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Instructor Credentials

At Mousel's Self Defense Academy, our instructors are full time, professional martial arts instructors who are dedicated to instructional excellence at all levels.

Tim Mousel

Tim Mousel has been training in the martial arts since 1980. He holds Associate Instructor certification under Bruce Lee protégé Guro Dan Inosanto to teach Filipino Martial Art as well as Jun Fan Gung-Fu which was received in 1990. Tim holds a Level 2 instructorship from the prestigious Minnesota Kali Group (1988), Full Instructorship from the Dubuque Martial Arts Group (1987) and a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do (1986).

He is the owner of Mousel's Self-Defense Academy, Women's Self-Defense, and The Edge Personal Training studio.

In 1990, Tim earned instructor level from Ajarn Surachai Sirisute (see part of the test here) and in the summer of 2006, he was the 10th instructor worldwide to earn the honorable rank of Full Instructor (Kruh) from Ajarn Surachai Sirisute who is President of the Thai Boxing Association of the USA. In July of 2012 Ajarn Surachai Sirisute awarded Tim the highest honor of the rank Ajarn.

Tim also serves as Houston Branch Director for the Thai Boxing Association of the USA and is an Instructor in Jun Fan Gung Fu - Jeet Kune Do Grappling Arts under Sifu Larry Hartsell's Jun Fan/Jeet Kune Do Grappling Association (2005). Additionally, he received a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Rickson Gracie (1996).

On September 12th, 2005 he received his purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Leonardo Xavier. He has been honored as having an Associated school with Leonardo Xavier's Academy from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Tim has also completed the requirements for Coach Level 2 in Erik Paulson's Combat Submission Wrestling (2003). On March 15th, 2009, Erik awarded Tim with Coach Level 3 making him the highest ranking CSW coach in the Southwestern United States. He is now the Lead Pro Coach in Texas for the CSW organization.

Tim completed the required course of study approved by the Abu Dhabi Combat Club for the Class C Certification and was awarded the Referee Certification. He is listed as Consultant for the book by Kru Tony Moore, "Muay Thai - The Essential Guide to Mastering the Art" (2004).

A Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical education and coaching (K-12), and a Master of Science degree in Sports Science from the United States Sports Academy have given Tim the ability to teach the martial arts in a professional, effective manner.

He spends one weekend per month traveling to different parts of the United States teaching at fitness conferences attended by personal trainers, physical therapists and athletic trainers in need of continuing education credits. The courses cover the latest cutting edge information in the fields of exercise science, biomechanics, and fitness training. In May 2013, he presented "Muay Thai Kickboxing for the Personal Trainer" at Florida Mania, one of the largest fitness education organizations in the country. He presented (May 17, 2015), "Peak Performance Training: Debunking the Myths" at the Revgear University International Conference. In 2018, he presented "Mitt Training for Mixed Martial Arts" at the Revgear University International Conference which also featured Guro Dan Inosanto, Ajarn Chai Sirisute, Sensei Erik Paulson, Sifu Francis Fong and many other top martial artists.

Tim was also the Strength and Conditioning Coach for two-time world boxing champion Reggie Johnson. He is former chief Physical Training Instructor for the HCC Law Enforcement Academy and teaches Physical Education (Exercise Science, Theory of Exercise, Fitness Testing, Fitness Industry Operations, Advanced Weight Training & Conditioning, Personal Training) at Houston's local college. He's also an instructor for the American Red Cross in First Aid, CPR and AED. Tim is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (N.A.S.M.) and the American Council on Exercise (A.C.E.). July 12th of 2017, Tim received the elite American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist Certification.

In 1990, Tim opened his Houston gym. It was the FIRST gym in Houston to offer Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Filipino Martial Arts and Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW).

He has trained many of Houston's top martial arts instructors and has students he has trained compete at the highest levels of mixed martial arts competition including the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), King of the Cage, Pride, national kickboxing and thaiboxing championships and professional boxing.

Daniel Arola

Daniel Arola began his journey in the martial arts in 1983 while growing up in the Ilocos region of the Philippine Islands practicing Escrima and kickboxing until his move back to the United States in 1985.

Mr. Arola continued onward in his studies in various martial art systems of different cultures, and earned black belt rankings in Tang Soo Do and Hapkido in 1992 under Master Chris Yaeger in Deer Park, Texas. In 1997 Daniel was promoted to 3rd Dan in Hapkido by Grandmaster Larry Ordonio of Channelview Texas.

Daniel began training with Tim Mousel in 1992.  He is certified as an instructor through Mousel's Self Defense Academy. Additionally, Daniel has made television appearances on a handful of occasions demonstrating his talent and skills accumulated over twenty years of training in the arts.

 Beginning in February 2005, Daniel made the move to Fayetteville, North Carolina and officially founded DAMAG-INC (Daniel Arola Martial Arts Group Inc). The body of students consisted mostly of military personnel stationed at Fort Bragg and the 82nd Airborne. The training curriculum developed into what is now called DAMAG-INC Kali Combatives . A martial combatives system designed to function in both the battlefield and in the street.

In November of 2006, Daniel left North Carolina and moved back to Houston  to continue onward with training, teaching and sharing the system with a new group of like-minded martial arts enthusiasts.


Pat Swan

Pat Swan is responsible for the Boxing curriculum at our academy. After winning several Toughman Contests and the Houston Golden Gloves, Pat went on to become a world ranked Professional Boxer in the super middleweight division. Pat has had 35 Professional bouts and has fought all over the world against the best competition including 5 world champions and multiple top 10 contenders.

Pat has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical education and coaching (K-12) and is a full time Physical education teacher in the Katy school district. His position as a Physical education teacher and his vast experience in the ring have given him the necessary teaching experience to help his boxing students excel.


Cassandra Smisson

Cassandra P. Smisson, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Houston, Texas, and she is responsible for sport psychology services at our academy. She began her academic endeavors at Clemson University, where she completed a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Health Science. She then attended Georgia Southern University and earned an M.S. in Kinesiology with a specialization in Sport and Exercise Psychology. At The Florida State University, she then completed a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and Human Systems. She moved to Houston, Texas and completed her pre-doctoral residency at the Michael E. DeBakey Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, after which she joined a group private practice and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Forensic Psychology. She has professional publications in the area of sport and exercise psychology and has served as an editorial assistant for the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Dr. Smisson’s experience in sport and exercise psychology ranges across a multitude of sports and experience/fitness levels. She has consulted with athletes of all ages in the development and maturation of sport-related psychological skills pertaining to performance anxiety (commonly referred to as “choking”), fear of injury/re-injury, recovering from injury, difficulties sustaining focus and concentration, aggression enhancement, burn-out and motivation enhancement, and career transitions out of sport. As a licensed psychologist, she also specializes in personal issues, such as depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and relationship difficulties, allowing for the highest standard of professional care. She is a self-proclaimed sports fanatic who maintains an active lifestyle by participating in a variety of physical activities. To schedule an appointment or inquire about services, please contact Dr. Smisson directly by clicking here.