Kennedy's Martial Arts Academy
What is CAMбO / Sambo / Sombo?

Sambo (Russian: самбо) -- is a modern martial art, combat sport and self-defense system developed in the former Soviet Union, and recognized as an official sport by the USSR All-Union Sports Committee in 1938, presented by Anatoly Kharlampiev.

The word самбо (Sambo) is an acronym of САМозащита Без Оружия (SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya) meaning "self-defense without a weapon" in Russian. Sambo has its roots in traditional folk styles of wrestling such as Armenian Koch, Georgian Chidaoba, Moldovan Trîntǎ, Uzbek Kurash, and Mongolian Khapsagay.

According to the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), Sambo is one of the four main forms of amateur competitive wrestling practiced internationally today, the other three being Greco-Roman wrestling, Freestyle wrestling and Judo. FILA accepted Sambo as the 3rd style of international wrestling in 1968 until it formed its own organization Federation International Amateur Sambo (FIAS) in 1985. In 1993, FIAS split into two organizations. Both organizations used the same name and logo. In 2005, FILA reached an agreement with one of the two organizations to reassume control over the sport. The other organization claims that the two organizations were reunified in 2006. At present FILA sanctions international competition in the style as does FIAS. Both organizations conduct separate world championships and other international events.

There is no single, universally recognized founder of Sambo. However, Anatoly Kharlampiev is often officially recognized as the founder. Two other primary authors of Sambo were Vasili Oshchepkov (who was shot in a gulag during the political purges of 1933 for refusing to deny his education in Japanese Judo as the first European black belt awarded by Judo founder, Jigoro Kano), and Viktor Spiridonov, who originally developed Sambo as a soft, aikido-like system since he was maimed in his left shoulder from a bayonet wound in the Russo-Japanese war.

In the United States many people utilize two different spellings to pronounce the Russian word самбо. In the 1980s many people utilized the word Sombo, and in the later years people started to utilize Sambo. All three words самбо / Sambo / Sombo refer to the same Russian martial art.

Although it was originally a single system, there are now three generally recognized versions of Sambo:

  • Sport Sambo (Borba Sambo) is stylistically similar to amateur wrestling or Judo. The competition is similar to Judo, but with some differences in rules, protocol, and uniform. For example, in contrast with Judo, Sambo allows all types of leg locks, while not allowing chokeholds.
  • Combat Sambo (Russian: Боевое Самбо, Boyevoye Sambo). Utilized and developed for the military, this is arguably the root of Sambo as it is now known, and includes practice with weapons and disarming techniques. Competition in combat sambo resembles older forms of judo and modern mixed martial arts, including extensive forms of striking and grappling.
  • Special Sambo - developed for Army Special Forces and Rapid Reaction Police (Militsija) teams and other law enforcement formations. The "Special Sambo" version differ from team to team due to different tasks and aims, however the base of any special system developed in that field is of course Sambo.

At Kennedy's Martial Arts Academy we teach both Sport Sambo and Freestyle Sambo. Freestyle Sambo is a hybrid of Sport Sambo. Essentially it is a mix of throwing, takedowns, grappling and submissions along with the addition of strangulations and chokes. The instructors at Kennedy's Martial Arts Academy have been working closely with the American Sambo Association and Coach Gregg Humphreys of Pat Miletich's Fighting Systems to bring Sambo to Illinois. Kennedy's Martial Arts academy is a proud member of the American Sambo Association.

Please click the link to view the schedule for CAMбO / Sambo / Sombo.