FMAT: Combat: It's not about tapping out!

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Sep 11, 2006
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Combat: It's not about tapping out!
By robertlk808 - 12-17-2008 09:55 PM
Originally Posted at: FMATalk


Cool article from a soldiers perspective about training with Kelly Worden.

**Also within the article there is a type-o it refers to a person as Matt Worden but I believe they mean Matt Larsen.**

Instructor lets students know combatives all about survival
Sgt. D.A. Dickinson/28th Public Affairs Detachment
Published: 12:32PM December 11th, 2008

Sgt. D.A. Dickinson/28th Public Affairs Detachment

Kelly Worden demonstrates one way to utilize his "travel wrench," which is designed to inflict excruciating pain on an enemy.

It&#8217;s not every day that a lowly little public affairs lackey like me gets the chance to beat the P. Mortal stuffings out of senior NCOs and officers.

Naturally, when my combatives instructor, Kelly S. Worden, called and offered me the opportunity to help him train the leaders of 4th Brigade, I leaped at the opportunity. Especially since the training would involve a few of my favorite things: foot trapping takedowns, hand-to-hand combat and using a Worden-designed &#8220;travel wrench&#8221; to inflict excruciating pain on people who out ranked me.

Thank you, Santa.

Let me explain a little about Kelly Worden. Every fictional fact ascribed to Chuck Norris pretty much applies to Worden in real life. There&#8217;s a reason the man spent nearly seven years slapping around the shooters of 1st Special Forces Group as their combatives instructor. And it&#8217;s not because they liked the smell of his aftershave.

Worden grew up on the mean streets of Tacoma, learning to box and quickly adapting the sport to the dirty science of street fighting.

When he eventually found martial arts, he picked it up as a way to get an edge in a street altercation. But after he began training with the Philipino Modern Arnis Master, Prof. Remy Presas, Worden discovered a way to create his own unique and insanely effective fighting style that he named Natural Spirit International.

Natural Spirit draws upon Modern Arnis, boxing and Muay Thai, Aikido, Sambo, Isshin Ryu Karate and the non-classical Wing Chun Gung Fu taught by Bruce Lee when he first began teaching in Seattle. (While it may sound fancy to the uninitiated, Natural Spirit is actually quite simple, adapting everyday movements for combative purposes.)

Years later, Worden&#8217;s explosive and innovative approach to fighting was adopted by Army 1st Special Forces Group and Air Force combat controllers.

So when Col. John G. Norris, commander of 4th Brigade, wanted to integrate a unique combatives experience as part of a team-building exercise, he called Worden, whom he met years before while training with the Soldiers of 1st SFG.

&#8220;Our combatives program is good,&#8221; Norris said. &#8220;But you get people out there and their first instinct is to go to the ground. I wanted to expose my leaders to other stuff.&#8221;

The idea of controlling your opponent while keeping your footing offered certain advantages, Norris said. &#8220;If you don&#8217;t have to go to the ground and lose control, why?&#8221; he asked.

Norris said he perceived Worden&#8217;s combatives instruction as a great option for dealing with detainees, particularly in the way a smaller fighter can throw a bigger opponent around.

&#8220;All the restraint options that you guys bring to the table, that&#8217;s valuable for our Soldiers,&#8221; Norris said. Staff Sgt. Terry Rodgers, an instructor at the Operation Warrior Trainer, 2nd Battalion, 364th Brigade, 191st Infantry and a student of Worden&#8217;s, was on hand to assist with the instruction.

&#8220;It opens you up, mentally and physically,&#8221; said Rodgers, who holds black belts in aiki-jujitsu and taekwondo. &#8220;When you compare this to the Army&#8217;s combatives program, this gives you more tools when a Soldier&#8217;s got all his gear on. That&#8217;s how I look at it from the military view.&#8221;

One of the leaders participating in the training said he appreciated the stand-up fighting options Worden taught. &#8220;It was good, real good,&#8221; said 1st Sgt. Nick Pingel, first sergeant of F Company, 52nd Infantry, 4th Brigade. &#8220;It&#8217;s more practical than being on the ground with all the stuff we wear and carry.&#8221;

Worden said he resents the influence the mixed martial arts community has on combatives for Soldiers.

&#8220;It&#8217;s not a sport,&#8221; Worden said. &#8220;That&#8217;s what we need to get away from. I don&#8217;t appreciate guys bringing sport into a Soldier&#8217;s self-defense.&#8221;

&#8220;Combat ain&#8217;t about tapping out,&#8221; Rodgers said. &#8220;It&#8217;s about survival.&#8221;

The emphasis on ground fighting as a desirable place to be in a combative situation is pretty much the exclusive domain of Matt Worden and his fan base. Every other leading combatives instructor in the world has taught that the ground is the worst possible place to be in a fight involving lethal weapons and multiple opponents.

The risk of the wrong kind of injury (yours) escalates exponentially when you find yourself wrestling a knife-wielding foe in a third-world street littered with debris and flowing with raw sewage and human waste.

&#8220;The ground is not a good place to be,&#8221; Worden said. &#8220;Just look at any riot or a concert that goes bad.&#8221;

The assessment from the participants was positive.

&#8220;As chaplains, we can&#8217;t carry weapons, so for us, this is a great option,&#8221; said Maj. Terrell Jones, a chaplain with 4th Brigade.

First Sgt. Derrik Wilson, headquarters and headquarters company first sergeant, for 138th Infantry, 4th Bde. said he was particularly fond of Worden&#8217;s nefarious foot trapping takedowns.

&#8220;Those foot traps come so easy,&#8221; he said. &#8220;One minute you&#8217;re engaged, the next you&#8217;re aggressive and he&#8217;s falling and wondering what happened.&#8221;
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