The ability to wire explosives would turn one sergeant’s injury from a cottage industry to mainstream business, with just a little bit of inspiration and a lot of hard work. 

SFC Brent Verdialez was a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant with the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. He’d been in the Army for 16 years and with Special Forces for most of that time. 

Growing up in Fresno, California, he was interested in different types of fighting. He learned boxing and Wing Chun, a style of Kung Fu. Later, he began training in a lesser-known fighting style known as Sanda, which was formerly known as Sanshou or Chinese Kick Boxing and is a blend of traditional Kung Fu and modern fighting techniques. (The Chinese military uses a variation of it, called Junshi Sanda to train its own Special Operations Forces in unarmed combat techniques.)

Verdialez and many of his fellow Green Berets would train in a variety of martial arts to keep themselves to a sharp edge both physically and mentally. However, when he suffered what he believed to be a minor injury during combatives training, everything changed for him. 

Verdialez broke his ulnar, the long forearm bone that runs from the elbow to the hand on the medial side of the arm. In an interview with Army Times, Verdialez said that the injury was so severe that he couldn’t even turn a doorknob. 

With his injury lingering, he used his Special Forces training (and his desire to find a way to still get training time in) to build a machine, which combined ancient Chinese methods with modern technology, for fighters of all levels to train with.  

Recalling his training with wooden sparring dummies called Mu Ren Zhuang, or “wooden man post,” which have existed for centuries in Shaolin temples and were made popular with the martial arts films of Bruce Lee, Verdialez was inspired to make his own, modernized version of them. 

Despite not having a computer programming background, he bought books on coding and programming. He was soon testing different configurations at his dining room table at night while his family was asleep.