Sambo returns to The World Games family

Sambo returns to The World Games family

The World Games family welcomed two new members at its recent Annual General Meeting: Sambo and Wushu. Altogether there are now 39 international sports federations that are members of the International World Games Association.

What does the new member Sambo bring to the family? A sport where many can recognise other familiar martial arts, but in a new costume!

Sambo is a universal martial art based on national types of wrestling along with various self-defence systems. It is an unrivalled mixture of world martial arts that blends together the most effective techniques and tactics from judo, jujitsu, sumo, freestyle wrestling, chidaoba, kurash, Greco-Roman wrestling, fist fighting, boxing and other types of martial arts, as well as elements of fencing, bayonet, and hand-to-hand combat. Sambo was invented by Vasili Oshchepkov, who was a Karate and Judo trainer for Russia’s elite Red Army, and Victor Spiridonov, who had an extensive training in Greco-Roman and other styles of wrestling. Although both were working independently, eventually their styles were combined and thus Sambo was created. The name ‘Sambo’ derives from the Russian acronym SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya, which literally means "self-defence without weapons".

The International Sambo Federation has 94 member federations, and Sambo is practised in 120 countries. It was in the official programme at The World Games 1985 in London (GBR) and The World Games 1993 in The Hague (Netherlands). Sambo is a part of the official programme of the GAISF World Combat Games, FISU World Sambo Championships and Summer World University Games, the OCA Asian Games, and the EOC European Games.

There are three competitive Sambo disciplines: Sport Sambo, Beach Sambo and Combat Sambo.

Sports Sambo is stylistically similar to Freestyle Wrestling or Judo, but has some differences in rules and uniform. Sambo focuses on throwing, ground work and submissions, with (compared to Judo) very few restrictions on gripping and holds. A Sambo practitioner normally wears either a red or a blue jacket, a belt and shorts of the same colour.

Combat Sambo resembles modern mixed martial arts, including extensive forms of striking and grappling, and is for men only. Punches, kicks, elbows, knees, headbutts and groin strikes are all allowed in Combat Sambo. Competitors wear jackets as in Sports Sambo, but also hand protection and sometimes shin and head guards.

Beach Sambo differs slightly from the traditional form of the sport. The rules are modified in that the combat lasts for three minutes, is without penalties and mat wrestling, and continues until the first assessed movement.

 The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in The World Games.