Sambo Vs Judo With Expert Views

Did you know Russian President Vladimir Putin is a Judo black belt holder and won the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Sambo championships in 1973? 

What Are the Differences Between Sambo and Judo?

The main differences between Sambo and Judo are

  • Modern Judo police have disallowed both leg takedowns and leg attacks in official Judo competitions, while leg takedowns and attacks are common in Sambo competitions. 
  • Judo allows choking your opponent while Sambo disallow any form of choking 
  • Sambo was created in USSR while Judo was created in Japan
  • Sambo was created in the 1920s and Judo was created in 1882
  • Sambo has no spiritual aspect while Judo has some aspects on mental ancient techniques of Jiu-Jitsu
  • Sambo was created for military training for self-defense without weapons while Judo was not for military purpose

We also gather some opinions of people who practiced both Sambo and Judo

  • Putin said he would have been a different person without combat sports in his life, thanking his coach for fending off his parents’ attempts to put an end to his training.

“At some point, my parents started objecting to my active engagement in sports. They thought it was distracting me from school,” Putin said in a new Channel One documentary about his judo and Sambo coach, Anatoly Rakhlin.

They were especially skeptical about Sambo (self-defense without weapons), a martial art specially developed for Soviet armed forces, saying: “Well, it’s almost like brawling. You don’t need to do this.”

  • Vadim Kolganov who is a Judo and Sambo coach, also said:

Judo is great, I really do like it, but there are a lot of restrictions, especially nowadays. If you change the grip from the classic sleeve and lapel grip, they complain, ‘that's not Judo, that's wrestling,' but Judo was wrestling the last time I checked! It seems like Judo practitioners want to keep Judo pure, but along the way they lost the point a little bit.

With Judo practitioners now, their stand up throws are great, but the ground work is awful. My students went into training with some Judo guys and a guy with a black belt said to one of my students, ‘Hey, Sambo guy, watch out for our chokes!' My student, who is a novice, choked him out in about 20 seconds.

Vincent Mancuso, who had success in judo in his 20s stopped competing when the international judo federation placed a ban on certain techniques, many of which were specialties of mine.

"I won New Jersey state championships, East Coast championships, and made it to a bronze medal match in Senior Nationals back in 2008. I prefer sambo since the rules stay consistent and are the most fair in my opinion of all the grappling sports. It’s set up so the best man wins and not so much on the opinion of a referee. It’s very cut and dried."

Is Sambo Similar to Judo

Therefore, knowing that many people cross-train in Judo and Sambo, they are very similar. Both Sambo and Judo had similarities such as 

  • Sambo and Judo uses submissions
  • They allow wins based on pinning and/or throwing techniques
  • Classical/old-school Judo and Sambo allow leg takedowns and leg attacks
  • One of the two founders of Sambo, Vasili Oshchepkov, had a Judo Black Belt learning from the founder of Judo.

Is Sambo Effective In A Street Fight

Like many grappling techniques, Sambo is not effective in a street fight because you faced multiple people. Grappling like judo and sambo are more suitable for 1vs1 where you got time to subdue and take down the person. 

While Sambo was meant for self-defense without a weapon for USSR after WWI, the wrestling techniques are more suited for MMA fights where no one carries a weapon.  

Is Combat Sambo MMA

Combat Sambo is similar to modern MMA except for allowing groin strikes, competitors wearing jackets, and having the option to wear shin and head protection similar to amateur kickboxing

Nevertheless, Combat Sambo is not MMA and just another martial art useful in MMA. Khabib Nurmagomedov who was a 2-times Sambo champion also had success in MMA remaining as one of the few fighters that were undefeated in UFC.

Sky Hoon. About
Martial Art Fan
He started his love on martial arts by watching MMA and Angela Lee. He then started this blog to learn more about the different martial arts.
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