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Sambo - A Russian Martial Arts Style

Sambo is a Russian combat sport, and also a self defense system that developed in the Soviet Union. The word “Sambo” is an acronym for “Self-Defense without Weapons”. Sambo is a combination of various techniques of Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido, boxing and wrestling. This form of martial arts brings about an effective and practical system. Sambo practitioners take part in various cross-discipline competitions.

Some of the major pioneers of Sambo include Viktor Spiridonov and VasiliOshchepkov. Spiridonov and Oshchepkov independently brought about two distinct styles, which eventually cross-pollinated and became what is called as sambo. If we compare the two styles brought about by these two, it can be inferred that Spiridonov's style was softer and less brutal. It also does not involve a lot of strength. The sport of Sambo is played in various variations. FIAS has recognised the following as the main formats: (i) Sport Sambo- This kind of Sambo is very similar to the traditional Catch wrestling and Judo. There are only slight changes in rules and protocol. (ii) Combat Sambo- This variant of Sambo was majorly developed for military purposes. It is closely similar to modern mixed martial arts, and includes extensive forms of striking and grappling. It includes punches, kicks, elbows, knees, headbutts and groin strikes as well. In 1968, Sambo got recognised as the third style of international wrestling. Later in 1985, the sambo community formed its own organization. In 1993, FIAS broke into two separate organizations. Each of them used the same name and logo and the two groups were known as FIAS "East" (under Russian control) and FIAS "West" (under US and Western European control).


By: Anuja Arora


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