Looking for a good martial art for self-defense can be intimidating. After all, there are so many different styles to choose from. In addition, there are so many different martial arts styles that claim to be the best for self-defense. But what about sambo? Is sambo good for self-defense?
Sambo is great for self-defense when applied properly. In fact, sambo stands for self-defense without weapons. Combat Sambo is especially effective for self-defense because it includes both striking and grappling techniques. After all, sambo was created for real-life combat it is naturally effective in real life.
Sambo can basically be put into three categories. That sport sambo, self-defense sambo, and combat sambo. All three are useful for self-defense but others are certainly more useful than others. It should be no surprise that self-defense sambo is probably the best for most people.
This is simply because that is exactly what it was created for. This style was created for law enforcement, bodyguards, and others who are in need of protecting themselves in the general public. That said, self-defense sambo is arguably just as effective if not more effective than just about any other martial art.
This style was created for all situations. It is taught specifically to the Russian military, law enforcement, and crowd control units. So you can assume it is effective for many different real-life self-defense situations.
Why Sambo Is Great For Self-Defense
The reason that sambo is great for self-defense is that it has effective throws, takedowns, and submissions. On top of that, in some Sambo schools, you will also learn striking and weapons defense.
The main thing you need to understand is that sambo is great for self-defense but you must be intentional. Some schools teach self-defense intentionally and some focus more on the sport.
Simply learning sport sambo can certainly help you defend yourself. However, if your goal is to learn self-defense then you want to be very intentional on what you learn and focus on. If you have access to the type of sambo they teach to the military and police, it will be much more suited for self-defense.
That said, the takedowns, throws, and submissions found in all forms of sambo can work in real life. However, you must learn which techniques work only in competition but should be avoided on the streets. After all, you might not be facing one equally sized opponent on sambo mats.
That being said, all forms of sambo can be effective. Just know what exactly you are trying to focus on. There is nothing wrong with learning something for sport alone but you must be able to separate what works in sport vs real life.
Is Sport Sambo Good For Self-Defense
You might automatically assume that learning sport sambo is not effective on the street. However, getting thrown by a competitive sambo athlete on the concrete might change your mind. That is if you still have one left. Sambo athletes are some of the last people that I would want to get into an altercation with.
They are excellent at stand-up grappling as well as grappling on the ground. That said, it is a very complete form of grappling. Some say it is the best of both worlds since it focuses more on takedowns than BJJ and more on ground fighting than judo.
Sambo is also much like wrestling, however, sambo uses a uniform like BJJ and judo and also incorporates submissions.
This allows for sambo grapplers to use throws like in judo. In fact, many of the sambo throws were influenced by judo. After all, judo heavily influenced sambo so there and many similarities but also some major differences between sambo and judo.
So naturally, they can probably defend themselves pretty well. That said, sport sambo is not necessarily focused on self-defense. So you do need to understand what you should and should not do in a self-defense situation.
Competing In Sambo Helps You Deal With Real Aggression
That said, pro boxers and MMA fighters do not focus on self-defense either, but they are likely capable of protecting themselves against an unarmed attacker. This is because competitive combat sports actually give you a chance to spar and deal with real aggression.
The problem with many martial arts that do focus on self-defense never actually get to spar or practice with real people. They are often caught off guard when someone comes at them with real aggression and not playing into a choreographed demonstration.
Of course, in many instances, you cannot practice everything against a real person. We can’t exactly poke each other’s eyes and kick each other downstairs for the sake of getting real self-defense practice. That said, I do think we need to compete and spar in a safe way with people who are actually trying to take us down.
Combat Sambo For Self-Defense
Another form of sambo that is good for self-defense is Combat sambo. Combat sambo really comes in two forms. That is the style that they teach the military and another kind that is a sport. The sport of combat sambo is very much like MMA. Like in MMA combat sambo has grappling and striking. One of the biggest differences being that combat sambo athletes wear a jacket. It is similar to a judogi but the sambo jacket has shorter sleeves.
That said, if you learn the sambo that is taught to the military and police then you are certainly learning a style that is great for self-defense. That said, even if you are learning sport combat sambo you are still developing skills that will help you protect yourself as well.
As long as you know what not to do in a real-life altercation, MMA and other full-contact combat sports like sambo arguably help you develop the best tools for self-defense. After all, they incorporate all multiple aspects of fighting as well as help you develop the physical attributes that are often neglected in some self-defense schools.
Where and How To Learn Sambo
The biggest flaw with sambo is that it can be hard to find a place to learn in many parts of the world. That said, it never hurts to search online for sambo schools in your area. Otherwise, you will likely need to learn sambo techniques online. If you can’t find a sambo school then I would suggest still enrolling in some form of martial arts that incorporates grappling. Where I live there are BJJ and MMA schools everywhere.
If you are wanting to learn self-defense you might want to find a BJJ school that focuses on self-defense or a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu school. Gracie jiu-jitsu is a form of BJJ but they focus on self-defense over the competition. You can find out more about the differences here but the point is to find some sort of grappling-based martial art.
Learning the basics of grappling will help you be able to learn better from Sambo videos and sambo instructionals that you can find online. You might be a little lost if you have no grappling background whatsoever.
In my opinion, sambo has something to teach every grappler. Learning a bit of sambo can greatly help your BJJ and no-gi grappling game. So if you can’t find a school in your area then the next best option would be to learn what you can online.