Sambo (martial art)
of Amateur Sambo
Sport Sambo Leglock (Knee bar)
|Also known as||Sombo (in English-speaking countries)|
|Country of origin|| Russian SFSR,
|Famous practitioners||Andrei Arlovski, Fedor Emelianenko, Gokor Chivichyan, Blagoi Ivanov, Shamil Zavurov, Aleksander Emelianenko, Vladimir Voronov, Vladimir Putin, Sergei Kharitonov, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Oleg Taktarov, Rasul Mirzaev, Amir Sadollah, Nick Diaz, Rustam Khabilov|
Sambo (Russian: са́мбо; IPA: [ˈsambə]; САМооборона Без Оружия) is a Russian martial art and combat sport. The word "SAMBO" is an acronym for SAMooborona Bez Oruzhiya, which literally translates as "self-defense without weapons". Sambo is relatively modern since its development began 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 Japanese Judo, international styles of wrestling, plus traditional folk styles of wrestling such as: Armenian Kokh, Georgian Chidaoba, Romanian Trîntǎ, Tatar Köräş, Uzbek Kurash, Mongolian Khapsagay and Azerbaijani Gulesh.
The pioneers of Sambo were Viktor Spiridonov and Vasili Oshchepkov. Oshchepkov died in prison as a result of the political purges of 1937 after accusations of being a Japanese spy. Oshchepkov spent much of his life living in Japan and training judo under its founder Kano Jigoro. The two men independently developed two different styles, which eventually cross-pollinated and became what is known as Sambo. Compared to Oshchepkov's judo-based system, then called "Freestyle Wrestling", Spiridonov's style was softer and less strength dependent. This was in large part due to Spiridonov's injuries sustained during World War I.
Anatoly Kharlampiev, a student of Vasili Oshchepkov, is often officially considered the founder of Sport Sambo. In 1938, it was recognized as an official sport by the USSR All-Union Sports Committee.
There are three FIAS recognized competitive sport variations of Sambo (though Sambo techniques and principles can be applied to many other combat sports).
- Sport Sambo (Russian: Борьбa Самбо, Bor'ba Sambo, Sambo Wrestling (eng)) is stylistically similar to Olympic Freestyle Wrestling or Judo, but 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. It focuses on throwing, ground work and submissions, with (compared to Judo) very few restrictions on gripping and holds.
- Combat Sambo (Russian: Боевое Самбо, Boyevoye Sambo). Utilized and developed for the military, Combat Sambo resembles modern mixed martial arts, including extensive forms of striking and grappling where (unlike Sport Sambo) choking and bent joint locks are legal. Competitors wear jackets as in sport sambo, but also hand protection and sometimes shin and head protection. The first FIAS World Combat Sambo Championships were held in 2001.
- Freestyle Sambo – uniquely American set of competitive Sambo rules created by the American Sambo Association (ASA) in 2004. These rules differ from traditional Sport Sambo in that they allow choke holds and other submissions from Combat Sambo that are not permitted in Sport Sambo as well as certain neck cranks and twisting leg locks. Freestyle Sambo, like all Sambo, focuses on throwing skills and fast ground work. No strikes are permitted in Freestyle Sambo. The ASA created this rule set in order to encourage non-Sambo practitioners from judo and jiujitsu to participate in Sambo events.
Uniform and ranking 
A Sambo practitioner normally wears either a red or a blue jacket kurtka (куртка) or sambovka (самбовка) similar to a gi top, a belt and shorts of the same color, and sambetki самбетки(ru) or bortsovki/борцовки(ru) (Sambo/wrestling shoes). The Sambo uniform does not reflect rank or competitive rating. Sport rules require an athlete to have both red and blue sets to visually distinguish competitors on the mat.
In Russia, a competitive rating system is used rather than belt colors like judo and jujitsu to demonstrate rank, though some schools around the world now institute belt colors as well. The rating system is called Unified Sports Classification System of the USSR, with the highest athletic distinction known as the Distinguished Masters of Sport in Sambo.
Examination requirements vary depending on the age group and can vary from country to country. The examination itself includes competitive accomplishment as well as technical demonstration of knowledge. Higher-level exams must be supervised by independent judges from a national Sambo association. For a rating to be recognized, it must be registered with the national Sambo organization.
|Sambo rating rank||Razryad||Equivalent competitive achievement||Eligibilities|
||To be able to apply self-protection. To pass a theory exam and to sign an oath.||Can participate in demonstration sambo or sports sambo competitions (until straightened arm).|
||To gain 1 victory over a Novichok of the 3rd Razryad. To pass the exam.|
||To gain 1 victory over a Novichok of the 1st Razryad or 2 victories over Novichoks of the 2nd Razryad. To pass the exam.|
||To gain 3 victories over Sambists of the 3rd Yunosheskiy Razryad or 5 victories over Novichoks. To pass the exam.||Can participate in demonstration sambo or sports sambo competitions (until submission).|
||To gain 5 victories over Sambists of the 2nd Yunosheskiy Razryad (2 of the victories should be clean) or 10 victories over Sambists 3rd Yunosheskiy Razryad (4 of the victories should be clean). To pass the exam.|
||To gain 5 victories over Sambists of the 1st Yunosheskiy Razryad (2 of the victories should be clean) or 10 victories over Sambists of the 2nd Yunosheskiy Razryad (4 of the victories should be clean). To pass the exam.|
||To gain 6 victories over Sambists of the 1st Yunosheskiy Razryad (2 of the victories should be clean) or 3 victories over Sambists of the 3rd Vzrosliy Razryad. To pass the exam.||Can participate in demo sambo, sports sambo, or freestyle sambo (chokes and crossing legs over the body and over the neck are allowed).|
||To gain 8 victories over Sambists of the 3rd Vzrosliy Razryad (2 of the victories should be clean) or 4 victories over Sambists of the 2nd Vzrosliy Razryad. To pass the exam.|
||To gain 10 victories over Sambists of the 2nd Vzrosliy Razryad (3 of the victories should be clean) or 5 victories over Sambists of the 1st Vzrosliy Razryad. To pass the exam.|
(Candidate for Master)
||To take 1–4 place in a sanctioned competition with at least 5 Sambists of the 1st Vzrosliy Razryad participating, and gain 5 victories over Sambists of the 1st Vzrosliy Razryad (2 of the victories should be clean). To pass the exam.||Can participate in demo sambo, sports sambo, freestyle sambo, and combat sambo (punches and kicks are allowed). Can also coach students of Sambo.|
||To take 1–2 place in a sanctioned competition with at least 8 Sambists of the 1st Vzrosliy Razryad participating, and gain 10 victories over Sambists of the 1st Vzrosliy Razryad (4 of the victories should be clean). To pass the exam.|
||To win 1st place in a sanctioned competition with at least 10 Sambists of the 1st Vzrosliy Razryad participating, and gain 16 victories over Sambists of the 1st Vzrosliy Razryad (6 of the victories should be clean). To pass the exam.|
||To take 1–4 place in a sanctioned competition with at least 12 Sambists participating (3 Kandidat Masters and 6 of 1st Vzrosliy Razryad). To pass the exam.||Can participate in demo sambo, sports sambo, freestyle sambo, and combat sambo (elbow, punches, and knee strikes are allowed). Can hold seminars.|
||To take 1–2 place in a sanctioned competition with at least 12 Sambists participating (6 Kandidat Masters and 6 of 1st Vzrosliy Razryad from 5 different regions). To pass the exam.|
||To win 1st place in a sanctioned competition with at least 12 Sambists of Kandidat Master from 5 different regions participating. To pass the exam.|
||To take 1–4 place in a sanctioned competition with at least 3 Sambists of International Master rank from different countries participating, and take 1–6 place in a national competition. To pass the exam.||Can participate in demo sambo, sports sambo, freestyle sambo, and combat sambo. Can coach, conduct exams, and hold seminars.|
||To take 1–2 place in a sanctioned competition with at least 3 Sambists of International Master rank from different countries participating, and take 1–3 place in a national competition. To pass the exam.|
||To take 1–3 place in the World Sambo Championships.|
||To win 1st place in the World Sambo Championships; or to take 2–3 place in the World Sambo Championship and win 1st place in a continental competition.||Can participate in demo sambo, sports sambo, freestyle sambo, and combat sambo. Can coach, conduct exams, hold seminars, and participate in federation ruling body.|
||Repeated world champion; or world champion and repeated continental champion.|
||Repeated world champion.|
(Distinguished Grand Master - lit. "Teacher")
||To coach 3 Sambists of 3rd Razryad Grand Master, found school (club). To have published works. To promote sambo in own country.||Can coach, participate in federation ruling body, and hold seminars.|
||To coach 3 Sambists of 2nd Razryad Grand Master, found school (club) with at least 500 students. To publish books on sambo. To promote sambo in the continent.|
||To coach 3 Sambists of 1st Razryad Grand Master, found school (club) with at least 1000 students. To promote sambo in the world.|
Origins and influences 
Sambo's early development stemmed from the independent efforts of Vasili Oschepkov and Victor Spiridonov, to integrate the techniques of judo, jujitsu, and other foreign martial arts into native wrestling styles. Oschepkov taught judo and karate to elite Red Army forces at the Central Red Army House. Vasili Oschepkov was one of the first foreigners to learn Judo in Japan and had earned his nidan (second degree black belt, out of then five) from judo's founder, Kano Jigoro. Spiridonov's background involved indigenous martial arts from various Soviet regions as well as an interest in Japanese JuJitsu (though he never formally trained it). His reliance on movement over strength was in part based on the fact that he received a bayonet wound during World War I which left his left arm lame. Both Oschepkov and Spiridonov independently hoped that Soviet military hand-to-hand combat techniques could be improved with an infusion of the techniques distilled from other foreign martial arts. Contrary to common lore, Oschepkov and Spiridonov did not cooperate on the development of their hand-to-hand systems. Rather, their independent notions of hand-to-hand combat merged through cross-training between students and formulative efforts by their students and military staff. While Oschepkov and Spiridonov did have occasion to collaborate, their efforts were not completely united.
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 jujutsu, judo, and other martial systems joined with the indigenous fighting styles to form the Sambo repertoire. When the techniques were perfected, they were woven into Sambo applications for personal self-defense, police, crowd control, border guards, secret police, dignitary protection, psychiatric hospital staff, military, and commandos.
In 1918, Lenin created Vsevobuch (General Military Training) under the leadership of N.I. Podvoyskiy to train the Red Army. The task of developing and organizing Red Army military hand-to-hand combat training fell to K. Voroshilov, who in turn, created the NKVD physical training center Dinamo.
Spiridonov was a combat veteran of World War I and one of the first wrestling and self-defense instructors hired for Dinamo. His background included Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, many Slavic wrestling styles, and Japanese jujutsu. As a combatives investigator for Dinamo, he traveled to Mongolia and China to observe their native fighting styles.
In 1923, Oschepkov and Spiridinov collaborated (independently) with a team of other experts on a grant from the Soviet government to improve the Red Army's hand-to-hand combat system. Spiridonov had envisioned integrating the most practical aspects of the world's fighting systems into one comprehensive style that could adapt to any threat. Oschepkov had observed Kano's distillation of Tenjin Shin’yo Ryu jujutsu and Kito Ryu jujutsu into judo, and he had developed the insight required to evaluate and integrate combative techniques into a new system. Their developments were supplemented by Anatoly Kharlampiev and I. V. Vasiliev who also traveled the globe to study the native fighting arts of the world. Ten years in the making, their catalogue of techniques was instrumental in formulating the early framework of the art to be eventually referred to as Sambo.
Kharlampiev is often called the father of Sambo. This may be largely semantics, since only he had the longevity and political connections to remain with the art while the new system was named "Sambo". However, Kharlampiev's political maneuvering is single-handedly responsible for the USSR Committee of Sport's accepting Sambo as the official combat sport of the Soviet Union in 1938—decidedly the "birth" of Sambo. So, more accurately, Kharlampiev could be considered the father of "sport" Sambo.
Spiridonov was the first to begin referring to the new system as one of the "S" variations cited above. He eventually developed a softer, more aikido-like system called Samoz that could be used by smaller, weaker practitioners or even wounded soldiers and secret agents. Spiridonov's inspiration to develop 'Samoz' stemmed from his World War I bayonet injury, which greatly restricted his (left arm and thus his) ability to practice Sambo or wrestle. Refined versions of Sambo are still used today or fused with specific Sambo applications to meet the needs of Russian commandos today.
As an Olympic Sport 
It is often stated that Sambo was a demonstration sport at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, USSR. Youth Sambo was demonstrated in the Games' opening ceremonies; however, Sambo was not formally recognized as a demonstration sport. This common error in history books is noted in several sources including History of SAMBO by A. Makoveski and Lukashev's History of Hand-to-Hand Combat in the First Half of the 20th Century: Founders and Authors . Furthermore, the official documents of the 1980 Olympic Organizing Committee do not mention Sambo as a participating sport in the Games. As a side note, demonstration sports were suspended after the 1992 Summer Olympics. With the changes in Olympics Judo in for 2013 and the removal of Freestyle Wrestling from the Olympics, there has been a great migration of wrestlers to SAMBO because of its all-encompassing techniques and dynamic yet consistent rules.
In 1968, the FILA accepted Sambo as the third style of international wrestling. In 1985, the Sambo community formed its own organization, Federation International Amateur Sambo (FIAS). In 1993, FIAS split into two organizations, both of which used the same name and logo and the two groups were often referred to as FIAS "East" (under Russian control) and FIAS "West" (under US and Western European control). This split mirrored the last days of Cold War politics of the time as well as the recent break-up of the Soviet Union. In the U.S., disagreements between the sport's organizers and the rise of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the 1990s slowed down the growth of Sambo before the success of several Sambo fighters increased its popularity a decade later. In 2005, FILA reached an agreement with FIAS "West" and re-assumed sanctioning over sport Sambo. However, in 2008, FILA again discontinued sanctioning sambo and sambo is now notably missing from the FILA website. At present, only FIAS sanctions international competition in sport and combat sambo, however these are unrecognised by FILA. Rumours rising in 2012 stating that Sambo will be included as a demonstration sport in the 2016 Olympics are therefore not supported by any facts, and thus Sambo is still a very long way from maturing into an Olympic sport, notwithstanding the effort that is being put into the matter. Indeed, given the intention of the Olympic Committee to remove classic wrestling from the Olympic roster, there are rumors that Sambo is highly unlikely to ever make it to the Olympics. However, Sambo has been included in the 27th Annual Summer Universiade for the first time in history. FIAS submitted an application to the International Olympic Committee IOC to consider Sambo for the 2020 Games and has devoted 2010-2013 to creating a SAMBO Commission in the International Sports Press Association AIPS.  This close relationship is reestablishing the global popularity and media emphasis on SAMBO.
World Sambo Championships 
|No.||Year||Dates||City and host country||Champion|
|I||1973||November 9-13||Tehran, Iran||Soviet Union|
|II||1974||July 26-28||Ulan Bator, Mongolia||Soviet Union|
|III||1975||September 19-21||Minsk, Belarus||Soviet Union|
|IV||1979||October 13-14||Madrid, Spain||Soviet Union|
|V||1981||February 28 - March 1||Madrid, Spain||Soviet Union|
|VI||1982||July 3-4||Paris, France||Soviet Union|
|VII||1983||September 30 - October 1||Kiev, Ukraine||Soviet Union|
|VIII||1984||June 14-15||Madrid, Spain||Soviet Union|
|IX||1985||September 19-21||San Sebastián, Spain||Soviet Union|
|X||1986||November 21-24||Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France||Soviet Union|
|XI||1987||Milan, Italy||Soviet Union|
|XII||1988||December 1-5||Montreal, Canada||Soviet Union|
|XIII||1989||November 8-11||West Orange, United States||Soviet Union|
|XIV||1990||Moscow, Russia||Soviet Union|
|XVI||1992||November 6-10||Herne Bay, England||Russia|
|XVII||1993||November 9-15||Kstovo, Russia||Russia|
|XVIII||1994||October 7-9||Novi Sad, Serbia||Russia|
|XX||1996||November 1-3||Tokyo, Japan||Russia|
|XXI||1997||October 10-12||Tbilisi, Georgia||Georgia|
|XXII||1998||October 16-18||Kaliningrad, Russia||Russia|
|XXIII||1999||November 12-14||Gijón, Spain||Russia|
|XXIV||2000||November 25||Kiev, Ukraine||Russia|
|XXV||2001||October 20-21||Krasnoyarsk, Russia||Russia|
|XXVI||2002||November 26-29||Panama City, Panama||Russia|
| Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Combat Sambo)
St. Petersburg, Russia
| Prague, Czech Republic (Combat Sambo)
| Prague, Czech Republic (Combat Sambo)
|XXX||2006||September 30 - October 2
| Tashkent, Uzbekistan (Combat Sambo)
|XXXI||2007||November 7-11||Prague, Czech Republic||Russia|
|XXXII||2008||November 13-17||St. Petersburg, Russia||Russia|
|XXXIII||2009||November 5-9||Thessaloniki, Greece||Russia|
|XXXIV||2010||November 4-8||Tashkent, Uzbekistan||Russia|
|XXXV||2011||November 10-14||Vilnius, Lithuania||Russia|
|XXXVI||2012||November 8-12||Minsk, Belarus||Russia|
|XXXVII||2013||November 7-11||St. Petersburg, Russia|
Medal table (2006–2009) 
FIAS Hall of Fame 
- Murat Khasanov, 11-time world champion, seven-time European champion, 19-time Russian national champion.
- Fedor Emelianenko (combat sambo), four-time world champion, European champion, and six-time Russian national champion.
- Irina Rodina, 11-time world champion.
- Svetlana Galyant, seven-time world champion.
- Igor Kurinnoy, a Merited Master of Sport, three time Sambo World Champion, a five time Sambo World Cup Champion and director of Borec Sports Club.
- Umar Shokhzodayev former Russian sambo champion ranked kandidat master in the sport sambo and long time champion in the country
- Fedor Emelianenko, four-time World Combat Sambo Champion and six-time Russian national Combat Sambo Champion in the +100 kg division. Two-time Russian national Judo bronze medalist, he was the last heavyweight champion of the former PRIDE Fighting Championships and was the consensus #1 ranked Heavy weight MMA fighter in the world for over seven years.
- Andrei Arlovski, former UFC heavyweight champion. He was also the Junior World sport Sambo Champion, as well as a silver medalist in the World Sambo Championship and World Sambo Cup.
- Ron Tripp, 1994 World Champion and 7 times World Medalist capturing 8 US National Titles and 6 Pan Am Golds during his career (both FIAS East and West). A Judo champion and current general secretary of USA Judo. Tripp was promoted to 10th degree in Sambo in 1995 and became America's first International Distinguished Master of Sport in 1996. Also in 1996, he served as World Team Coach at the Tokyo World Championships. At the 1993 U.S. Sambo Championships, he scored a total victory throw victory over Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Rickson Gracie.
- Clinton Burke, NCAA wrestling finalist and All-American from the University of Oklahoma, was a four-time finalist in world competition beginning in 1987, when he earned a silver medal in the World Cup in Tokyo. He won World Championship silver medals in three different weight classes (62 kg, 68 kg, and 74 kg), closing his career in 1993 as runner-up in the World Championships in Kstovo, Russia.
- Lance Campbell Sport Sambo World Champion (FIAS West). One of only eight grapplers selected to compete in the Ultimate Submission Showdown.
- Martin Clarke, The Father of British Sambo, Multiple time FIAS British Sambo Champion, World Games Silver 1985, World Silver 1986, World Masters Silver 1997. He is the only person in Great Britain to receive the FIAS Gold Medal for services to FIAS. He holds the rank of Grand Master in Combat Sambo and Sport Sambo.
- Amy Ehlenfeldt, an accomplished US judo player; she won the 1991 FIAS World Championships in Montreal, Canada, becoming the first American woman to achieve victory over a female USSR competitor.
- Aleksander Emelianenko, Fedor's brother, is a five-time Russian national Combat Sambo champion and three-time world Sambo champion in the +100 kg divisions.
- Jason Gabrielson, Three-time World champion, one-time World Cup champion, Pan-American Games champion, Sixteen-time US Champion competing in all age groups (FIAS West). Only US lifetime undefeated champion. Was nominated for (but did not win) the American Sambo Association's Pioneer of American Sambo award. Is also a champion wrestler and judo competitor.
- James Chico Hernandez, the first Sambo Champion to be featured on a box of Wheaties Energy Crunch. He is a 2000 FIAS West World Cup Vice-Champion, 1987, 2000 AAU United States National Sambo Champion and a three-time British FIAS Sambo silver medalist, First Sambo Wrestler to appear in CNN/SI “Faces In the Crowd”.
- Scott Sonnon, Honourable Master of Sports in Sambo from the AASF , was nominated for (but did not win) the American Sambo Association's Pioneer of American Sambo award, World University Sambo Games Silver Medalist (not an official University games event), USA Grand National and Pan-American Sambo Champion, and USA National Sambo Team Coach.
- Zurab Bekochvili, World Sambo Champion, Russian/U.S. Sambo & Judo Champion & a leading Sambo authority in Florida, USA under American Sambo Federation. Zurab Bekochvili holds a notable victory in a 1993 Sport Sambo match against Scott Sonnon
- Igor Yakimov, World Judo Champion, as well a world Sport Sambo Champion and a medallist at the Combat Sambo world championships
- Irina Rodina, Russian women's sport Sambo champion, Judo Olympian, and mixed martial artist
- David Rudman, USSR, champion of the first International Sambo Tournament, at 70 kg, and first World Champion in the weight category up to 68 kg.
- Yury Rybak, Belarussian sport Sambo champion, and World Judo silver medalist
- Andrei Kazusionak, Belarussian sport Sambo champion, European Judo champion, and Olympian
- Blagoi Ivanov, Won the over 100 kg Combat Sambo gold medal at the 2008 World Sambo Championships,at 22 years of age he notably defeated Fedor Emelianeko, 4 time World Combat Sambo Champion.
- Sergej Grecicho, two time Lithuanian combat Sambo champion, mixed martial artist
- Rumen Dimitrov, Bulgarian combat Sambo champion, and mixed martial artist
- Rosen Dimitrov, Bulgarian combat Sambo champion, and mixed martial artist
- Genrikh Shults, 6-times Soviet Sport Sambo champion (85 kg), the first capitan of the USSR national Judo team, European Judo champion (80 kg)
- Vladimir Putin, KGB officer, former Prime Minister of Russia and current President, is Master of Sports in both Sambo and Judo.
Other notable practitioners 
- Khabib Nurmagomedov is a Russian mixed martial artist. He competes in the UFC Lightweight division. Has a black belt in Sambo.
- Dennis Siver is a German-Russian mixed martial artist. He competes in the UFC Featherweight division.
- Amir Sadollah is American mixed martial artist. Fights as a Middleweight in the UFC. Has a black belt in Sambo.
- Vinny Magalhães is a Brazilian mixed martial artist (UFC, M1-Global), multiple World BJJ/ADCC Champion & current M1-Global Light Heavyweight Champion who stated that he currently studies Sambo leg locks.
- Nick Diaz is an American mixed martial artist (UFC, StrikeForce, EliteXC) that has been practicing Sambo with his Bulgarian National Sambo coach for 12 years.
- Heath Herring is an American Heavyweight mixed martial artist (UFC, PRIDE FC)
- Gokor Chivichyan
- Hiroshi Hase, Japanese Olympic wrestler-turned-pro wrestler who learned sambo in an expedition to the Soviet Union in 1989.
- Takayuki Iizuka, Japanese pro wrestler who learned sambo in an expedition to the Soviet Union in 1989.
- Stephen Koepfer, president of the American Sambo Association, he was awarded a Master of Sport of Russia in Combat Sambo in 2009 . One of the US team coaches for the 2008 FIAS 70th Anniversary world championships.
- Alexey Oleinik, Ukrainian mixed martial artist, and Combat Sambo competitor
- Ibragim Magomedov, a Russian mixed martial artist.
- Victor Nemkov, Russian World Cup champion, and emerging mixed martial artist .
- Oleg Taktarov, UFC 6 Champion, UFC '95 Ultimate Ultimate Tournament finalist, and actor.
- Megumi Fujii, a current MMA-fighter. She is known as the "Princess of Sambo."
- Sergei Kharitonov, a former PRIDE Fighting Championship competitor.
- Satoko Shinashi, an accomplished Japanese mixed martial arts competitor often called the "Queen of MMA."
- Oleg Prudius, a Ukrainian professional wrestler best known for performing on WWE's RAW Brand as Vladimir Kozlov, has experience in Sambo among other martial arts.
- Professional wrestler Dave Taylor was a Sambo champion in England and is a third-generation practitioner of the sport.
- Volk Han, Russian hybrid wrestling competitor and mixed martial artist. Also the first primary trainer for the Russia Top Team, the mixed martial arts team for which Fedor Emelianenko, Aleksander Emelianenko, and Sergei Kharitonov all were members.
Fictional practitioners 
- Boris Ivanov and Alexander Kareda from the manga Shijō Saikyō no Deshi Ken'ichi (aka History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi) both use Command Sambo.
- The fictional character Blue Mary of the King of Fighters video game series uses a stylized version of Sambo.
- Sergei Dragunov of the Tekken series uses the military version of Sambo (a.k.a. Combat Sambo)
- Bayman and Leon of the Dead or Alive game series both use Combat Sambo.
- Cyrax and Sektor use Sambo in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.
- Zangief of the Street Fighter series uses a variation of Sambo and integrates it into Pro Wrestling.
- Abel from Street Fighter IV is a Sambo practitioner.
- Mikhail Bakunin of the TV series Lost appears to use Sambo, probably due to his military training before joining the DHARMA Initiative.
- Michael Westen uses Sambo as part of his under cover operation in the Burn Notice episode 'Comrades'.
- Rumble Fighter, an online fighting game, allows players to purchase a version of Sambo.
- Igor, main character in Paulo Coelho's book The Winner Stands Alone uses Sambo on some occasions.
- Valery Ilyuchin from the manga Shamo is a three time Sambo world cup winner in middleweight.
- Colonnello from the manga and anime Katekyo Hitman Reborn! was a master of Sambo as well as karate.
- Yuri Boyka, played by Scott Adkins in Undisputed II: Last Man Standing and Undisputed III: Redemption uses a variation of Sambo.
- Koba, declared to be a world Sambo champion, who was a character played by Kurt Angle in the movie Warrior.
- Solokov, a character in the novel Reamde by Neal Stephenson uses Sambo-techniques during the story.
Name controversy 
Although Sambo is a Russian acronym, exponents of the sport in the English-speaking world have faced problems concerning the word's (linguistically unrelated) racial overtone. Sambo representatives were forced to choose the "politically correct" spelling Sombo. In Swedish, "sambo" is instead the term for an unmarried couple living together on permanent basis. Nevertheless, this "sombo" has not remained current to date. Officials have moved to reference the sport with an acronym spelling: SAMBO. This is the spelling as made official by the official site of FIAS, http://sambo-fias.org/en/news/2012/8/2/Istoriya%20FIAS. 
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-  Swedish wikipedia
- Creation of Sambo – by Michail Lukashev, first published in Physical Culture and Sport magazine N9-10/91.
- Classical SAMBO – with many examples and pictures.
- About Sombo – Sambo overview at AnyMartialArt.org
- CST Magazine Interview with Steve Koepfer from the American Sambo Association – information about combat and freestyle Sambo.
- New York Times Article and Video covering the history of Sambo – published July 19, 2008.
- LA Talk Radio's Kip Brown discusses Sambo on In The Can – Aired September 13, 2008.
- G4 Network's Attack of the Show covers Sambo Aired October 1, 2008.
- Russia Today covers the 70th Anniversary of Sambo – Aired October 22, 2008
- Slate.com covers Sambo training in Russia, the 2008 FIAS World Championships, and Fedor Emilianenko – published February 23–27, 2009
- Injury shake up unearths political controversy at USA SAMBO Open Published May 3, 2010
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Sambo|
- International Sambo Federation
- Asian SAMBO Federation
- American Sambo Association
- United States Combat SAMBO Association
- Combat Sambo Federation of Ukraine
- Commonwealth Sambo Association
- Listing on US and international sambo schools, practitioners, and organizations
- RMAX Sambo Video Clips, Articles and Technique Tutorials
- Photoalbum (SAMBO, information database) | ru
- Nepobedimyy (1983) at the Internet Movie Database