Interesting Facts to Know About Russian Fighting Art – Sambo


Russian martial arts are much older and developed than any other part of the world. The martial art had military application however, now it has morphed into a sport. Russia offers a variety of such fighting arts such as systema, Russian skad, Russian Boxing, Buza, ARB, Sambo, etc. The term sambo is derived from a Russian acronym ‘SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya’ which means ‘self-defense without weapons’ and is known to be founded by three soviet marital experts. With different modifications over the time sambo has morphed into a sport that is played by wearing a particular sambo outfit. One player is dressed in red while the other in blue, having matching accessories like shoes, socks, etc. Here are some interesting facts to know about sambo:

Russian Fighting Art

Types of Sambo:

Over the course of time, sambo has evolved and is divided into five major types. Combat sambo was particularly designed for the military. It also includes the usage of weapons and involves disarming techniques. Moreover, striking and grappling are part of combat sambo, unlike other styles. The second type i.e. freestyle sambo allows non-sambo participants like judo or jujitsu practitioners to take part. It allows the use of chokes holds that are not allowed in sport sambo.

The third type i.e. sports sambo is very similar to judo, where striking the opponent and taking him down is crucial for winning. On the contrary, self-defense sambo is about defending oneself against weapons and how to use the opponent’s aggression against him. Whereas, special sambo is particularly designed only for the Army Special Forces and is more like the combat sambo.

Sambo Moves:

Sambo has three basic moves i.e. takedowns and submission, leglocks, and ground control techniques. By using the sambo casting punch that originates from the shoulder to execute the takes down. Using the sambo kneebar grappling technique which further leads to the submission. Likewise, leglocks are the major move of sambo as they differentiate it from judo, moreover, it is a very effective grappling submission technique.

Goals and Scoring of Sambo:

The main objective is to teach the practitioners how to end the fight quickly and this is done by taking the opponent to the ground and applying fast submission techniques. The scoring criteria for sambo are very interesting. If you can throw the opponent on his back while standing on your feet, you can instantly score the highest point or can even win the match that very moment. If you are on your knees and the opponent is thrown on his pelvic region, then you get the lowest score. You also get scores if the opponent is downed to the height of your pelvis. Moreover, you can get scores through the pins, i.e. if opponent is down on his knees and you get chest to chest contact with him for 10 sec you can get two points, if for another 10 sec then you get 10 more points, however, you cannot get more than 4 points through pins.

Becoming Global:

Sambo is not just restricted to Japan anymore. It is becoming globally by being played in the US and UK. It has become like a yearly traditional sport, particularly in the UK, where the British SAMBO Open is held every year in Bedford. Many foreign athletes participate in the tournament every year and there is no doubt in the fact that this sport will soon be played in the Olympics. British SAMBO Open is held on a large scale and everyone like men, women, and children participate in it.

You might not have known this sport but after knowing about it you can’t keep yourself from watching it. To be an avid and skilled Sambo fighter, a lot of practice is required. However, one can always learn the most powerful and epic self- defense techniques from it and can easily practice them in daily life in case of any threat. Some sambo moves are very easy to learn and can help you take down the person you are threatened from, no matter how large he is from you, this is the major reason that women and children are learning it these days. Learning some of the sambo techniques is fun and also, it ensures your safety and you can enjoy traveling or going out alone. If you cannot find any trainer or instructor near you, you can learn some of the very basic ones form YouTube tutorials too. Learning Sambo must be on your to-do list!