Wednesday, September 30, 2015




Sambo and Judo may look similar which they are, Sambo’s origins came from Judo. In fact at the 2014 World Sambo Championships the Japanese felt that Sambo was coming home. Yet the thing that separated the two in the beginning was the Philosophy.

Kano saw  “Judo is more than just a sport or Martial Art, it is a means of Physical and Cultural Attainment” in other words “it is a way of producing better human beings” While Oschepkov one of the founders of Sambo and student of Kano envisaged this style of grappling as a way to train Soviet Troops to fight. He and others wanted a system that could keep the troops fighting fit without inflicting serious injury on themselves

So everything was revolved around a battlefield hand-to-hand combat scenario. So even when they invented a sporting element i.e. competition the emphasis was still on the battlefield. That is why you get a Total Victory for throwing someone on their back and remaining standing. In the World Championships in Italy in the 1990’s one of my fighters fought an Italian and made a dummy attack and his opponent literally fell over his own feet, the referee gave a Total. The audience booed him, he looked up pointed his finger at the man on the ground and went bang bang. He was saying in a Battlefield situation he would be dead. Now some have said why no strangles in Sport Sambo once again you go back to the Battlefield where a broken arm or leg does not kill a person but takes him out of the battle and most probably takes a comrade out because he will need medical attention. When I first started Sambo in the 1970’s hold downs were not allowed once again in Battle you did not have the time to roll around the ground, the same goes for strangles.

Now whether this all-true or just some old soldiers giving me a yarn I do not know but it does make sense. Now a days Sport Sambo is what it says it is a dynamic sport and the recently introduced Combat Sambo is an extra arm of Sambo to take in account the modern phenomenon of Strike and Grapple

Martin Clarke
FIAS Grandmaster

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