HomeSportsSambo (Martial Arts)Sambo Martial Arts: A Harmonious Fusion of Tradition and Technique
-- Advertisement --

Sambo Martial Arts: A Harmonious Fusion of Tradition and Technique

- Advertisement -

For a long time, martial arts have been a field of interest encompassing discipline, cultural history, and physical abilities. With a distinct technique and background, Sambo is just one of the many trends that have risen worldwide. Sambo, a combat sport with global practice and roots in the Soviet Union, is a recognized amateur wrestling style that is part of the World Wrestling Championships, alongside freestyle and Graeco-Roman wrestling.

-- Advertisement --


History of Sambo | KreedOn
Image Source:

Its birthplace is the Soviet Union’s Russian SFSR. The term “sambo” stands for “samozashchita bez oruzhiya” in Russian, which means “self-defense without weapons.” Since the Soviet NKVD and Red Army developed Sambo in the early 1920s to enhance their soldiers’ hand-to-hand combat skills, it is considered a relatively recent form of martial art. The goal is to combine the best moves from several martial disciplines.

Vasili Oshchepkov and Viktor Spiridonov were the forerunners of Sambo. Oshchepkov studied Judo under its inventor, Kano Jigoro, for several years while residing in Japan. Separately, Spiridonov and Oshchepkov created two distinct styles that eventually blended to form samboSpiridonov had a softer, less severe style of wrestling than Oshchepkov’s technique, which was known as “free wrestling” in Russia. Additionally, it was less dependent on strength, largely brought on by Spiridonov’s World War I injuries. 

-- Advertisement --

A pupil of Vasili Oshchepkov named Anatoly Kharlampiev is also credited with founding Sambo. It came to be acknowledged as a legitimate sport by the USSR All-Union Sports Committee in 1938.

Modern Applications

Sambo Martial Arts | KreedOn
Image Source: Sambo Sport

Sambo is not only a martial art but also a competitive sport, with various tournaments and championships held worldwide. Sambo’s primary focus remains on self-defense, teaching practitioners effective techniques to neutralize threats quickly and efficiently. It has grown to become a top pick for law-enforcement agencies globally because of its utility and efficiency in executing duties. In many nations, sambo is a significant part of military hand-to-hand combat training. For anyone seeking a tough and satisfying exercise, sambo is a great option because of its physical demands and energetic character.

Kudo Martial Art : History, Techniques, Rules and Regulations, Categories, Federation and More | KreedOnAlso Read | Kudo Martial Art: History, Techniques, Rules and Regulations, Categories, Federation and More

Sambo: Styles

Sambo is available in many different competitive sports forms, though its concepts and techniques can be used in a wide range of other combat sports. The primary formats that FIAS recognizes are shown below.

-- Advertisement --

Combat Sambo

Combat sambo, which was created for the military, is similar to contemporary mixed martial arts, which include grappling and striking techniques. Regular punches, kicks, elbows, and knees are permitted in combat sambo, along with soccer kicks, headbutts, and groin strikes. Throws, holds, chokes, and locks are not permitted, except standing or flying wrist bars.

Sports Sambo 

Sport sambo, also known as Sambo wrestling, shares many stylistic similarities and influences with traditional judo, although there are some distinctions in terms of regulations, protocol, and uniforms. Sambo permits a variety of leg locks, such as those used in traditional Judo before the Ashi Garami techniques were outlawed, although chokeholds are not permitted. It also emphasizes foundation, throws, and submissions with little grip and hold limitations. The FILA (now UWW) Congress approved the international amateur wrestling style known as sambo in 1966.

Special Sambo

The Special Forces of the Army and other rapid response units are intended users of this kind of Sambo. It is specifically made for the group of people that utilize it. It is comparable to sambo combat in that regard, as both have a distinct objective.

Freestyle Sambo

The American Sambo Association first presented this style in 2004. Its goal was to get people who practiced other martial arts, such as Judo and Jiu-Jitsu, to take up Sambo. Chokeholds and other submission maneuvers that are prohibited in traditional Sambo wrestling are permitted in Freestyle Sambo.

-- Advertisement --

Self-Defence Sambo

The goal of this style is self-defense. It teaches practitioners how to be safe from firearms. The majority of the techniques taught involve turning the hostility of the opponent against the learner, a concept shared by both Jiu-Jitsu and Aikido. There is a noticeable Spiridonov influence in this Sambo style.


Sambo competitions involve two athletes, known as “sambists,” engaging in a match on a mat. Certainly, the objective is to score points by executing various techniques, including takedowns, throws, and submissions. A match is divided into two four-minute rounds, with a one-minute break in between. Here are some key rules:

  • Techniques: Sambists can use various techniques, including takedowns, throws, joint locks, and chokes.
  • Scoring: Points are awarded for successful techniques, with the winner being the sambist who scores the most points.
  • Penalties: Fouls, such as biting, eye-gouging, and small joint manipulation, result in penalties and point deductions.
  • Victory: A match can be won by points, submission, or knockout.

Muay Thai | KreedOnAlso Read | Muay Thai: Unveiling the Ancient Martial Art of Eight Limbs

How to Perform

Sambo techniques involve a combination of speed, agility, and strength. Here are some fundamental techniques:

  • Stances: Sambists use various stances, including the ” Sambo stance,” which involves standing with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Movement: Sambists use quick and agile movements to evade and counter their opponents’ attacks.
  • Takedowns: Sambists use various takedown techniques, including single-leg and double-leg takedowns.
  • Throws: Sambists use throws, such as hip throws and shoulder throws, to take down their opponents.
  • Submissions: Sambists use joint locks and chokes to submit their opponents.

Skills and Strategies

Sambo practitioners need to be flexible and able to move well. They have to be strong and have good endurance because sambo is tough. They also need to be good at using techniques and timing them just right. Being able to adapt to different situations and opponents is important too. In matches, sambists need to control and be in charge. Additionally, they use their skills to dominate their opponents. They also rely on being fast and agile to dodge attacks and strike back quickly. Mixing different techniques helps them create strong moves and win matches.


Sambo - Equipment - All Soft | KreedOn
Image Source:

The equipment may vary depending on the specific Sambo style, competition, or training session. Additionally, some modern variations may incorporate additional equipment or modify traditional gear for safety or comfort reasons. The sport requires the following equipment:

    1. Uniform (Kurtka): A thick, quilted jacket made of cotton or polyester, designed to withstand grappling and throwing techniques. It has a closed sleeve and a high collar to prevent opponents from gripping.
    2. Pants (Shtany): Thick, quilted pants match the jacket, providing protection and grip for leg locks and takedowns.
    3. Belt (Poyas): A wide, colored belt indicating the practitioner’s skill level or rank.
    4. Mat (Mat): A thick, padded mat providing a safe surface for throws, takedowns, and grappling.
    5. Headgear (Shlem): Optional protective headgear is worn during competition to prevent head injuries.
    6. Knee and elbow pads (Nakolenniki i loktevye nakolenniki): Optional protective pads are worn to prevent knee and elbow injuries.
    7. Mouthguard (Zashchita dlya rot): A mandatory protective mouthguard is worn during competition to prevent dental injuries.
    8. Grappling shoes (Borzovki): Lightweight, flexible shoes with a non-marking sole, providing grip and support during the competition.
    9. Protective cup (Zashchita dlya muzhchin): A mandatory protective cup worn by male practitioners to prevent groin injuries.

The Present and The Future

Sambo | KreedOn
Image Source:

Sambo is a respected martial art worldwide, recognized as the third style of international wrestling. Countries like Russia, Bulgaria, and Japan actively practice it. It’s featured in events like the World Sambo Championships and has produced champions like Fedor Emelianenko, Vitaly Minakov, Igor Yakimov, Rosen Dimitrov, Alexander Emelianenko, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Andrei Arlovski, gaining popularity in the martial arts community.

The future of the sport looks promising, with its global popularity and recognition continuing to grow. As a recognized style of international wrestling, Sambo is likely to be included in more multi-sport events, potentially even the Olympics. Its adoption by mixed martial artists and its effectiveness in real-life self-defense situations will further increase its appeal. Thus, with the development of new styles and techniques, it will continue to evolve and attract new practitioners.


Sambo martial arts has been around for a while since it started in the Soviet Union. It’s become more popular worldwide because it’s good at what it does, and lots of people like it. Originally, it was about protecting yourself and fighting up close. But now, it’s known worldwide as a type of wrestling. That’s why it’s great for people who want a well-rounded martial arts experience. Sambo is good for everyone, whether you’re just starting, or you’ve been doing martial arts for a while. It focuses on being quick, flexible, and having good technique. So, no matter your skill level, there’s something for you in Sambo.

Best Boxing Shoes - KreedOnAlso Read | Top 10 Best Boxing shoes to “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”

Follow us on: InstagramFacebookYouTubeWhatsApp and be part of KreedOn’s community

For more sports knowledge and latest stories on Indian sports and athletes

Subscribe Now Receive exciting Indian sports stories on your WhatsApp now.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here