Sambo in New Zealand

SAMBO, type of sport wrestling, permitting the application of painful holds; also a means of self-defense in a fight against a stronger or armed enemy. (Composed of an abbreviated form of the word SAM-B-O are SAM [SAMozashchita (Rus) – self-defense (Eng)] , B [Bez (Rus) – with out (Eng)] and O [Oruzhiya (Rus)- weapons (Eng) ].  – From "The Dictionary of the Russian Language"

In 2005 a group of professionals with the highest world recognized qualification in combat founded New Zealand National Sambo Federation. The main purpose of that action was to create an uncorrupted sport body with a scientific approach learning system which gives to participants excellence in sport and self-defense with progressive and optimum evolution. 

New Zealand Sambo Federation is supported by FIAS – International Sambo Federation –  and looking to take part at future Sambo World Championships with male and female groups.

New Zealand Sambo has a very simple structure. First of all it is a non-profit body and also free of membership charges. Anybody (club or individual) can be come a member by sending free format application and get benefit from Sambo participation. Best wrestler of each weight category has the chance to participate at the current World Championship. We are choosing the “local area participation” system. It means any group, club or individual represents area (location, suburb) they belong to. If you like to develop or run Sambo in your area feel free to contact us. Sambo is free of grading. It has the belts – as Judo or Jujitsu, but color means nothing. Performance valuation comes from real action, National and World ranking.

What is the benefit of joining Sambo?

  • Get the opportunity to learn a progressive unique combat system, only combat from Russia (USSR) which gets international sport status about 40 years ago.
  • NZ Sambo Federation will provide free high quality expertise such as coaching courses, clinics, seminars. 
  • International assistance (top coaches from overseas in your club) and participation at training camps, educational clinics and competitions including World Championship. 

So what is Sambo actually is?

Fragment from book “Anatomy of Combat”, by Demitri Korzh.

…. SAMBO was developed in the 1920-30's in USSR as hands to hands combat system . Official recognition of new style was in 1938. At first it was named "free-style wrestling", then "free wrestling," and in 1946 was renamed "SAMBO." This system is selection of techniques from traditional (national) wrestling style of USSR area natives (Georgians (chido-oba), Azerbadzhanianse(gu-resh) Armenians, Mongols, Russians etc.), Japanese (Jujitsu), Korean (Ssirum), Chinese,  French wrestling and other combats.

Basically SAMBO is one of first type of combat which was scientifically researched and developed in modern world. That scientific approach, missing in JUDO,  and make biomechanicaly grounded arsenal sambo/judo  technique of USSR athletes "unorthodox" for "traditional" Judo and Jujitsu specialist until know. 

At the time of the 2nd world war the system was widely "tested" by the Soviet army. "Special" techniques were added at the time, for example fighting in cells, quick-and-quiet sentry killing, and so on. Because of the number of criminals in the Soviet army at that time (during WWII each prisoner was "invited" to the front with each year at the front worth two or more years of their sentence) SAMBO experts acquired many lessons on criminal street fighting, and a number of these techniques were included in SAMBO. SAMBO continues to accept new techniques and modify old ones and free of corrupted eastern martial art tradition – “My sensei tech me and we should respect and accept that with out argument”.

Later, after WWII, Sambo and Greco roman coaches have been send to developing “Free style” Olympic wrestling. And again USSR sport science  shows greatness at Olympic till know. That combat (wrestling) skill was pasted for Cubans and other Social Block country. Result of Olympic and world challenge where dominated by USSR athletes. After collapsing of USSR situation be come even more ridicules. USA and other country whom pleased next after USSR in most combats discipline, now drop down in ranking, because Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Georgian, Armenian, Azerbaijanian, Kazahstanian, Uzbekistanian fighters (wrestlers), get the chance to participate in world and Olympic independently, and usually occupied all top pleases…..

SAMBO Description

Today, SAMBO is built from 3 parts:

The sportive part (armature non Olympic sport which is looking forward to become an Olympic sport) – “Sambo wrestling” and Full contact “Combat Sambo”, the self-defense part, special or combat part for Armed Forces.

The sportive part is similar to Judo but with some differences in allowed techniques. SAMBO allows leg locks were Judo does not, but Judo allows choking but SAMBO does not. There are somewhat more techniques in SAMBO than in Judo. SAMBO is not so traditional as Judo and not so limited and less restricted in performance as Judo (about rules restriction such as 5 seconds hold rule, some Sambo throw and grips are prohibit in judo e.t.c.)

Full contact “Combat Sambo” – as the sport has military roots and looks like MMA, “Pride” or UFC. There is World Championship and we (New Zealand representative) can participate to. So contact us if any body interesting at [email protected]

There are many specific self-defence techniques for defending specific attacks, including escaping from grips and chokes, defenses against punches and kicks, defenses against weapons (knife, stick etc.), and floor-fighting. The self-defense part of SAMBO is based on body movements and locks with a few punches and kicks. The object is to allow defense but not to injure the opponent more than necessary because this part was created for citizens. In the former Soviet Union the law was that if you injure your opponent more than needed in a self-defense situation you could receive a 5 year prison term. Some of the self-defense techniques are based on sportive SAMBO. One coach from our Olympic school in USSR get 2 years sentence from defending himself from 2 hooligans because they was seriously harmed and he as a professional should have handled it in a more safe manner. He will get up to 10 years, but had a 2 year old son with him when fight happen which will be a positive influence at court.

The third part – combat SAMBO – was created for the army and police. It is a very severe, and dangerous system. If the idea of sportive SAMBO is "Take points and win," and the idea of the self-defense part is "Don't allow to attacker injure you," the idea of combat SAMBO is "Survive, and if someone hinders you – injure or kill him." Combat SAMBO includes sportive and self-defense techniques, but uses them in different ways. For example, sportive SAMBO uses the traditional shoulder throw of national style of wrestling. In combative SAMBO the throw accomplished with striking techniques, and weapon using. Head focus for armed forces Sambo education on weaponry preparation then grappling skill. In the Army, Sambo instructors will have the difficulties to win Sambo wrestler. How ever Army and Police have Sambo teams and participating at most touranaments, including World Championship for Armed Forces.

Combat SAMBO includes kicks, punches, "dangerous throwing" (throws that are prohibited to execute in competition because they cause injury), things that are prohibited in sportive wrestling (biting, for example), many "sadistic dirty things," working against weapons (with or without a weapon of your own), tricks like putting your coat on your opponents head (works nicely), floor fighting (very strong), fighting in closed space (small room, pit, stairs), quick-and-quiet sentry killing, and so forth. Students also learn strategy and tactics of fighting alone or in groups against single or multiple opponents. Development of SAMBO has continued and elements of it are incorporated into other modern combat systems.

Basic Sambo Wrestling Rules

Wrestle up to 5 min. To win you need to execute submission on Arm(s) or Leg(s) of opponent or clean throw the opponent on back but winner personally required  to be standing on the feet (no points of your body should touch the mat) – which is hard to execute. If no submission or clean throw for time of bout referee counts the technical points:

4 points

  • throw from “Standing” position with the attacker’s falling down when his opponent falls on back(angle greater than 90 degrees)
  • throw from “Standing” position without the attacker’s falling down when the opponent falls on his side
  • 20 second Pin ("osaekomi" in JUDO)

2 points are awarded:

  • throw from “Standing” with the attacker’s falling down and opponent falls on his side
  • throw from “Standing” with the attacker’s keep standing  and opponent falls on the chest, stomach, buttocks, waist or shoulder
  • take of opponent from the ground (knees or hands as minimum) and throw on the back, without falling down
  • For over 10 second incomplete Pin (osaekomi" in JUDO)
  • For the second warning declared to opponent

 1 point is awarded:

  • throw with falling down from “Standing” position when the opponent falls on his chest, stomach, buttocks, waist or shoulders
  • take of opponent from the ground (knees or hands as minimum) and throw on the back, and attacking wrestler lost balance from his feet.
  • take of opponent from the ground (knees or hands as minimum) and throw on the chest, stomach, buttock, shoulder, and attacking wrestler must keep standing.
  •  For the first warning declared to his opponent

“Activity” (“A”) is awarded:

  • For the throw from “Standing” position without falling down when the opponent falls on his knees (knee)
  • For less then 10 minutes incomplete hold-down evaluated once in a match 

Why we are doing that? What is our interest? I have been living in New Zealand for 4 years and don't believe we can make financial profit from sport or make living of it same as it possible in other countries, but I believe that NZ athletes can successfully compete internationally and truly excel in technical performance which gives benefit for ordinary participants if we create the correct environment.

Article written by Demitri Korzh