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Tactical Gymnastics by Scott Sonnon
“I have three words for Scott Sonnon: OUTSTANDING- OUTSTANDING- OUTSTANDING!
I have the privilege of previewing Scott’s new Tactical Gymnastics program and I have to say that Scot has done it again; another outstanding program by the flow coach. It didn’t take 10 minutes for me to bring some new and exciting pieces of curriculum into my school, but I will probably be refining these skills for 10 years. Scott’s approach is thorough and smart.
The instruction and production is easy to follow, professional and well put together. As a lifelong martial artist I can appreciate the benefits Tactical Gymnastics brings. I am using this program to combat over training symptoms and…IT IS WORKING. In the short time I have been using this I already feel my joints opening and my mobility increasing.
Bottom line- I give this program my highest recommendation. This is what is giving me and my students the edge and this is what all tactical operators need to give them the advantage.”
David Neal Brown
International Muay Thai League, President
“Let me express our appreciation for your instruction, expertise, and extraordinary skill disseminating critical information within Tactical Fitness and Tactical Gymnastics. Many thanks to you and your team!”
Tactical Training Unit
New York Police Department
“Hello my friend,
Iʼd like to speak candidly, without any hypeorstatistics.
Just you and I – for a moment – before you come inside and check out what Iʼve created for you.
If youʼre a first-timer, and you donʼt know who I am, allow me to introduce myself as one of the worldʼs leading researchers (and guinea pigs) on the nature of flow.
By “flow” I donʼt mean the kind of ethereal, nebulous kind of energy that people inthe healing disciplines discuss. Iʼm not disrespecting them, or you if youʼre from them; just stating that Iʼm not going to be sharing with you anything about any unseen forces. By flow, Iʼm referring to the concrete, quantifiable science of pain-free, effortless quality of movement.
My job is serving those who serve us and protecting those who protect us. Itʼs my honor to do this job. And in the process of doing this work, Iʼve had the privilege of studying with great masters around the world.
Iʼve spent the past 30 years exploring different movement modalities, the past 20 years studying them exhaustively, and the past 10 years refining my coaching skills to share the library of movement Iʼve learned from around the world.
Iʼve tested this out on myself first. Iʼve put it under the most difficult trials possible, placing myself in one combat sport after another – at an international championship level – to debug all the problems and plug all the gaps. And the data that Iʼve received from
my personal application, as well as the ongoing feedback I receive from the agencies I consult, has forced me to evolve my coaching to the point of publishing Tactical Gymnastics.
TACGYM can appear to have elements of Russian Systema, Chinese Bagua, Indonesian Silat, French Parkour, Persian Zurkhaneh, Brazilian Gymnastica Natural, and Indian Vyayam. However, after all these years of synthesis, I cannot remember where I first learned any one movement, which held primary influence or even how to differentiate movements any longer. And in many cases, I had to graft components
together to form new movements to meet the fighting needs of my students.
Itʼs easiest for me to refer to it as “our gymnastics” but since it appears too ambiguous a title, I adopted tactical gymnastics in honor of the martial heritage of my coaches. For me, thereʼs only incremental progression, biomechanical efficiency and specific preparedness: baby steps, flow and purpose. These three concentrations united all of the broad shoulders I stand upon.”
TACGYM, I can say without reservation, is the pinnacle of my career in consolidating the principles and concepts of the science of flow into concrete, easy to follow, simple to progress building blocks of movement. I cannot promise you that youʼll become an overnight snake eater, or Musashi in a month. I cannot guarantee you that youʼll be able to levitate, throw fireballs, or teleport either.
No hype. No buzz. No BS:
• You will increase your ability to express power while decreasing how much effort required to do so.
• You will recover much more rapidly from sudden changes in movement, accidents, collisions, destabilizations, and forced translations.
• You will be smoother in everything that you do, all your exercise, recreation and even job-related activities will be done with greater suppleness and grace.
• You will feel much more energy throughout your body, and throughout your day, and that will have a dramatic impact upon your mood, attitude and perspective.
• You will reduce and eliminate acute and chronic pains that may be riddling you, leading to improved quality of life.
• You will prevent injuries from happening, and lessen those severe injuries which may occur, as your connect tissue strength, joints, and response time improves.
• You will be able to navigate obstacles and challenges with ease and imagination as your body learns to adapt to new physical skills at an accelerated rate.
• You will become keenly sensitive to movement, position and force / tension, as your bodily awareness improves.
• Of course, this will improve your strength, cardio, flexibility, agility, endurance, stamina, et cetera… No doubt. But many things will do that. Very few disciplines also offer the above.
If youʼre one of the few who see a martial artist, gymnast, boxer or wrestler and think, “Iʼd really love to be able to move with that kind of silent power,” then TACGYM is probably for you. There will be, of course, the unstated premise: “if I was pain-free, if I didnʼt have the injuries preventing me, if I had the mobility and range of motion to do so…”
This premise distinguishes TACGYM. Many roads will get you to graceful power. Only a few paths will get you there uninjured. This isnʼt a sink or swim method, like many of the units Iʼve trained with use. My approach focuses on the 85% of you who, like me, cannot succeed in spite of improper coaching. Because of my childhood disabilities, I still need to exploit every training technology useful in order to keep my teams ahead of the bad guys who are willing to throw 20-something cannon fodder into the meat-grinder.
My men and women are invaluable, the most precious virtues of our society, so I cannot fail as a coach. I must not. Thatʼs why I continue to refine, and rework, and research, and test it all out on myself first, before sharing only what repeatable, consistently, sustainably works for everyone, not just the meager 15% who could do well in spite of poor coaching.
If youʼre looking to burn fat or bulk up, sure, youʼll build muscle and lose body fat practicing tactical gymnastics, but these are not their primary goals; much like the warrior physique is merely a by-product, not the intent, of fighting efficacy. The appearance is not the destination; just a part of the journey.
However, there are ineffable qualities, elusive virtues, which tactical gymnastics – like its father, martial arts – concentrate upon. Power and the ability to express it are not mutually compatible. You can appear to have a massive, powerful frame. You can look as if you could withstand any crisis. But without the malleable form, you will lack the ability to express that power. You will remain encased in a prison of muscle. Iʼve alluded to the difference between “show” muscle and “go” muscle.
This distinction works well. Too often, Iʼve had to work with very enthusiastic young athletes, who because of their prior training, were completely incapable of translating power outside of the short-range, machine-dictated exercises they had been advised to perform. If you want to look like a statue, thatʼs fine; but take care that you donʼt become one.
Honestly, I probably cannot help you if you have not, somehow of your own accord, developed the fire to desire moving with power, rather than merely appearing powerful.
Power means nothing without the ability to navigate unknown and surprise obstacles and resistance with ease and imagination. And even if you or your coaches have ignited your warrior spirit with the will to regain your heritage as the most potent creature God has ever graced the world with, you may not have the patience to develop at the appropriate rate.
Tactical gymnastics are like “flow yoga with a purpose.” They help you develop movement efficacy to navigate on, around, over or through obstacles.
They have specific purpose. If you consider the 4 Day Wave in TACFIT, you can insert your tactical gymnastics into the low or moderate intensity sessions. It is not possible to perform them with no intensity, like your mobility days; and not advisable to perform them at high intensity due to their complex nature, even if you scale down the complexity to simple movements.
You should leave your tactical gymnastics practice smiling, sweaty and sore: a good, deep sweat which allows you to loosen the muscles, lubricate the joints, work out the knots, focus your mind, and decompress your emotions. Most of the martial arts approaches I studied were “sink or swim.”
For instance, since my years in Russia often involved their special operations unit trainers and personnel, the training was very much a culling of the herd, where whoever could survive the many hours of grueling repetition across unfavorable terrain and within extreme conditions passed the examinations.
I took my background and experience in motor development to address the 85% who couldnʼt saunter into one of these month long marathons of complexity and survive. What you find here, I carefully vetted over many years of trial and error, research and
discovery, concocting the most gradual high-yield, low-risk protocols for becoming powerfully graceful.
Unlike the other high intensity workouts in the TACFIT fleet, TACGYM involves a lowmoderate intensity performance and as a result, doesnʼt necessarily demand the specifically-tailored warm-up and cooldown programming associated with programs
such as Commando, Warrior, Kettlebell Spetsnaz, Rope and Mass Assault. However, performing full warm-up programs like the Caduceus Healing Staff and Body Rolling and full cooldown programs like Archimedes accelerate your results in TACGYM.
We cannot make the progress shorter, but we can avoid making it longer, with significantly more severe consequences. I cannot help you shorten the journey. No one can. But I can help you not lengthen the journey. I can help you lessen the severity of the consequences through program compliance.
I call to the mature warrior within you, to awaken that ethos – millennia old – and bring that elder voice to your training practice.
I look forward to reading about your incredible journey. Itʼs an honor to have you here, and I look forward to you joining our team. Come on inside, brothers and sisters. Letʼs get started!
Chief Operations Officer
Your expertly crafted, 79 page Field Manual to Tactical Gymnastics includes precise descriptions of the protocols and workouts within the TACGYM system.
Elaborate reports for all 12 workout missions (Fubar, Snafu and Tarfu – and all four levels of each: Delta to Alpha) are laid out in both written and photographic format. Included, are the innovative scoresheets for tracking your results in repetition, time, heart rate, technique, discomfort and exertional level. The master program charts allow you to schedule the calendar of your exercise through all four aspects of recovery.
Each of these 12 mission briefings thoroughly describe
the safety points, key mechanics, structural alignment and breathing techniques for each of the skills to be learned in the program of instruction. As has become the standard in all TACFIT instruction, the coaching cues taught provide both map and compass for navigating through your workout missions.
All twelve of these 20 minute training simulations have
been created for the easiest, simplest format to follow-along with your instructor as you go through each protocol. Each innovative production allows you to maximize your time actually performing the workout mission without concern as to the next step.
The 3 lower-body yoga stretch routines taught in these 3 videos include the specific alignment and breathing techniques to optimize your
success, and prevent injuries. How to enter and exit each position guarantees no accidental injury while stretching. Each skill progresses to the next, so following the coaching cues ensures that you develop effectively and safely when performing the program.
Each of these three 6 minute follow-along lowerbody
yoga stretch routine perfectly times your optimal holds and transitions between the positions. Shot from multiple angle photography to give you the optimal reminder of coaching cues found in the instructional series.
In this 41 minute instructional program, youʼll learn the location, application, direction and duration of the twenty-one exercises in this unique and innovative approach to myofascial release.Combining simple yoga postures to elongate the target tissues, with the body rolling technique of myofascial release, offers fast, effective, thorough and enduring freedom from the tightness and tissue density which results in pain and injuries.
With only 10 minutes, you can follow this video as a warm-up, cool-down or recovery day for restoration and recuperation from training, occupational, sport and life stressors. The combination of simple yoga postures and
easy to follow body rolling technique provides you with increased energy and pain-free range of motion, using only an inexpensive tennis ball.
In this 33 minute instructional program, youʼll learn the unique and innovative approach to using ancient martial art staff conditioning drills to release tension and tightness in the upper body. Each of the 13 core movements build upon one another progressively, using only a household dowel rod or broomstick.
Requiring only 5 minutes, to free the upper body of pain and tightness, this simple to learn and easy to follow warm-up can just as effectively be used as a cool-down or a recovery workout for restoration and recuperation.
“Working in confined spaces in full kit is a headache all it’s own. The degrees of movement practiced in [Tactical Gymnastics] have allowed me to move more efficiently in unconventional ways, allowing me to put more thought into my patient and less into an aching back. Also, the work-outs are scheduled in such a way that I’m never sore the next day, which is great when you never quite know what you’ll be expected to do.”
U.S. Army SOA Medic
“Biomechanical Exercises are actually physical movements which when learned unlock psychological blockages which prevent a person from reaching his natural grace. There is nothing “magical” about these exercises unless you count returning to your natural state of graceful movement “magical”. This took years of research for Coach Sonnon to develop a way to express how he connected the dots from his exposure to these experts, travel and training in Russia and his own experience from his Sambo career. …truly remarkable and a must for those who wish to take a road less traveled to optimal health and fitness.”
Animal Ability Training
“These biomechanical exercises are sophisticated movement skills that emphasize agility, coordination and balance. They compliment and expound upon the sophistication of our natural movement. He also teaches you how to weave these exercises together into “kinetic chains”. The challenge and sophistication of these series of movements go beyond the vinyasas of even the most extreme power yoga classes. This is the only system that I know of that shows the connection between our neuromuscular system, psychology and physical movement capabilities. This is also the only concept that feeds your creative freedom. I plan on being a student and friend of
Mr. Sonnon for life.”
“Coach Sonnon is truly an original. As a pioneer in both the application of the newest sports science and as a connection and filter to the best techniques of the past, he has made an immeasurable contribution to our program of instruction here at the Army combatives school. By combining an intimate knowledge of biomechanically efficient movement, the physiological capabilities and weaknesses of the human body, and both fighting and fitness, he is helping to revolutionize the modern combatives world.”
NCOIC U.S. Army Combatives; Author: US Army FM3-21.150
“Have been a real challenge in learning movement and have transformed my grappling abilities tremendously.”
” Great way to learn the mechanics of ground engagement. In my exercise classes, I have taught older women and men how to engage the ground without injury by using Scott’s techniques. Scott is the best teacher I’ve ever studied with.”
World BJJ and SOMBO Champion
“Scott presents in a clear, concise, and thorough manner, offering anyone involved in sports related to grappling and/or self defense exercises material that can be directly applied to their sports-specific training.”
USA National Karate Team Coach; WUKO/WKF World Championship; 6X National Karate Champion; Six Time AAU All-American
“Most of the sports conditioning information out there is nothing but the same rehashed stuff. I dare you to find Scott Sonnon’s unique material in another source! Sonnon is without doubt one of the top conditioning coaches in the US, the thinking man’s coach. He is the hologram man. Try and hit him and he disappears.”
kettlebell pioneer, former USSR Spetsnaz Instructor
“Scott Sonnon’s training technologies represent one of the most effective marriages of tactical efficacy and psycho-physiological efficiency that I have seen yet. With his unique program design and delivery methods, I see Scott Sonnon emerging as one of the most important figures in the tactical training community.”
President of Threat Metrics, former Training Director of the National Law Enforcement and Security Institute, former Field Training Officer, Tactical Team Commander, and Chief of Police
“I’m using Scott Sonnons Tactical gymnastic since the first incarnation (Grapplers Toolbox) in 2002. As a fitness and martial arts professional I Know that strength, size and speed is important but not sufficient: It’s the quality of movement, the subtleness and smoothness, the dynamic flexibility that differentiate a good from a great athlete. It’s the difference of having bound strength or expressing strength without hindrance. Scott has (again) done an amazing job in distilling the exercises and find a easy-to-follow presentation to learn Tactical gymnastic and become the athlete, law enforcer or martial artist you deserve to be!”
Tensho – Martial Arts & Fitness
“I met Coach Sonnon six years ago when he proposed a tactical fitness competition between local police and fire fighters. He has taken our fire department under his wing since then, and the results have been amazing. The tactical movements that he has taught us are unlike anything I had ever done before. I am almost forty years old and I am leaner, better onditioned, and more athletic than I’ve ever been in my life. The other fire fighters that have embraced the TACFIT programs have had similar results. The multi-planar movements translate directly to the dynamic work fire fighters perform. I have recently been following the training protocol for Scott’s tactical gymnastics program. Movements that looked impossible for me are already feeling more fluid. Fire fighters often work low to the floor in high heat conditions. The ground-based movements featured in this program have enhanced my ability to move low to the floor. Coach Sonnon is able to break down each exercise into simple movements with increasing levels of sophistication. This helps tremendously with the learning process and provides clear direction for progression. I highly recommend Coach Sonnon’s TACFIT programs for any individual or agency interested in improving tactical fitness and job performance”.
Bellingham Fire Department
“In recognition of your outstanding support and dedication to the Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). The TACFIT instruction you provided was very informative and useful to all and will enhance the combat readiness of this Battalion. Your support reflects great credit upon you and al the other proud supporters of our armed forces and is greatly appreciated by all. NIGHTSTALKERS DON’T QUIT!!”
“We wanted to extend our sincere appreciation for your efforts from our branch. Once again you have brought cutting edge training to our instructors and deploying agents. The Air Interdiction and Marine Interdiction Agents have nothing but the highest praise. The agents have put effort into learning the skills embedded in TACFIT. Your focused work with our primary intermediate force instructor has paid dividends. The agents who spend the most time working TACFIT are able to rapidly learn skills. The skills presented have already been implemented into improving our counter assault, grappling and striking. All of these skills build on the principles and skills. The level of confidence and skill an agent has directly impacts survivability and proper application of force. TACFIT is an important part of expanding agents’ envelope of skills.
In the Northwest, Customs and Border Protection is part of a special community of law enforcement, first responders and concerned citizens. We are all banded together for a common cause in a unique part of the country. This is different from many other places in the United States, where agency and governmental levels can become stratified, or insular due to the nature of the work, and stand apart from the community. Personal relationships make this part of the country stand out. We understand how much you travel and we appreciate the value of your business. This makes the time that you spend with us all the more special, and exemplifies what is best in our community. Thank you for giving back, and for helping us in the local part of a global fight.”
Michael K. Powell
Director, Air Operations
Bellingham Air and Marine Branch
US Customs and Border Protection
US Department of Homeland Security
“As you know we go quite a long way back. In 2001 I enlisted your help in preparing me for the 2002 Pan American Championships in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I had been intrigued with your posts on the mma.tv website and after obtaining your grappler’s toolbox, I pursued some advice concerning movement and breathing. I incorporated your breathing methodology and the precursor to your tactical gymnastics into my training routines leading up to the Pan Ams. The movements made my ground work effortless and seamless, in a way I never learned through the normal bjj curriculum. The movement patterns combined with the your unique approach to breathing enabled me to win both the heavyweight and the absolute weight classes in purple belt seniors division. This win was all the more important to me because I am a firefighter/paramedic as well as a SWAT medic. The time period was just a short few months after 9/11 and its tragic consequences. The country and the athletes were still reeling from the effects of 9/11 and I felt compelled to do well/win.
You graciously answered all my questions, patiently coached me through all of my questions and concerns, and guided me to two gold medals. Your innovative and creative approach to movement, breathing and structure were just the components I needed to win one of the biggest bjj tournaments in the world.
I could not have accomplished any of my achievements without your guidance and input. You never once charged me a penny, nor did he ever intimate I owed you anything other than my personal best. That alone earned my respect and loyalty.
To this day I use your methodology in my own coaching. I teach bjj to my students. In addition I also teach Defensive Tactics to my SWAT team. I also am the lead Defensive Tactics trainer to Executive Security International’s PSD and Executive Protection Programs. In every case I use your version of Tactical Conditioning and Tactical Gymnastics to train my students. I find your approach without exception to work both in the competitive grappling arena, as well as the tactical environment me and my fellow SWAT team members operate in. Nothing I have come across prepares us as operators better than Tactical Gymnastics. Thank you, my friend.”
Portland Fire Department
“I have personally used variations of Scott Sonnon’s Tactical Gymnastics for the past six years with incredible results. First and foremost, I feel great, and I’m able to move with power and grace through all ranges of motion. This program has improved my ability to serve as a Fire Captain for the Bellingham Fire Department, has helped me in my own athletic endeavors, and has provided me with tools to improve the skills of the firefighters and athletes that I work with.
Tactical Gymnastics has taught me the skill set to safely engage the ground, to absorb and redirect energy from impact, to not only move into position, but to move through it and into the next with greater expressible strength and control. The result of my training has been healthier joints, an increased range of motion due to the elimination of residual muscle tension, and a body that moves freely and works as a whole without leaking power.
Many of the fire fighters in my department use Tactical Gymnastics to be properly prepared for action when the alarm sounds. Through training we are removing the stiff joints, the muscle tension that restricts freedom of movement, and building the strength necessary to perform at our best while preventing injury. The simple task of crawling through a smoke filled environment with high heat, weighted down with gear, and handling a charged hose line can wreak havoc on the unprepared. Tactical Gymnastics prepares us to engage the ground, gives us the range of motion to move freely while being weighted down with gear, and provides the strength to handle the hose line and advance to the fire.
I’ve had the good fortune of working closely with Coach Sonnon and he has helped me recognize the importance of mastering the basics before advancing forward. His programs are designed to heal the athlete by mastering the basic moves first. He pushed me hard but kept me honest by not allowing me to move beyond what my form would allow. Once I became pain free and had trained my body to move through a new range he guided me down the accelerated path as I began to quickly adapt and move through the progressive steps towards mastery. Scott’s health first approach combined with his knowledge of movement and training design has taken me to a level I never thought imaginable.
Tactical Gymnastics has played a significant role in my training and has improved my performance as a firefighter, an athlete, and as a coach. I’m quick to share this program with all of those I work with and would recommend it to anyone, regardless of their profession or athletic experience.”
Captain Christian Carson
A Shift-Station 3
Bellingham Fire Department
Today only $59.60 (limited time offer)
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