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Sambo is an acronym for “Samooborona Bez Oruzhia" which means “Self Defense Without Weapons”. This system is a compilation of techniques from many martial art styles, including techniques from Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. 

At first it was named “Free style wrestling.” Later it was called “Free wrestling,” and in 1946 was renamed Sambo. The rules allow throws and locks. These locks are generally applied to arm and leg joints while the wresters are grappling on mats. Victory is awarded for a clear throw to the back, by the submission of the opponent to a lock, or by points. Sambo practitioner normally wears either a red or a blue competition outfit called kurtka (куртка) or sambovka (самбовка).

Quick Facts

  • The International Federation of Amateur Wrestling recognised Sambo as an international wrestling sport in 1966
  • The first World SAMBO Championship was held in Tehran in 1973
  • During World War II, the system was widely used by the Soviet Army.

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