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Love Jiu Jitsu? Then you need to try Sambo!

Love Jiu Jitsu? Then you need to try Sambo!

As well as training BJJ three times a week, I also supplement my game with an hour of Sambo a week. If you love your ground work then you need to do this lovely leg lock art to supplement your game.

knee bar

The great thing I’ve found about Sambo is the stand up, as it combines the best elements of Judo and freestyle wrestling to create a dynamic game that is perfect for Brazilian jiu Jitsu.

This Russian martial art is actually an acronym, the full title of this sport is SAMozashchita 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.

Also, ever hear of Fedor? Well he first made his name doing combat Sambo before destroying his competition in MMA.

Leg lock heaven

While pretty much all leg locks, apart from the Achilles lock, are illegal in BJJ, Sambo gives you the chance to try out those high level submissions, which would normally be taboo in your gym. It’s great for helping you be aware of where your feet and legs are during a scramble, because before you know it you’ll be trapped in a knee bar tapping like a little girl.

There is one thing you need to remember when you do Sambo and BJJ together and that is the dreaded knee reaping rule. Sambo will allow you to reap the knee to isolate the leg, whereas Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has deemed this illegal, citing that it puts too much pressure on the knee joint.


If you’ve ever considered competiting in Sambo in the UK then there are a few things you should consider. First you need to find out if your Sambo class is in the British Sambo Association, and secondly as there is no governing body, such as MMA, if you want to compete in combat Sambo (Sambo with strikes) then you will need to be signed off by your doctor.

If you want to know more about Sambo or if you want to see what it’s all about. Then I suggest you watch the next 3 hours of the world Sambo competition.

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