Fighting, especially boxing and martial arts, were how Brent Verdialez filled his time as a young kid growing up in Fresno, California.
Before he was 10 years old he was boxing, and shortly after that he learned Wing Chun, a style of kung fu. He later dedicated himself to a little known fighting style known as Sanda, a kind of a mashup of kung fu, kickboxing and wrestling.
Then, in 2004, he joined the Army. A short while later he got into Special Forces and was then assigned to 1st SF Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
He and his fellow soldiers trained in a variety of martial arts between deployments. Verdialez kept fighting.
It all ground to a halt when what seemed like a minor injury during Army combatives training sidelined a lifetime of fighting. But the experience also challenged him to build a brand-new way for fighters to train by combining ancient methods with modern technology.
The sergeant first class had broken his ulnar, a forearm bone that runs from the elbow to the pinkie finger. And that made a huge difference.
But he still wanted to train. His Muay Thai instructor wanted to help but couldn’t spend the entire practice session just with Verdialez when they needed to spar.
He was in recovery mode from early 2019 until nearly May, but with little improvement.
Stuck at home recovering, but itching to train, Verdialez combined his background as an SF 18C or Special Forces engineer and a childhood spent training with wooden sparring dummies, popularized by legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, to produce a new kind of training tool.
The wooden dummies, known as Mu Ren Zhuang, or “wooden man post” have been used for centuries and are believed to have originated with the Shaolin temple monks who practiced early kung fu forms.
The standard dummy comes with three arms and one leg, but others used by different fighting styles can have other configurations.