News & Events
World Body
State Affiliates
Executive Committee
Competition Rules
Competition Results
Financial Statements
Ranking System
Ranks & Titles
Anti Doping
Photos/ Videos
Official Gear
Contact Us


SAMBO (Russian:самбо;САМозащитаБезОружия), also referred to as SOMBO, is an acronym for SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya which in Russian means "self defense without weapons". Over the centuries, the inhabitants of what is now known as Russia had ample opportunity to evaluate the martial skills of various invaders: from the Vikings in the West and from the Tatars and Genghis Khan's Golden Horde from Mongolia in the East. The regional, native combat systems included in SAMBO's genesis are Russian fist fighting, plus traditional folk styles of wrestling such as Tuvan Khuresh, Yakuts Khapsagai, Chuvash akatuy, Georgian Chidaoba, Romanian Trinta, Armenian Kokh, Tatar Köräş and Uzbek Kurash.

SAMBO is a martial art and combat sport. It is considered as relatively modern since its development began in 1923 by the Soviet Army to improve their hand to hand combat systems.

Intended to be a merger of the most effective techniques of other martial arts, SAMBO was in part born of native Russian and other regional styles of grappling and combative wrestling, bolstered with the most useful and adaptable concepts and techniques from the rest of the world. The foreign influences included various styles of Europeanwrestling, catch wrestling, Japanese Judo and Jujitsu and Karate, French savate, Indian Kalaripayat muay thai and other martial arts of the day plus the classical Olympic sports of amateur boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling. SAMBO even derived lunging and parrying techniques from the Italian school of swordsmanship.

In 1918, Lenin created Vsevobuch (General Military Training) under the leadership of N.I. Podvoyskiy to train the Red Army. The task of developing and organizing Russian military hand-to-hand combat training fell to K. Voroshilov, who in turn, created the NKVD physical training center Dynamo.

The pioneers of SAMBO were Viktor Spiridonov and Vasili Oshchepkov. These founders  deliberately sifted through all of the world's martial arts available to them to augment the Soviet military's hand-to-hand combat system. The two men independently developed two different styles, which eventually cross-pollinated and became what is known as SAMBO.
In 1923, Oschepkov and Spiridinov collaborated (independently) with a team of other experts on a grant from the Soviet government to improve the Red Army's hand-to-hand combat system.

Vasili Oschepkov, taught judo and karate to the elite Red Army forces at the Central Red Army House. He was one of the first foreigners to learn Judo in Japan and had earned his nidan (second degree black belt, out of then five) from judo's founder, Kano Jigoro. Oschepkov used some of Kano's philosophy to formulate the early development of the new Soviet Martial Art. Oschepkov had observed Kano's distillation of Tenjin Shin’yo Ryu jujutsu and Kito Ryu jujutsu into Judo, and he had developed the insight required to evaluate and integrate combative techniques into a new system.
Viktor Spiridonov was a combat veteran of World War 1 and one of the first wrestling and self-defense instructors hired for Dynamo. His background included Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, many Slavic wrestling styles, and Japanese jujutsu. As a combative style investigator for Dynamo, he traveled to India , Mongolia and China to observe their native fighting styles.
Spiridonov and team

Compared to Oshchepkov's judo based system, then called "Freestyle Wrestling", Viktor Spiridonov's style was softer and less strength dependent. Spiridonov's background involved indigenous martial arts from various Soviet regions as well as an interest in Japanese JuJitsu (though he never formally trained it).

Spiridonov had envisioned integrating the most practical aspects of the world's fighting systems into one comprehensive style that could adapt to any threat. He eventually developed a softer, more aikido-like system called Samoz that could be used by smaller, weaker practitioners or even wounded soldiers and secret agents. Spiridonov's inspiration to develop 'Samoz' stemmed from his WWI bayonet injury, which greatly restricted his (left arm and thus his) ability to practice SAMBO or wrestle.

Both Oschepkov and Spiridonov independently hoped that Soviet military hand-to-hand combat techniques could be improved with an infusion of the techniques distilled from other foreign martial arts. Contrary to common lore, Oschepkov and Spiridonov did not cooperate on the development of their hand-to-hand systems. Rather, their independent notions of hand-to-hand combat merged through cross-training between students and formulative efforts by their students and military staff. While Oschepkov and Spiridonov did have occasion to collaborate, their efforts were not completely united.

Each technique was carefully dissected and considered for its merits, and if found acceptable in unarmed combat, refined to reach SAMBO's ultimate goal: to stop an armed or unarmed adversary in the least time possible. Thus, the best techniques of jujutsu, judo, ond other martial systems entered the SAMBO repertoire. When the techniques were perfected, they were woven into SAMBO applications for personal self-defense, police, crowd control,border guards, secret police, VIP dignitary protection, psychiatric hospital staff military, and commandos.

Oschepkov and Spiridonov’s developments were supplemented by Anatoly Kharlampiev and I. V. Vasiliev who also traveled the globe to study the native fighting arts of the world. Ten years in the making, their catalogue of techniques was instrumental in formulating the early framework of the art to be eventually referred to as SAMBO.

Anatoly Kharlampiev, was a student of Victor Spiridonov, and  is often officially considered as the founder father of Sport SAMBO. This may be largely semantics, since only he had the longevity and political connections to remain with the art while the new system was named "SAMBO".

However, Kharlampiev is single-handedly responsible for politically maneuvering the USSR All-Union Sports Committee. to formally accept SAMBO as the official combat sport of the Soviet Union in 1938. This was decidedly the "birth" of SAMBO. And as such , Anatoly Kharlampiev could be rightly considered the father of "sport" SAMBO.

During the decade 1950 to 1960,  SAMBO developed and grew exponentially across the USSR and Soviet Bloc to become an International sport. National SAMBO Federations were established in Japan, Bulgaria and Mongolia and then spread to other nations of the world.

Primarily due to the world wide growth and massive popularity of SAMBO as a martial port, The Federation Internationale des Luttes Associees FILA, [International Federation of Wrestling Associations] recognized by the IOC and by GAISF, granted recognition to SAMBO , under the FILA umbrella as the THIRD style of International Wrestling. The first International SAMBO Championship was conducted 1967 at Riga, Latvia and in 1973 the first World SAMBO Championship as held at Tehran, Iran. In 1981 , Spain hosted the first Womens World SAMBO Championship in Madrid.
On the 25-th of May, 1984, at the Congress in Jonkoping , Sweden, FILA resolved to grant full recognition of SAMBO as an independent sport , separate from wrestling and sanctioned the foundation of a new separate international federation for development of SAMBO.
On the 13th June 1984 , the Constitutive General Assembly for SAMBO was held in Madrid ,Spain , wherein representatives of 56 countries signed the “FIAS Constitution Act” to establish an independent international SAMBO federation named the Federation Internationale Amateur de SAMBO (FIAS).

In 1985 FIAS joined GAISF (General Association of International Federations) and is now a full member of GAISF.

SAMBO under FIAS featured as an integral event of the World GAMES [IWGA} I n 1985 at London, United Kingdom and in 1993 Hague , Netherlands and in in 1998 SAMBO was included into the program of the World Youth Games held in Moscow.

There are TWO FIAS recognized competitive sport variations of SAMBO (though SAMBO techniques and principles can be applied to many other combat sports

Sport SAMBO (Russian: Борьбa Самбо,Bor'ba SAMBOSAMBO Wrestling (eng)) is stylistically similar to BJJ or judo. The competition is similar to Olympic Free Syle or Judo ( as it is all kind of GI wrestleing), 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 and focuses on throwing, ground work and submissions, no time and leg holds restriction.
Combat SAMBO (Russian: Боевое Самбо, Boyevoye SAMBO). Utilized and developed for the military, Combat SAMBO resembles modern mixed martial arts, including extensive forms of striking and grappling where (unlike Sport SAMBO) choking is legal. Competitors wear jackets as in sport SAMBO, but also hand protection and sometimes shin and head protection. The first FIAS World SAMBO Championships were held in 2001.
World Combat SAMBO Championships are  being held from 2002 onward.

In 1993, FIAS split into two organizations, both used the same name and logo and the two groups were often referred to as FIAS "East" (under Russian control) and FIAS "West" (under US and Western European control). This split mirrored the last days of Cold War politics of the time as well as the recent break-up of the Soviet Union.

In 2003 SAMBO was officially recognized as priority national sport of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan; SAMBO tournaments under the auspice of the Presidents of these respective Nations are being held annually

In 2005, FILA reached an agreement with FIAS "West" and re-assumed sanctioning over sport SAMBO and in 2005 at the XVI FIAS Congress, His Excellency Vladimir Putin the President of Russian Federation, who is an acclaimed SAMBO master, was UNANIMOUSLY elected as Honorary President of FIAS. Subsequently the various factions in FIAS regrouped and unified and the world wide promotion of SAMBO grew at an unprecedented pace.

In October 2006 at Moscow , a SAMBO presentation program was delivered to the President of International Olympic Committee [ IOC] Mr. Jacques Rogge and he was greatly impressed by the dynamism and mass appeal of this martial art and expressed his appreciation of SAMBO as an international sport.
In 2008, FIAS moved out of the umbrella FILA completely and commenced activities as a true dependent International Martial Art Combat Sports Federation , fully recognized by SportAccord [ formerly known as GAISF] , WADA and TAFISA
Mr.Vasiliy Shestakov , Member of Duma of the Russian Federation , is the current President of FIAS and Mr.Andrey Kliamko First Vice President.  Mr. Roberto Ferraris is the Secretary General.

FIAS has in 2013 secured recognition for SAMBO from the International University Sports Federation [FISU]

In 2014 SAMBO was recognized by the Olympic Council of Asia and will be featured in the Asian Beach Games, Asian Indoor Games & Youth Games.

Today FIAS has over 100 active National SAMBO affiliates across the world and has established Continental SAMBO federations in Europe, Asia, Africa and Pan-America and Oceania .


Copyright © 2020, All rights reserved to Sambo India Association [SIA].
Site Designed & Developed by Websmartindia