Sambo (acronym for SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya, which literally translates as "self-defense without weapons") is a Russian martial art and combat sport, developed in the early 1920s by the Soviet Red Army to improve their hand-to-hand combat abilities.


Intended to be a merger of the most effective techniques of other martial arts, Sambo has roots in Judo and various international styles of wrestling systems. 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, many techniques from Judo, Jujutsu, Greco-Roman Wrestling, Freestyle Wrestling, and other martial systems joined with the indigenous fighting styles to form the Sambo repertoire.

While competitive Sport Sambo (Борьбa Самбо, Bor'ba Sambo) is stylistically similar to Olympic Freestyle Wrestling or Judo, albeit 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), a variation called Commando Sambo (Боевое Самбо, Boyevoye Sambo) is utilized and developed for the military, and resembles modern Mixed Martial Arts, including extensive forms of striking and grappling and allowing punches, kicks, elbows, knees, headbutts and groin strikes.




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