Grappling Systems

Russian Sambo

Sambo is a Russian martial art and combat sport. The word “SAMBO” is an acronym for SAMooborona Bez Oruzhiya, which literally translates as “self-defense without weapons”. Sambo is relatively modern since its development began in the early 1920s by the Soviet Red Army to improve their hand to hand combat abilities. Intended to be a merger of the most effective techniques of other martial arts, Sambo has roots in Japanese judo plus traditional folk styles of wrestling

 Developed by a two Russians named Vasili Oschepkov and Victor Spiridonov.  They independently combined many aspects of traditional Russian martial arts including boxing and caucasian styles of folk wresting.  They also drew upon fighting methods from other cultures such as Muy Thai (Thailand), Judo (Japan) and Savate (France).  All of this knowledge was combined to give them the best chance at winning a fight.

Sambo fighters primarily depend on grappling as opposed to striking because it is considered more effective.  This agrees with the findings of mixed martial artists in modern ultimate fighting matches.  When the leagues were developing they found that grapplers had an advantage over strikers in the matches.  Of course, a mixture of the two types of fighting is the best but grapplers will tend to beat boxers.


There are three FIAS recognized competitive sport variations of Sambo (though Sambo techniques and principles can be applied to many other combat sports).

Sport Sambo

Russian: Sambo, Sambo Wrestling is stylistically similar to Olympic Freestyle Wrestling or Judo, but with some differences in rules, protocol, and uniform. For example, in contrast with judo, Sambo allows some types of leg locks, while not allowing chokeholds. It focuses on throwing, ground work and submissions, with (compared to Judo) very few restrictions on gripping and holds.

Combat Sambo

Utilized and developed for the military, Combat Sambo resembles modern mixed martial arts, including extensive forms of striking and grappling where choking and bent joint locks are legal. Competitors wear jackets as in sport sambo, but also hand protection and sometimes shin and head protection..

Freestyle Sambo – uniquely American set of competitive Sambo rules created by the American Sambo Association (ASA) in 2004.

 These rules differ from traditional Sport Sambo in that they allow choke holds and other submissions from Combat Sambo that are not permitted in Sport Sambo as well as certain neck cranks and twisting leg locks. Freestyle Sambo, like all Sambo, focuses on throwing skills and fast ground work. No strikes are permitted in Freestyle Sambo.

 Japanese Shoot fighting

is a combat sport and martial art, with competitions governed by the International Shootfighting Association (ISFA). Shootfighting incorporates techniques from a multitude of traditional martial arts, the most principle of these being Muay Thai and Catch Wrestling.

Shootfighting was previously used synonymously with mixed martial arts competitions in Japan,

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