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The Worden Defense System (WDS) is a reality-based, non-sport martial art. WDS is a uniquely American blend of over 40 years of martial arts study by Kelly Worden. Over this time, Kelly has trained in and coalesced arts from Japan, China, The Philippines, and The United States, among others, to create a system that is direct, efficient, and very effective.

The techniques and strategies in WDS are designed to flow across the force spectrum, from self-defense for the civilian, to community protection for law enforcement, and finally to military hand-to-hand combat applications. There are no restrictions to learning WDS other than the prerequisite desire to do so. It is an art designed to be effective for both genders and all age ranges. WDS training will, guaranteed, challenge you both mentally and physically – but it will – likewise, assist you in achieving your personal protection goals.


It is the instructional goal of WDS to accomplish the following outcomes:

  1. Achievement of environmental security awareness: The ability to accurately analyze and judge the safety and security issues of changing places and circumstances.

  2. Attribute development: The physical and mental skills necessary to successfully execute WDS techniques.

  3. Development of the “Dialectical Method” of strategic options: a. intuitive responses (reactive/defensive) and b. direct action (purposeful/offensive).

  4. Improved confidence in dealing with conflict resolution situations and sustainable incorporation of WDS concepts into daily life.

  5. Development of a personalized multi-layered defense system. This is a personalized process of analyzing what your specific needs are to provide security within all aspects of your life (family, home, car, person, work, etc.) including guard technology, empty-hand skill development, and weaponry.

Learning WDS is fruitful for both advanced and novice martial arts students, or even those with no training experience at all. The elements of this system have in fact been taught to hundreds of individuals without prior martial arts experience with dynamic results! This is because WDS incorporates a multi-dimensional curriculum reflective of all technical levels of self-defense. These levels are represented by the following sequence of escalating force as applied to specific skill-sets. That is, each subsequent level of escalation is a greater force-multiplier as the weapon changes (i.e. more damage can be inflicted with less effort).


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