RMAX.tv Productions Newsletter!

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In this issue:

Olympic Clubbell® Championship -  history making event!
Arnold Classic Clubbell® Stage Demonstration
3. 2 spots are available for the next CST Instructors Certification Seminar
4. ROSS Instructor Development Program Seminar 2004 (IDPS2004)
5. Clubbell® Equipment on TV
6. Testosterone magazine about Clubbell® Training
7. NHB Champion Andrei Arlovski and Clubbell® Training
8. Coach Sonnon's approach to MMA specific strength and conditioning
9. Marty Gallagher' article in MILO
10. Review of Coach Sonnon's latest video series " FREEDOM BY DEGREE"
11. I.A.R.T. gives 2 Thumbs Up gor Clubbell® Training
12. 1st UK & European Clubbell® Circular Strength Training Seminar
13. Review of Coach Sonnon's "Clubbell Training for Circular Strength" video and book
14. Report on Olympic Clubbell® Championship


The OCS Championships made its debut on February 7th, 2004 in Bellingham, WA!

This was the first event of its kind since the 1932 Olympic Games and made history!


Official results:


Senior Division (25lbs Clubbells®)

1st Place : Scott Sonnon (198lbs. Weight Class) 238 rep-points
Event Sequence : Mills (123 rep-points) - Swipes (115 rep-points)

2nd Place : Doug Szolek (220+lbs. Weight Class) 235 rep-points
Event Sequence: Swipes (118 rep-points) - Mills (117 rep-points)

3rd Place: Brandon Jones (220+lbs. Weight Class) 139 rep-points
Event Sequence : Mills (124 rep-points) - Swipes (15 rep-points)

Junior Division (15lbs Clubbells®)


1st Place : Scott Hagnas (163.5lbs Weight Class) 275 rep-points
Event Sequence : Swipes (145 rep-points) - Mills (130 rep-points)

2nd Place : Casey Reilly (163.5lbs Weight Class) 268 rep-points
Event Sequence: Mills (124 rep-points) - Swipes (144 rep-points)


Congratulations to all Olympic Clubbell® athletes!



In October The 2004 Mr. Olympia will be hosting the next OCS Championships!

For more information please visit



Here are the official times for the Arnold Classic Clubbell® Stage Demonstration .

March 6th, Saturday, 5:00 - 5.30 PM!

Watch Brandon Jones, Doug Szolek and of course Coach Sonnon demonstrate

the most widely-used, versatile, and results-producing strength tool in martial arts and fitness history!

Make your way to the Clubbell® booth to get your books personally autographed!


Our booths: 225, 227, 324, 326 with Totque Athletic, Manufacturer of Clubbells.


The World's Largest Fitness Expo: 2004 Arnold Schwarzenegger Fitness Weekend

http://www.arnoldclassic.com/): 12 sports, 10,000 athletes, 80,000 attendees.

(March 5-7, 2004, Greater Columbus Convention Center, Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Columbus OH)

Attention: only two spots left for the next CST Instructors Certification Seminar.

CST Delta Cadre Certification Seminar is scheduled for March 26-28, 2004 in Seattle, WA.
For details please visit http://www.circularstrengthtraining.com/clubbellcert.html



ROSS Instructor Development Program Seminar 2004 (IDPS2004) is scheduled

for March 12-14, 2004 in Lancaster, PA.

If you are interested to participate email
fabel@AmerROSS.com for more information.



On Tuesday, February 9th, 2004 a fragment about The Legendary Clubbell®

was aired on the Good Morning Sacramento ( Channel 13 - KMAX) .
The morning show is one of the largest local morning shows in Sacramento , CA.




Chris Shugart gave the Bruiser and the ABC book high marks and quite a nice write up
in the
Testosterone magazine . The article can be found here:

NHB Champion Andrei Arlovski trains for his UFC 47 Title Championship using

the Clubbell ® : the only Combat Specific Strength Training Tool! 
He says: "The Clubbell® is a great piece of fitness equipment!"




The FIGHTER'S NOTEBOOK of conditioning, includes a large section on Coach Sonnon's approach to MMA specific strength and conditioning!!!


Over 450 Pages of conditioning drills.
2,000+ high resolution images.
And 125,000 words, detailing every aspect of condtioning from injury prevention (over 50 pages) to warm up to live training to mental conditioning to plyometrics and cardio.
Includes detailed interviews with leading trainers and fighters about their conditioning routines and philosphy.
Every champion knows the importance of conditioning. It has forever changed the way Mixed Martial Artists and Grapplers train.

Get stronger, get faster, get conditioned... get Fit To Fight



If you are subscribed to IIRC MILO (paper based journal for strength athletes) stay tuned for

Mighty Clubbell® by none other than World Masters Powerlifting Champion and fitness guru Marty Gallagher!



Marty Gallagher runs the fitness and health column for WashingtonPost.com . 

A World Champion Powerlifter and Fitness Guru, over the past 20 years,

Gallagher has written more than 200 articles for such magazines as

Muscle and Fitness , Flex and Powerlifting USA . He has interviewed hundreds of

the world's top athletes, quizzing them on the training tactics they used to succeed.

Visit this link at

to read what Marty Gallagher says about Coach Sonnon and his Clubbell Training.


Review of Coach Sonnon's "Freedom by Degree ""

"If you are a CST coach or plan on being one this is a must have!
If you use Clubbells®, this is a must have!
If you want to expand your degree of muscular and joint motion, this is a must have!

In almost every profession, there is such a thing as "Professional Development". As a school teacher, I get a lot of it, but it's not of quality. As a CST coach, "Freedom by Degree"" is your professional development.
I've only viewed it once, but I'm snowed in and I expect to watch and study the material at least a half dozen time before I teach my next class and I'll probably have to work with the material for awhile on my own before I feel comfortable presenting the actual movements.
I'm sure I'll be back to this post for further revelations in a few days, but for now...
"Freedom by Degree"" is material that coaches can use to access their clients. It gives you tools and information to critic your client or screen them for possible patterns of tension that may impede their performance. Specifically here, Clubbell® users, but it could be for the professional, amatuer or occupational athlete. It's movement screening.
Mr. Sonnon makes it clear that this isn't the postural accessments or corrections, like the ones I learned in my Pilates training, but "homework" for the client.
This is a step above Warrior Wellness". For instance, we moved in circles, half circles and figure eights in Warrior Wellness". This material teaches you to move in a "cloverleaf" pattern.
Whether you are a coach or not, "YOU" are your "PRIMARY CLIENT"!
In the first of the three tapes, I had to check the box cover, for I thought Scott may of titled the program "Freedom for Robert"! You see he began with a study of the cervical spine or neck. My thick neck and tight traps limit my neck mobility. The movements are some that I may be able to mimic entirely in...a few years, but in the meantime I will of recaptured a range of motion I haven't seen since my pre-wrestling or pre-adolenscent days.
The material also teaches something that is contrary to many styles of yoga posture correction. See if you pick it up! Simple, but effective.
Scott is very consistent with presenting the material in a way that Clubbell® users will see direct correlations between the mobility drills and Clubbell® movements and why the material in Warrior Wellness" and Freedom By Degrees is so vital to the Clubbell® athlete.
If Clubbells® are your college then Freedom By Degrees is your grade school.
I also noticed how "beefy" Scott appeared. Those Clubbells have really done a job on him. A good job!
Also, it was great to see Doug in the video. This young man IS the future. I am so envious that he is "getting this" so young. This material is not easy for the young mind. He is definitely an old intelligent soul.
If you want a workout tape, this material isn't for you. If you want to develop your professional skills as a CST coach or increase your knowledge as an athlete, this is for you.
This is the next step toward "Freedom"!" - Robert Verdell


To find more about Freedom by Degree " and to order this video series:


I.A.R.T. gives 2 Thumbs Up gor Clubbell® Training

"We like them," I.A.R.T. states at http://www.fitnesslogistics.com/departments/news.html
Stay tuned to their website for a massive review.



Are you residing in Europe and interested in  training?

If Yes, then email CST Instructor Lee Haddens at lhadden@btinternet.com  for the information

on the 1st UK & European Clubbell® Circular Strength Training Seminar

The seminar will be held in a Central London venue (England, UK), in the latter half of April.


Review of Coach Sonnon's "Clubbell Training for Circular Strength" video and book
Reviewed by Guru Mushtaq Ali - Silat instructor (Tansania)

"The Tape:
Back in the Dark Ages of my somewhat wild and misspent youth I managed  to spend some time knocking around Iran . One of the real high points ofthe journey was my stay in the city of Isfahan, which is one of the most lovely cities in the world. The most memorable part of the visit was being taken by some friends to visit a Zur Khanah. This is a very old sort of institution in Iran, the name can be translated as "house of power" and it is devoted to bothphysical and spiritual development.There I saw men ranging in age from their late teen to their sixties going through truly remarkable exercise routines to the beat of a large wooden drum and the verses of the Shah Namah.They preformed a number of rhythmiccallisthenic sets and used several very interesting pieces of equipment. For me, the most interesting part of the evening was watching them use sets of large wooden clubs called meel. The skill with which they hefted and swung these weights was quite impressive. I was able to examine them and try a few of the meel exercises, it was quite a humbling experience for a young buck who thought he was in pretty good shape. Over the years I have talked with a few friends about how impressed I was with what I experienced on that visit, a couple of years ago one of them sent me an e-mail with a link to RMAX productions. What I found when I checked the link out was that a fellow by the name of Scott Sonnen had made a video on club exercises and developed a modern version of the meel that he had called Clubbells®. I reviewed the material on his site and he seemed to know what he was talking about so I sent off for his tape, mostly because he didn't come across like most of the fitness "gurus" with the next "ultimate exercise machine". Those of you who know me are aware of the fact that I am old and cynical. I have spent a lifetime watching one person after another try to sell the "next big thing" and I have found that "Sturgeon's Law" to hold as true for the fitness world as it does in literature. So if I wax rhapsodic about a new exercise program I hope that you will take note.
After receiving the tape and watching it end to end I was quite impressed, more so than I have been in quite some time by an exercise program. The tape is professionally produced, with excellent sound quality and good camera work. You can see how the exercises are being done without problem.

One of the first things to impress me was the care that Coach Sonnon takes in making sure that the safe method of using his Clubbell® Equipment is understood. I don't know how many times I have seen videos where the proper use of equipment and correct form have been glossed over or neglected, so it was quite refreshing to see the amount of detail he put into correct form to avoid injury.

The material progresses in a logical manner, with each section and skill set preparing you for the one to follow. Coach Sonnon is a lively and articulate instructor, you won't get bored watching this video, he comes across as really enjoying what he is doing and his enthusiasm is infectious. After going through each of the basic exercises in detail the tape ends with several combination routines that allow you to put what you have learned into practice in a progressively more sophisticated manner. The only problem I found with the tape is that at the end I wanted more.
What I was finding in going through the material on the video was that club swinging was downright fun, addictive even. I have never really enjoyed doing weight work, the tedium of it has always put me off, it is something I   have done because it was necessary, sort of like going to the dentist. This material is the first weight work I have ever found myself looking forward to doing. One of its major appeals for me is that rather than going through the same limited motions day after day, striving to add more and more weight to your lifts, the ClubbellR program encourages you to add more and more sophistication to your movement. I wanted more! So I got........

The Book:

I was a bit hesitant at first, because I was a bit worried that I would just be getting a text and still photo rehash of the material in the tape. I am happy to say that this was not the case. While the book does go into every exercise on the tape, and presents material that helps fine tune your form, the major value of the book is that it gives you a lot of very good ideas for putting together you own training  programs. The book also goes into the philosophy of "Circular Strength" in a very interesting and useful way.

So what do I think? After using this program for a couple of years now, I can honestly say that it is the single best thing I have done in the way of reactance training. I have found that it has become the main, in fact the only form of weight training I do any more. It is also the only form of weight training that I have ever consistently looked forward to doing. I have found that it has made me stronger, faster and more coordinated, (which these days is important as I am no longer a "spring chicken"). What is more important to me is that the kind of strength developed through this program is whole body and usable.

My recondition? Get both the book and the tape as well as a set of Clubbell® Equipment (trust me, you will want two) and start the program. You will be thanking yourself for doing in a couple of months. It is the single best form of strength development for martial artists that I know of. I think so much of this material that I have made it pretty much a mandatory part of the training in Silat Zulfikari.

A note on Clubbell® Equipment:

Being both a good craftsman and a cheapskate, when I started this program I decided to fabricate my own clubs rather than spending money on equipment  that I might end up not using. I went through a few designs, and came up with what I thought was a serviceable alternative to laying out the money for Clubbell® Equipment. And they were. I was quite happy with them until the day that I got a chance to try out the real thing. Clubbell® Equipment is flat out better than anything I could come up with in the areas of balance, ease of use and safety. I also realized that when I factored in materials, time and labor, the cost of the real thing was about the same as my home made models. They are also, in my opinion, better than the traditional meel. The long handle gives you much more control over perceived weight. If you are good with your hands you may want to try making your own, but I think in the long run most people will be happier getting the real thing. If you want to find out more about this material go to RMAX,tv Productions and check it out.

Report on Olympic Clubbell® Championship:


"Oh my gosh, I was there and it was an incredible event to watch. Thanks to the coaches and athletes who let me watch.
Especially if you know personally the "feel" of swipes and mills you can only begin to understand what these guys pulled off.
The event started around 2 at the venue. We met in the lobby and introduced ourselves. Very nice to match faces to names! I hear that from all you who travel around and it's true.
First off was scoping out the room where the competition was to be held. Some time was spent on facility stuff, placing cameras, mats, officials' table, chairs, window shades to eliminate glare. Athletes parked their Clubbells® and gear around the walls. We spectators chatted each other up and compared "Clubbell® at home" stories.
I was amused to see only 25s and 15s there - I have 10s and 5s at home and they would have been lonely. Coach Szolek let me lift one of his 25s and I did, just enough to put it down again. Whoa.
We spectators, and athletes too, got instruction on what to do during an athlete's competition. No going in and out of the room; no jeering; no sudden anything that could break the athlete's concentration. It was clear to me, seeing how big these guys are, and how big the Clubbells® are, and how serious the athletes were about going all-out, that this is about both respect AND safety. Big weights, high speed, near fatigue, and sudden distraction would NOT be a good mix.
Then came the "rules clinic." This I had to hear. Coach Sonnon explained to the two officials the rules of OCS Sport. Including the movements that MUST happen to count as a rep-point, and the movements that MUST NOT happen or else the rep doesn't count or is a "fault" (something wrong). Also the things that stop a competitor's session.

Simple version: for a mill, a rep counts if the Clubbell® passes the centerline in the front and then passes the back of the head. For a swipe, a rep starts when it passes the calves on the way up to the armpit cast, and after it passes the calves again on the way down, it counts. (errors are mine if I have it wrong)
Coach Sonnon spent some time explaining what were merely form and style differences, such as how and when to rest, and what would be out-of-line for a rest. In a teaching moment he went into the tradeoffs of resting and how different body types might respond to different styles - but it went by too fast for me to quite take in. I made a note to ask on the forum (later).
The timer was to call out each minute ("one minute" "two minutes,") as they happened. This was surprisingly a tension-builder during the competition. You'd think a minute apart would be too long to start getting anxious. But in reality, we might as well have had the Jaws music for the way those minutes piled up.
The rules are in the OCS book, I gather, but there is nothing like seeing it taught to the judges (smile).
I did wonder about Coach Sonnon using up some of his potential reps demonstrating the movements with a 15, showing both right and wrong. Very clear.
Okay so now the athletes went to the facility's locker room to get weighed and we spectators got ourselves comfortable because no way were we going to miss any of these.
Somewhere in there, the counting official (Michael Gannon), drew names for the order of competition. Laughs all around when Scott S. was first, and more when Doug was second. Then came Brandon, Scott, and Casey.
Showtime is coming and I watched the athlete's focusing strategies. Recognized vibration drills and Warrior Wellness" by Sonnon and Szolek. Pacing and Warrior Wellness" from some of the others.

Scott's wife Jodie comes to cheer him on, of course right when he has drawn first place and is getting ready. Quick kiss and on he goes.
Scott's mills: he does mills first for strategy reasons (another question for later). We have all seen this style on the videos in the OCS page. It is another thing to see 10 minutes of it with a 25. Talk about steady, control, and breathing - reminded me of the power of a steam engine in their heyday (sorry for the old-fashioned simile Scott!). I mean BIG, powerful, and tireless. I started to feel sympathetic tiredness at minute 5 and wondered how this could continue - but it did.
Doug's swipes: Again with the strong, smooth, and steady. He has a very tight circle on the armpit cast and a very distinct transition between armpit cast and forward pendulum. Very pretty to watch. I think he rested after every set of 12-14, seemed to work for him.
Brandon's mills: I didn't realize there were 3 people in the senior division (25s), what a thrill. Brandon's footwork and style were new to me - reminded me of throwing sports, like a pitcher, from the shield cast into the inward pendulum. Again, he went the whole way with that steady, pretty form and good breathing. A smile kept appearing - a crowd-pleaser. At one point he arm-parked and tightened up the knob on his Clubbell® - it was working loose.
Steve's swipes: Our first competitor in the Junior division and a big, expansive form and style. I wondered if it has to do with his height - but his swoops are way out there. He also went the whole 10 minutes. My hands are starting to swell up just from watching.
Casey's mills: Another in the Junior division and yet another form and style. Very distinctive and smooth on armpit cast, pendulums, and arm switches. I got distracted and forgot to count how many reps per side he did before switching - but most of the guys seemed to go 10-14.
One point: athletes put their Clubbells® down after competing, and someone else retrieved them! Roadies are needed! They are even heavier afterward!
We are halfway through the competition and I am wondering - these guys are showing NO nerves. Are they good at hiding it, or has the TLC for athletes here, minimized it?
The two-minutes-left warning has emerged as a time for the audience to cheer the athlete on. Much encouragement from all sides. The counting official has also taken to announcing the numbers after each event.

Scott's swipes: I heard him tell another competitor that he was worried about these, but no worries. He got through the entire 10 minutes. Some all-out effort - oof, groan, pull - during the last two minutes which had me on the edge of the chair if I would see an actual rep failure or dropped Clubbell® - but no, they all got done. BIG applause at the final bell. Did NOT pick up the Clubbells® when walking off and made jokes about having to have the wife manage the spoon that evening.
Doug's mills: Again, a very tight close-to-the-chest style and transition between shield cast and inward pendulum. Can't remember if he took rests - not like the swipes anyway. The last couple minutes again were grimace and groaners. WOW. My hands are definitely sympathetically throbbing by now.
Brandon's swipes: Started out fine. I couldn't see a problem but Scott S. asked him what's up bro, and Brandon says his left grip is fried. A few more reps and he was done early for that event - put the left side Clubbell® down. I did not go to the huddle and listen in on the why, but much sympathy and rueful smiles coming from the athletes.
Scott's mills: again with a soaring, expansive style that had the coaches mesmerized. Steady as a pump bolt as they say, and able to go the full 10 minutes. Form changed during the final two minutes, I could see, but just different, not obviously weakening. A very exciting set here. How far can this guy go next time I wonder?
Casey's swipes: someone called him the King of the Backswing. A truly graceful, deep dip on the swipe where the Clubbell® was almost horizontal on the backswing and a powerful hip snap. I also thought I saw a hint of more wrist snap on the transition between pendulum and armpit cast for this athlete but what do I know. It was fascinating to watch these events played out by the different athletes. Again a full 10 minutes and a quite graceful lay-down at the final buzzer.
It's done, right about on time, with 10-minute sessions and 5 minutes between. I think. Athletes are fried and audience has that kind of awed silence you see after a breathtaking performance. Clubbells® are sitting around all by themselves - no one wants to pick them up, awww. In future it would be nice to have roadies and a cart for afterwards.
So announcements of final numbers and placements, applause, and discussioin about next time. All the OCS category numbers seem low based on what was done today. I'm like, hey! by the time I am ready to dominate the women's division where will the numbers be!
This was the time for me to leave so I said my goodbyes where I could.
It was a wonderful opportunity and everyone was SOOOO nice.
I will be posting other suggestions but here is one I hope Coach Sonnon will not dismiss out of hand - we need 3-minute events for watchability by the uninformed. Now before you say this is not just a show - I think there is something magic about 3 minutes and humans - something psychosocial. 3 minute songs, boxing rounds, music videos, old-time radio comedy.
Why not take advantage of 3-minute magic for these fab toys?
You gotta see this. If you like your Clubbells®, go watch a bunch of other people doing this elite performance. There is Vegas coming up. I guarantee your own program will get a jump-start even if you are a rec player or whatever.

Respectfully submitted, " - Connie Brown


TTT 4 RMAX.tv.