What is sambo? Features of martial art

The art of sambo wrestling was created as a separate sports discipline in Soviet Russia in the early 1930s. The date of birth of this type of hand-to-hand combat is considered to be the date of November 16, 1938. On that day, the decree of the Committee on Physical Culture and Sports of the USSR was published “On the development of free style wrestling”. This is exactly what this martial art was originally called, but over time it became increasingly called “Sambo”. This is an abbreviation of the words "Self-defense without weapons." So what is sambo?

It absorbed the achievements of other martial arts, such as Japanese judo and jujutsu. The sambo technician’s arsenal includes techniques of national sports of Russia and other republics of the former Soviet Union, namely the Georgian wrestling Chidaoba, the Tatar and Uzbek Kurash, the Armenian Koch, the Moldavian trynt, the Yakut Khapsagay, etc.

The fate of the creator

The actual founder of the struggle was the brilliant Russian judoka Vasily Oschepkov.For a long time he studied judo in the famous Kodokan near Jigaro Kano himself and was one of the first three Europeans who received II dan from his hands. Oshchepkov and a group of enthusiasts from the Moscow Dynamo Sports Club began work on creating a fight that could be used by the Soviet Army and the special services. A group of enthusiasts traveled around the country, studying the national martial arts of the peoples of the USSR and describing their techniques. This allowed us to create a complex system and present it as a new, separate discipline.

Oschepkov himself did not live to see the birth of a new kind of struggle. A wide wave of Stalinist purges and repression affected many capable, intelligent and educated people. In 1937, Vasily Oschepkov was arrested and charged with espionage in favor of Japan. He died (not without the active participation of the NKVD staff who trained him in their skills in martial arts) on the 10th day of his arrest. After that, the word "judo" was permanently taken out of use in the Soviet Union.

sambo what is

Sambo development

The work started by Oshchepkov was continued by Anatoly Kharlampiev. After the death of his teacher, he headed the All-Union Freestyle Wrestling Section.Kharlampiev was used by Soviet propaganda, which called him the sole founder of a new kind of martial arts.

Undoubtedly, its role in the development of this system, the development and description of sambo wrestling techniques, training, systematization of knowledge and literature preparation, education of many masters of this sport is enormous. However, he was not the only creator of the system, but only the most famous. Kharlampiev was an outstanding person and had favorable conditions for the development of his sports and coaching skills. He devoted a great part of his life to the development of sambo.

An important achievement of Kharlampiev was the systematization of the techniques of this type of struggle and the development of its teaching methodology. The book Sambo Wrestling, published in 1949 by the state edition of Physical Education and Sport, became the bible of the new martial art. It explained what sambo was, described fighting techniques, methods of physical training, the rules of combat. In the following years, Kharlampiev and his students published a number of books on various aspects of the struggle, but this is still the main textbook for the adherents of this type of martial arts.

Popularity of sports sambo was largely promoted by a government decree that prescribed the creation of sections of this martial art in all republics of the USSR, the teaching of self-defense and the holding of tournaments at all levels. The state morally and financially supported the development and popularization of this sport. The same is happening in today's Russia.

sambo photo

History of combat options

Before perestroika, and then the collapse of the Soviet Union, this type of sambo was exclusively dealt with by the special services, the police and the army. This knowledge was considered forbidden for ordinary citizens and protected as a “secret weapon” against the enemies of socialism. NKVD officer Viktor Spiridonov, who began studying the Japanese jiu-jitsu fight before the 1917 revolution, stood at the origins of the combat version of sambo. He was also considered an outstanding expert in English boxing and French savat.

Sambo is an open-type art, it readily accepts in its arsenal methods and techniques from various martial arts cultivated in the world. This is a struggle that is constantly and dynamically developing. That is why it progresses not only on the basis of its own achievements, but also thanks to other martial arts.

Organization history

In 1939, the first championship of the Soviet Union was held in Leningrad. And in 1940, after the start of the Second World War, another sambo championship took place in Moscow. From 1941 to 1946 there were no competitions. In 1946, the First Soviet Section was created in Moscow, which in 1959 was renamed the USSR Sambo Federation. The organization prepared coaches, published literature, developed the rules and principles of sports competitions, organized the championships of the Soviet Union.

sambo federation

Attempts to reach the international level began in the 1950s. In 1957, the official match of the USSR sambo wrestlers with Hungarian judo fighters took place in Moscow. In 1966, the International Federation of United Styles (FILA) granted Sambo the status of an international sport and created the appropriate section. A year later, in Riga (Latvia), the first international fights were held with the participation of representatives of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Mongolia, the USSR and Japan. In these and other international tournaments, Soviet athletes were the most successful.

In 1984, the sambists left FILA and formed the International Amateur Sambo Federation (FIAS). In 1991, the European Federation was established in Turin (Italy). What is Sambo, with the exception of the republics of the former Soviet Union, did not know anywhere.The situation changed with the emergence in Western Europe, North America, Australia and Israel in the late 1990s a large group of Russian emigrants. Soviet sambo wrestlers began to create clubs there and popularize various types of sambo.

Today, the struggle is experiencing a rebirth in Russia, where in 2003 it was officially recognized as a national sport. Russian President Vladimir Putin himself is a master of sport in sambo since 1973 and the owner of a black belt in judo.

This is a complex system, which for practical reasons is divided into 2 main types.

sports sambo

What is sambo: sports version

Self-defense without weapons has in its arsenal a large set of throws, grabs, hooks, holds and tricks for arms and legs. The latter are not allowed in judo, in contrast to chokes, which are not allowed in sports sambo. Most of the methods are similar to those used in judo, but there are techniques borrowed by the founders and their successors from other types of wrestling. This is the advantage of Sambo: it is a constantly evolving single combat, open to new techniques and solutions. Sambo players develop their own methods and learn the rest of the martial arts of the world, pragmatically borrowing their technique and tactics into their arsenal.

Sports wear

Sambo uses special clothing (usually blue or red). The jacket has additional elements - “wings” on the shoulders and reinforced openings for the belt. In Sambo (the photo of the form samples is placed in the article) it is shorter than the kimono in judo. The length of the jacket below the belt can not exceed 15 cm. The kit also includes pants and soft sambovki or wrestling.

sambo training

Fundamental rules

The fight is held on a mat, identical to the wrestling one, with a round field in which the fight takes place. In judo wrestling is conducted on a rectangular and more solid tatami. The duration of the fight depends on age and gender and ranges from 3 to 5 minutes.

Players try to knock down the opponent on the carpet (on the floor), using throws and other tricks. For this, a certain number of points is awarded. The player wins if, during the time allotted for the fight, he gets more points, forces the opponent to surrender by holding a painful hold (lever, knot, pinching muscles and joints on his arms and legs) or wins ahead of time, gaining 8 points more. You can also end the fight with a clear victory, leaving the opponent on his back, while remaining on his feet. Holding the opponent for 10 seconds is awarded 2 points, and within 20 seconds - 4. A throw on the back with a fall of the attacker is estimated at 4 points; on the side - in 2; on the chest, pelvis, shoulder, abdomen - in 1.For performance of receptions without falling points double.

The rules provide for the division of athletes participating in competitions into 7 age groups, as well as into 12 weight categories.

Combat Sambo

Battle option

Kharlampiev called this kind of struggle an invisible weapon that is always with you. It was released from the monopoly of the special services and the army in the 90s. last century, during the Gorbachev perestroika. In 1994, the first Russian combat sambo championship took place in Moscow. Unlike sports, in addition to throws, holdings, bringing the enemy out of balance, levers, knots, etc., strikes are used here, the purpose of which is to quickly and effectively eliminate an aggressive opponent. In applied combat, the techniques used to combat the unarmed and armed (with a knife, pistol, stick, etc.) are used by the opponent.

The study of combat sambo occurs in 4 main areas: military, police, domestic and sports. It uses all the techniques of the sports version, as well as punches and kicks (including knees and elbows), both in the rack and on the ground, and strangulation. Combat Sambo is a part of mixed martial arts (MMA).Sambo wrestlers often participate in international MMA, K1, Pride competitions, etc. One of the most famous professional MMA fighters is Fedor Emelianenko.

In addition to the standard form (jacket, shorts, shoes), sambo wrestlers use boxing helmets, short open-fingered gloves and lining on the shins, cap, bandage.

The goal of the competition is to score more points using various grabs, strikes, etc. You can also beat your opponent by knocking him out or forcing him to surrender due to the inability to continue the fight.

sambo wrestling

Prohibited tricks

In combat sambo, the range of technically applicable methods is very wide, but there are also limitations. Not allowed:

  • bite and scratch;
  • click on the eyes and beat them;
  • use grips that cause pain in the spine and cervical vertebrae;
  • grab the nose, ears, genitals of the enemy;
  • beat with a fist or elbow in the region of the cervical vertebrae and in the back of the head;
  • grab the fingers and toes of the opponent;
  • beat the lying opponent with his feet, standing above him;
  • grab the hair;
  • beat lying opponent in the head;
  • put your fingers into your opponent's mouth;
  • use in battle dangerous and interfering with the normal course of combat objects.

For the first prohibited action that did not cause injury to the enemy, the player receives a comment.In the event of a repeated violation, the participant is disqualified.


Sambo wrestling is very popular in the Russian Federation and many republics of the former Soviet Union. In 2003, sambo was declared a national sport in Russia, and at this time there is a struggle to be recognized as Olympic. For many years in such countries as Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Greece, France, Mongolia and Japan, there were national clubs and federations. And thanks to immigrants born in the former USSR, Sambo develops in North America, Western Europe and Australia.

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