Scott Sonnon

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Scott Sonnon
Born (1969-10-11) October 11, 1969 (age 54)
Occupationmartial artist

Scott Sonnon is a martial art expert, creator of The Saddle SAMBO System, fitness coach, dyslexia advocate and wellness speaker.[1] He has worked with movie stars such as Peta Wilson[2] and fashion designer Donna Karan[3] as well as Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts fighters such as Alberto Crane, Jorge Rivera, Andrei Arlovski, and Elvis Sinosic. He currently leads Human Performance for the United States Department of Energy[4] and United States military special operations research in breathing techniques to improve performance and selection rates.[5]

Scott Sonnon was voted one of "The 6 Most Influential Martial Artists of the 21st Century" by Black Belt Magazine in 2010.[6]

As a dyslexic, institutionalized as a child, Scott Sonnon became a TED Fellow speaking on the nature of multiple learning styles being misdiagnosed as learning disabilities,[7] and now travels the country giving talks advocating congressional legislation (House Resolution 456) for dyslexia educational support in public schools.[8]

Scott Sonnon was named one of "Top 25 Fitness Trainers in the World" by "Men's Fitness Magazine" in 2011.[9] He was named by Men's Health Magazine, the creator of the "World's Smartest Workout" (called TACFIT) in 2014.[10] He is a global staff trainer for the 2014 Nike Academy.[11]

His fitness system, Circular Strength Training, has been adopted by members of the United States military and law enforcement community. He is also a published author, a public speaker,[12][13] and an advocate in the fight against childhood obesity.[12]

Early life[edit]

Sonnon was born in 1969, in Pennsylvania, USA. His family emigrated to the United States two generations before him from the town of Sonnon, district of Passau, Bavaria, Germany. He overcame being legally blind due to myopia and Thygeson's disease, spending his youth in pain with Osteochondrosis and obesity, and suffering learning disabilities such as dyslexia.[12] Sonnon is a member of Mensa International and has been a keynote speaker for the High IQ organization.[13]


Sonnon is credited as having reintroduced Indian clubs in the form of clubbells to strength training.[14] By 2007 he had been inducted into three halls of fame: the National Fitness Hall of Fame,[15] the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame[16] and the Personal Trainer Hall of Fame,[17] and is known to the Sambo and Russian martial arts communities.[18] It has been reported that he is so highly regarded in Sambo training that people have been known to fly thousands of miles in order to attend one of his workshops.[19]

Career highlights[edit]

From 1993 to 1995, National Sambo Coach of the United States Sambo Association[15]
1995 USA Grand National Sambo champion[20] 1996 First US instructor licensed in Russian martial art ROSS Systema, appointed North American director of Russian Martial Art Federation[21]
1999–2001 Inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame[15][dead link] 1999 Awarded Master of Sports in Sambo by American Amateur Sambo Federation
1999 Received license as an International Category Sambo referee[21] 1999 Elected vice-president of the American Sambo Federation[21]
1999 Appointed Combat Sambo chairman to the International Combat Sambo Commission for FIAS (International Amateur Sambo Federation)[21] 2001 Awarded the Leadership Award by International Martial Arts Hall of Fame[16][dubious ]
2005 International Sanshou champion 2007 Personal Trainer Hall of Fame Inductee[17][dead link]
2007 Accepted position as the conditioning advisor for the International Youth Conditioning Association.[12] 2009 Appointed Russian Sambo advisor to USADOJO Board of Advisors[22]
2009 Appointed Physical Training and Conditioning advisor to USADOJO Board of Advisors[22] 2009 Qualified to compete and accepted invitation to coach the US Martial Arts Team for the 2010 World Martial Arts Games
2010 Trainer for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
2010 World Martial Arts Games Champion: Submission Grappling Gold Medalist, Sport Jiujitsu Gold Medalist, Mixed Martial Arts Gold Medalist
2010 Instructor for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
2010 Awarded Special Recognition Award from the Bellingham Fire Department at the 2010 Annual Awards Banquet


  • RMAX Magazine (2003–2008) ISSN 1555-7723
  • Mastering Sambo for Mixed Martial Arts (2008) ISBN 978-1-58160-686-7
  • Free to Move: The Intu-Flow Longevity System (2008) ISBN 978-0-9794275-6-5
  • Prasara Yoga: Flow Beyond Thought (2007) ISBN 978-0-9794275-4-1
  • The Big Book of Clubbell Training (2006) ISBN 978-0-9763560-6-6
  • Clubbell Training for Circular Strength: An Ancient Tool for the Modern Athlete (2003) ISBN 978-0-9717949-2-4
  • Body-Flow: Freedom from Fear-Reactivity (2003) ISBN 978-0-9717949-3-1


  1. ^ "Relieve Joint Pain and Restore Joint Mobility". The Arnold Sports Festival. Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. Retrieved March 26, 2008.
  2. ^ staff (November 13, 2008). "Peta gets ready for new roles with help of famous coach Scott Sonnon". Archived from the original on August 5, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  3. ^ staff. "Move it or Lose It". East Valley Living. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  4. ^ "NNSA Human Performance program suggests teleworking guidance". Retrieved June 23, 2021.
  5. ^ Nina, Bausek; Susanne, Summers; Sonnon, Scott B. (September 30, 2019). "Respiratory Intervention Techniques Increase Selection Rate for Special Forces". bioRxiv: 774620. doi:10.1101/774620.
  6. ^ Black Belt (magazine). February, 2011, page 57
  7. ^ Ted Talks
  8. ^ World Champion Sonnon advocates for dyslexia education reform
  9. ^ "Men's Fitness UK (magazine)". November, 2011, page 51
  10. ^ "Men's Health Australia (magazine)". November, 2011, page 51
  11. ^ "". Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c d "International Youth Conditioning Association Biography of Scott Sonnon". Archived from the original on April 5, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  13. ^ a b "American Mensa AG 2009 Program Listing".
  14. ^ Haas, Tyler. "Exclusive Interview with Scott Sonnon". Girevik Magazine Online. Retrieved November 2, 2007.
  15. ^ a b c "Scott Sonnon Bio". The National Fitness Hall of Fame & Museum. Archived from the original on November 7, 2007. Retrieved November 2, 2007.
  16. ^ a b "International Martial Arts Achievement Awards". 2001. Archived from the original on May 31, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  17. ^ a b "Scott Sonnon Personal Trainer of the Year". Personal Trainer Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 7, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ Elmore, Phil. "Coach Sonnon and Softwork". The Martialist. No. 3.09.
  19. ^ Nolan, Michelle (January 16, 2007). "The sambo solution; For fitness, flexibility and mental strength, martial artists have found something new". Bellingham Herald.
  20. ^ Scott Sonnon Sambo by Scott Sonnon from:
  21. ^ a b c d "Martial Arts Biographies – Scott Sonnon". USA DOJOS MARTIAL ARTS BIOGRAPHIES. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved November 2, 2007.
  22. ^ a b "Advisor Position: Physical Training and Conditioning". USADOJO Board of Advisors Official Website. Retrieved August 12, 2010.

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