Heavy Hitters – The Impact Tools of Kelly Worden By Michael Benjamin

Kelly S. Worden demonstrating the Travel Wrench
Kelly S. Worden demonstrating the Travel Wrench


As the Grandmaster of the Worden Defense System combat system and the Founder of Natural Spirit International, Kelly S. Worden is perhaps most renowned for his mastery in close-quarters-combat (CQC), and in particular, edged weaponry.

He’s the creator of some of the most successful self-defense and knife instruction videos on the market and has designed several widely produced blades, including the Wortac folder, the Scorpion kerambit, the Special Forces’ machete, and the Presas Legacy knife.  In short, the name Kelly Worden is synonymous with CQC in today’s martial arts, cutlery, and military communities.

What may surprise those not familiar with Kelly Worden’s martial versatility is the fact that he is as proficient in impact weapons as he is the blade.  As equally at home with an olisi or baraw, he is also the founder of Modern Arnis’ long-staff system, sanctioned by Professor Presas as the sibat.  Most importantly to this examination, Kelly Worden is the designer of two unique impact tools that provide the vigilant citizen a fist-full of self-defensive power.  These tools are the classic Travel Wrench and the just newly released Saf-T-Wrench.  Both are constructed of high-density, nearly indestructible plastic that proves light for carry yet hard on impact.  While each possesses its own unique geometry and ergonomic design, both can be utilized in similar ways using empty-handed techniques or knife patterns from the Worden Defense System curriculum.


The Travel Wrench’s design can be traced to Worden’s world-class expertise in Filipino martial arts.  Its L-shaped frame is directly influenced by the indigenous Filipino knife, the kerambit.  Configured with a ring at the top of the handle for placement of the index finger, the Travel Wrench’s ergonomics allow for absolute weapon retention even if one’s grip opens.  From its ring itextends into the handle and then turns ninety degrees forming a bar-shaped surface positioned at the bottom of the fist.  It iswith this bar that punishing hammer-fist styles of blocks and strikes can be inflicted.  The end of this bar terminates in a protrusion extending beyond the fist allowing for pin-point thrusts against the eyes, throat, or other vital points.  Lastly, the finger ring is also a striking surface when a top-fist or phoenix-eye type of blow is utilized.

The new Saf-T-Wrench is an equally unique formulation.  Profiled like a little battle-ax, the shape creates placement for its half-moon striking surface between the ram’s head (first two knuckles) of the fist.  Like its predecessor, this weapon’s shape allows for enhanced retention as it is secured between the pinch of the fingers even if the fist’s clench is loosened.  In contrast however, instead of a bar-shaped striking surface, the Saf-T-Wrench possesses a tapered point at the bottom of the fist and a rounded nub at the top.  Like its brother, it can be used for severe fore-fist, hammer-fist, and top-fist striking.

Due to the geometry of these weapons they are capable of inflicting a greater amount of damage than a comparable empty-handed strike.  This is due to the fact that the power generated with the impact tool is delivered into a more pin-pointed target. To use an Okinawan term, they generate more kimei; that is, more force and focus into a smaller target area and thus greater damage.

Another advantage in using these weapons is that one does not risk the potential injury that can be incurred when the bare-hand is slammed into a target.  In the chaos intrinsic to any street situation, any fighter, no matter how skilled, runs the risk of striking at and missing an intended target.  In so doing, catching hard skull or other bone by mistake could prove injurious.  If such a miss occurs with the Travel or Saf-T Wrench the foe still gets the brunt of the punishment instead of your hand! Likewise, for the defense-minded citizen who has not had the training necessary to properly condition the hands for striking, the wrenches generate a harder, more penetrating blow than would be caused without them.

To read more please visit Worden’s Defense System’s website.

2 thoughts on “Heavy Hitters – The Impact Tools of Kelly Worden By Michael Benjamin

  1. Hi Gary,
    I train at home or at the park with guys but when we train at the park it’s primarily stick fighting DBMA style buy my prior training always comes through. I trained directly with Datu Worden while living in WA for about 10 years and. Shoot me an email at robertlk70@islandwarrior.com if you want to get together sometime.


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