unexpectedly in 2007. There is much comfort in the stories and memories still shared to this day about Dale, for well over a thousand students walked through the doors of his dojo. The school's tenure was even long enough to cross generations, as some students grew up and returned to enroll their own children. He was a sensei in the truest form.


Swamp Fox Tactics exists not only because of Dale Sussdorf, but as a tribute to his life and the legacy of knowledge he imparted upon all of his students, especially his son. Today Jason has two sons of his own who are now the beneficiaries of this legacy. The boys may never have met Dale, but they continually inherit the gift of his spirit through the teachings of their sensei, their father, and our founder, Jason Sussdorf. 

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