Sambo represents an effective martial art. This style trains not only the body, but also the fighting spirit because of the techniques. Competitions are part of this Russian martial art for those who practice the sporting variant. In addition, the techniques also act as an excellent method of protecting oneself from attacks without the use of weapons. That is why in Russia both the army and the police rely on sambo close combat techniques.

First things first:

  • Two styles of sambo exist. They consist of sport sambo and combat sambo.
  • Effective techniques allow effective and weaponless self-defense at the same time.
  • Sambo trains fitness, strength, agility and speed.
  • Sambo followers also compete as judoka in judo competitions


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History of the Sambo

  • The Soviet army began to develop sambo in 1923. The developers of this martial art aimed to improve their close combat techniques. They adapted them to the conditions of the Soviet military.
  • Quick learnability is a characteristic feature of sambo techniques. Moreover, the combat suit is not an obstacle to their application. Another goal is to finish the fight until the attacker is incapacitated.

Vasily Oshchepkov and Victor Spiridonov are the names of co-founders of sambo. The former practiced judo in Japan for several years. He trained with the founding father of the “gentle way”, also known as Kanō Jigorō. However, Sambo followers consider Anatoly Kharlampiev as the true founder of the Soviet martial spot. He trained with Spiridonov. Thanks to his dedication, sambo made the leap into competitive sport in 1938.

Sambo today

In the meantime the sport enjoys a worldwide spread. For this reason, an international sambo federation exists. It is called Federation International Amateur SAMBO (FIAS). By the way, the term Sambo comes from the Russian language. It reproduces the words “Samozashchita bez orushija“. The literal translation is: “Self-defense without weapons“.

In Germany there is an umbrella organization for all sambo schools. It is called Der Deutsche Sambo Verband e. V.. It also acts as a member of FIAS. Compared to the long existence of the martial art, the first sambo competitions in Germany took place in 2002. Itzehoe acted as the place of the championship. The city is located in the southwestern part of Schleswig-Holstein. Thus, the year 2002 is considered to be the birth of the annual sport sambo as well as combat sambo competitions.

Sambo is a popular and widespread sport not only in today’s Russia, but also in numerous former member states of the Eastern Bloc.

Features of Sambo

In the beginning, the sporting style of sambo enjoyed great popularity among martial artists. It was called Sambo Borba. The latter term stands for fight. Sporting Sambo was characterized by numerous techniques from Judo. Characteristic of the “gentle way” are throwing, leverage, falling and holding techniques. However, sambo supplemented the effective judo techniques with numerous different holds. These have increased the effectiveness of Sambo many times over.

In this Sambo variant, the fighters have two possibilities to emerge victorious from the fight. On the one hand, the winner is the one who has a higher number of points. On the other hand, the winner is the fighter who, with the help of a lever technique, for example, makes his opponent give up the fight.

Judo took over the role of marketing and made this novelty martial art internationally known. Martial artists of Sambo demonstrated their skills in worldwide competitions in Judo. For this reason, the term “Russian Judo” acts as a synonym for the sport sambo. In Russia the number of judo schools is small.

The background of the Combat Sambo

  • The Combat Sambo represents a further development of the Sporting Sambo. It has many similarities with the current mixed martial arts. Punching, kicking and choking techniques enrich the Combat Sambo. These have their origins in boxing, kickboxing and Thai boxing. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which also originates from Judo, also complements Combat Sambo.
  • There is also a specific variant of Combat Sambo, which is used only by the police and the military. Selected arrest techniques perfect this style. In addition, the Combat Sambo contains effective close combat techniques including weapons. These are composed of various styles from different martial arts and combat sports.
  • Sambo developed into an effective form of self-defense because of the techniques such as drop techniques, throws, levers and holds. The goal, which is to incapacitate the opponent, also represents self-protection

Sambo develops in its followers a good physical strength, a strong endurance and a remarkable speed. For this reason, this martial art combines important elements of self-defense as well as agility and fitness in a meaningful way.

Equipment for sambo training

Equipment depends on the choice of sambo style. Those who participate in competitions and practice Combat Sambo need more advanced equipment

  • Not only the groin protection for men, but also the head protection is indispensable. Furthermore, the fighters protect their teeth with a special splint. The shin and instep likewise require protection. For the free fight boxing gloves are a must. The protective equipment minimizes the risk of injury many times over.
  • Special competition clothing is used in official fights. It consists of a jacket, which is body-hugging, and a belt. The name of the top is kurtka. Short pants as well as leather shoes complete the outfit.
  • The pants have the same color as the jacket. Furthermore, the Sambo uniform is neutral. From it, neither the rivals nor the judges can read the status of the fighter. The belt serves only as an object to hold the jacket. In competitions, all participants have a blue and a red suit. The aforementioned colors act as a distinguishing factor for scoring purposes.
  • If, on the other hand, the sambo fighters compete as judoka in a judo match, they naturally wear the classic gi and are barefoot.

Update: 2023-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Bilder von der Amazon Product Advertising API