Scott Sonnon on Spartan 2.0

Spartan 2.0 over-delivers yet again. What I appreciate about Spartan as a company and product line resembles what I hold to be of utmost importance in a brand and corporate vision: constant improvement, customized adaptation, community dialogue. Spartan takes the feedback we provide placing their gear in unique, new and ongoing duress, and maintains a state of continual evolution.

As a grappler competitively, and a contact and control specialist for defensive tactics, gear becomes problematic. We grapplers took the rashguard out of beach attire and made it an industry. 😉 We are hard on gear because of snags, tears, and friction.

But Spartan returned from our feedback with an innovative response to the duress we place upon gear.

The elbow forearm guards represented one of the most frequent points of contact and we continually would release attachments, if not be obstructed by them. The new design resembles a padded compression sleeve, allowing maximum mobility and operation of the arm while minimizing if not preventing any friction or possible gear malfunction. Genius.

Groundfighting, standing up from the ground, engaging cover, takedowns and tackles all present problem in multi-piece gear. If you cannot render the actual skills to be performed, then training gear becomes a liability: for the best you can hope for in a fight is the worst you’ve performed in the gym. The interference between upper and lower architecture of training gear has in the past been an obstacle. Certainly, we will overcome any discomforts, but when accessing and deploying tools and techniques, integration of equipment without any obstruction to mobility is paramount. The new low-profile elastic waist and the removal of the previous plastic band no longer interrupts the movement between the vest and the shorts. Ideal.

Any law enforcement personnel knows how to dismantle the closures on their vests. And as instructors we know that under fatigue and stress we do what we’ve conditioned the most. This includes the removal of our gear. In the past we’ve put some serious wear and tear on the gear by not removing as per spec designs… because inadvertently under fatigue and stress of drilling, we started removing the training gear as one would body armor. To address this, Spartan 2.0 developed an ingenious ballistic style front closure which not only increases rib protection and fits better, it prevents us from causing product malfunctions. Thank you.

Previously designed helmets addressed the potential harm of impact, but often neglected to consider how grapplers use the head to control the body. This resulted in releasing the attachment points to other designs. But Spartan 2.0, and I don’t want to give away any corporate secrets, has implemented a design which I cannot yet Hoodini. I’ll keep trying, but I haven’t found a way to release this head gear even under high intensity. Keep your eyes on this helmet. Best on the market.

One last interplay I wanted to address was the relationship of the new elbow sleeve to the shoulder and wrist. As a grappler, I often establish wrist control – which is also a necessity in cuffing and restraint. Without amble opportunity for application of wrist control (and wrist restraints), training gear can interfere with skill practice, especially under stress of high intensity drilling. The new design of the sleeve works optimally in relationship between the gloves and shoulder pieces. Much appreciated.

Again, my kudos to Spartan for remaining the industry leader by engineering evolution. It will take quite a few years for others to catch up to these innovations.

Scott Sonnon

Testimonial from Gerard O’Dea

“Just a few words to tell you how genuinely impressed I was by the Hoplite Training Armour we received recently. Having done hundreds of hours in gear over the years, I found the features you have incorporated into the armour made my training session flow much more smoothly.

The arm components, areas which are subject to the most movement and impact, have very neat features to make sure they stay in place and can withstand high-intensity training. The features you have built in to make the armour so secure on the body do their job very well. Likewise with the head protector. Overall the design makes it easy to ensure a snug fit which is comfortable and allows movement, while providing all-round protection without gaps. Outstanding. I even tried my best to fog up the visor but whatever magic is in there, I could see clearly through it at all times.

One of the key things we have found is that we can now do multiple drill repetitions and not need to re-adjust or re-affix anything between them. Whether I am in the training scenario or I am helping my students through it, we have more training time and less adjustment time – more reps means safer students and that is a really great benefit which shouldn’t be forgotten.

Great job – our Hoplite Training Armour from Spartan is now our most essential equipment.

Thanks again,”

Gerard O’Dea
Director, Principal Trainer
Dynamis Training & Insight

Testimonial from John Whitman

“We’ve used Spartan Training Gear’s Hoplite Armour many times for Krav Maga Alliance events, and I’ve personally worn the suit as the attacker several times. I’ve been the designated attacker over and over again for groups of more than twenty people. I was able to attack them effectively and absorb their counterattacks without getting banged up. Realistic training is a prerequisite for us; the mobility of the Hoplite Armor allows me to be a real attacker rather than just a lumbering marshmallow man. In fact, one student went a little crazy and got too violent. Even though I was inside the suit, I was able to roll him into an arm bar and calm him down. I highly recommend this gear.”

John Whitman
Founder, Krav Maga Alliance

Testimonial from Jesse Lawn

“Well I gave the Hoplite Helmet the run through it deserved. After being mauled by angry women, multiple black belts, and a 328lb. monster for a total of about 6 hours… my face and head are 100% in-tact. I was shredded, elbowed, palm struck, kneed in the face, and skull bounced… all of which I felt, but none of which actually hurt me. It was fantastic!

I was really surprised at how light and comfortable the helmet is. There was complete freedom of movement, clear peripheral vision, and excellent ventilation. After hours of training, the helmet never became unbearable. Further, the helmet stayed attached during extremely vigorous ground recovery drills… a failing of every other helmet I have tried.

The Hoplite Helmet instantly became my gym’s most valuable piece of equipment. Every serious trainer should have one of these. My sponsor, Luc, was so impressed… he’s talking about trying to get another Helmet soon!”

Jesse Lawn
Owner/Chief Operator
Jesse Lawn’s Close Quarter Combatives

Testimonial from Larry Brooks

“Got some great feedback for you on the Spartan Training Gear from me and my guys. The improved visual and inhalation properties of the headgear greatly enhance our ability to go longer and harder without fogging or laboring trying to breath. The Velcro straps on the back eliminate twisting and tangling. The gloves allow a much freer range of wrist movement. We are able to grab and clinch without restrictions or have the Velcro come loose. I like that fact that some areas where strikes could slip through are covered or reinforced. One of my students like the fact that he could kick higher thank in any other gear. All in all, can’t wait to log in more hours in the gear.”

Larry Brooks
Brooks Karate
West Winfield, NY

Testimonial from Jake Donnenwirth

“As a Martial Arts and Behaviorally Based Protection Instructor for the past five years, I have had the opportunity to train with several different kinds of gear. The Hoplite Armour is by far the most advanced gear of its class. The chest gear is lighter and more flexible than any other gear I’ve used, making motions more natural and realistic as a bad guy. The arm greaves cover the forearms completely, reducing the impact that repeated strikes make and making them ideal for systems that use forearm strikes and blocks. However, the greatest improvement is in the helmet; the improved design reduces the claustrophobic feeling you get when wearing other helmets, and the straps on the back of the helmet are very adjustable, giving you that ‘perfect fit’. By having two points of adjustment on the back and one on top, you are able to customize the helmet to fit your head, which is very important in force on force training. After trying the suit out this past weekend in some very high speed, high intensity drills, I can say without a doubt that the Hoplite Armour is the best on the market and a necessity for anyone in the Martial Arts, MMA, or Self Defense communities.”

Jake Donnenwirth
Functional Edge System
Adjunct Trainer

Testimonial from Scott Sonnon

“When I need protective gear, I need to minimize restrictions and maximize mobility. Spartan Training Gear gives me that advantage like no other gear I’ve used. Major points about this gear: the suit’s articulation doesnt restrict the primary mobility junctures: neck, shoulders, thorax, and hips. Locking the neck in place causes easy knock-outs, locking the shoulders in place increases elbow injuries, immobilizing the thorax leads to lower back trauma, and fixing the hips in place causes knee strain. For example, unlike other armour I’ve used, the Spartan design of the chest protection renders the biomechanics profile of the core: a corset first holds the armour to the belly, and then the chest plate connects over top. This two-ply design facilitates thoracic rotation without which (see other single-ply chest armor) the lower back intended for stability becomes forced into mobility – which leads to pain and injuries, especially with occupationally-vulnerable individuals like law enforcement. A technology is only as effective as it increases the human’s skill. You can be a very powerful individual, but without movement, you remain impotent of expressing that power (think competitive bodybuilders attempting highly athletic skills.) I’ll advocate any technology which helps our service personnel, and this obviously has an enormous amount of intelligence invested in it.”

Scott Sonnon
TACFIT Chief Operations Officer
US National Martial Arts Team Coach
US Federal Law Enforcement Instructor
US Army Special Operations Instructor

Testimonial from Zachary Pugh

“Today was the first chance that I was able to test my Hoplite out and do some work in it! I must say after trying it out is it is the best multi-purpose training gear I have ever come across! For the past 8 years, during my studying and teaching of behaviorally based combatives and the martial arts I used another brand of impact-reduction role-playing gear. In my opinion, the Hoplite Training Armour is superior to it! The Hoplite’s design has addressed the flaws from many other types of gear and eliminated them. The Hoplite allows for greater mobility, greater use of force-on-force tactics, greater comfort and is more economical than any gear on the market today. The biggest improvement over my previous gear is the design of the helmet. My other helmet left vulnerable gaps, had insufficient padding, and the tie down straps did not allow for a “perfect” fit. The Hoplite Helmet has addressed all those concerns by allowing for a customizable “perfect” fit and the elimination of weak points by leaving no gaps and providing sufficient padding and still allowing unimpeded movement. I look forward to continuing to train in my suit and would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for Multi-Purpose Role-Playing gear to enhance their training!”

Zachary Pugh
Elmira College Student
Behaviorally – Based Combatives Instructor

Testimonial from Kym Rock

“I have taught over 160 seminars with my “Fight Like a Girl Program,” as a self defense expert I have seen my share of training equipment when it comes to self defense for women and men. However, we recently used the Spartan Training Gear Suit at one of the largest Fight like a Girl Seminars to date and I must say it was user friendly for the attacker and the one being attacked. The suit was realistic give the proper protection to the wearer and to the self defense participant. I highly recommend the Spartan Training Gear Suit for self defense training because it’s light and doesn’t slow down the wearer making the attacks more realistic… and by being more realistic we can all save a life, thank you Spartan Training Gear.”

Kym Rock
President – Fight Like a Girl Inc.

Testimonial from Kevin Secours

“The Spartan Hoplite armor is truly a world class innovation in functional protective gear. Hands down this is the most versatile, durable and comfortable helmet I’ve used. If your face and brain matter to you, this is the helmet you want protecting it. It’s the first helmet I’ve found that was tight enough for the smaller ladies in my group and large enough for the big boys. Spartan sets the bar… and that bar is very high!!”

Kevin Secours
Director of International Combat Systema Association
Director of Training for The Quebec Tactical Training Academy
Founder of Integrated Fighting Systems