Sambo - Self Defense Without Weapons?

Sambo is a martial art that originated in Russia, and it's one of the most popular combat sports in that country. It combines elements from wrestling and judo with many other disciplines to create what can be described as a hybrid fighting style.

There are several different types of sambo—including Combat Sambo and Traditional Sambo—but they all share some common features, such as the focus on throws and pins rather than submissions like arm locks or chokes. In this article I'll explain what sambo is all about, how it came about, its place among other martial arts today (both within Russia itself and abroad), plus where you can learn more about Sambo beyond this blog post!

"Russian Wrestling" - With A Twist

Sambo is a Russian martial art that combines wrestling and judo techniques with elements of other combat sports. It is often referred to as the "Russian Wrestling" or "Russian Judo", but it has its own distinct character.

Sambo originated in the 1920s when Soviet sport leaders sought to create an efficient means of training military personnel in hand-to-hand combat skills. They took what they considered best from several disciplines: traditional folk wrestling (khorovod), freestyle wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, catch wrestling and jujitsu/judo (then called Kano Jiu Jitsu).

This eclectic mix was then augmented by adding striking techniques from karate and boxing as well as kicks from taekwondo and Kung Fu; hence Sambo's unique combination of throws & submissions with strikes & kicks.

A Military Fighting System

Sambo was originally a military fighting system developed by the Soviet Red Army in the 1920s. It was designed as an alternative to Greco-Roman wrestling and Japanese judo, which were the main forms of martial arts in the former country at that time.

Sambo is based on catch wrestling techniques from Europe and Asia, but also includes elements from freestyle wrestling, judo and other styles as well as some throws from other martial arts like jujutsu or karate.

What Does "SAMBO" Mean?

Directly translated, the name sambo, or SAMBO (an acronym for SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya, which means "self defense without weapons"), was created in the 1930s by Viktor Spiridonov and Vasili Oshchepkov as a new style of sport wrestling that combined elements of judo and freestyle wrestling.

The first book on Sambo was published in 1938 by Vasili Oshchepkov, who had studied Japanese jujutsu with its founder Jigoro Kano before World War I. Oshchepkov's work became popularized after World War II when he moved from Japan back to Russia and began teaching his art there under the name Samozashchita Bez Oruzhiya (Self-Defense Without Weapons).

Spiridonov and Oshchepkov Carving Paths

The history of sambo is a long one, and it's complicated by the fact that there are several different styles of the martial art. The first major development in Sambo was when Spiridonov and Oshchepkov created their own version of the sport in 1922.

At the time, their goal was to create an alternative to judo and wrestling, which they felt were too focused on submissions rather than throws. Thus, their new system emphasized throwing techniques over submissions--a trend that has continued throughout its history as both competitors and spectators have preferred this method over others for its speed and excitement factor.

Traditional vs Combat Sambo

Although Combat Sambo has been formalized by Veniamin Kondratiev and other notable figures like Igor Vovchanchyn and Fedor Emelianenko, most practitioners do not consider it to be "Traditional Sambo" since it does not have much resemblance with what Oshchepkov envisioned for his creation.

The first hand-to-hand combat manual published under this name appeared in 1931, but following its introduction into Finland during World War II (1939-1945), several changes were made including removal of some throws due to injury risks; these alterations formed what would eventually become known as Combat Sambo.

Evolving Into the Late 1950s

The Combat Sambo style was developed by Viktor Spiridonov in the late 1950s. It combined judo, freestyle wrestling and Sambo into a unified martial art with its own unique ruleset.

Combat Sambo is not the same as traditional Sambo; it has a more refined approach to submissions and throws compared to the older sport version of the sport. Striking including punching, kicking, knees, and even headbutts under some rulesets are also allowed.

Today there are three main styles practiced internationally: Sport Sambo which focuses on freestyle wrestling rulesets like FILA Grappling Rules; Freestyle Fighting/MMA style derived from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but modified for MMA competition standards such as weight classes etc.; Professional Combat Sambo which emphasizes striking techniques rather than grappling ones although both are still taught within each curriculum depending on instructor preference.

Dominate Your Opponent

A Sambo practitioner is a formidable adversary, as the techniques, tactics and strategies of Sambo are all geared towards a single purpose: to completely dominate your opponent. If you don't respect Sambo, that's your mistake.