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Sambo vs Judo: Understanding the Differences and Similarities

Sambo vs Judo: Understanding the Differences and Similarities

Sambo and Judo are both popular martial arts styles that have been around for centuries. While both are similar in some aspects, they do have distinct differences when it comes to techniques and philosophy. In this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at Sambo vs Judo and help you understand the similarities and differences between these two martial arts.

What is Sambo?

Sambo is a martial art that originated in Russia and was developed by the Soviet Red Army in the early 1920s. It combines elements of Judo, Wrestling, and other martial arts, making it a well-rounded style that relies heavily on throws, submissions, and ground fighting. Unlike Judo, Sambo also incorporates striking and self-defense techniques.

What is Judo?

Judo, on the other hand, is a martial art that originated in Japan and was founded by Jigoro Kano in 1882. It’s primarily a standing martial art that focuses on throws, takedowns, and grappling techniques. It’s also a sport that’s popular in the Olympics and other competitions.

Similarities between Sambo and Judo

While Sambo and Judo are two different martial arts, they do share some similarities. Both styles rely on throws and grappling techniques, and both promote the idea of controlling your opponent’s body during a match. They also both have a focus on physical fitness, developing mental toughness, and building self-confidence.

Key Differences between Sambo and Judo

Here are the key differences between Sambo and Judo:


The philosophies behind Sambo and Judo are different. Sambo has a more militaristic philosophy, while Judo has a more philosophical and spiritual foundation. Judo practitioners often value self-discovery and self-improvement as much as physical training.


While Sambo and Judo share similarities in throws and grappling, Sambo incorporates strikes, self-defense techniques, and is known for its effective ground fighting techniques. Sambo also utilizes more leg locks and foot sweeps than Judo. Judo, on the other hand, primarily focuses on throws and takedowns. Judo practitioners typically do not use strikes or punches.


The uniforms worn by Sambo and Judo practitioners are also different. Sambo practitioners wear a jacket, shorts, and shoes, while Judo practitioners wear a jacket and pants made of thick cotton.


While Judo is a sport widely recognized in international competitions and Olympic games, Sambo is less known and it is less frequently for competitions than Judo. Sambo competitions have unique rules that differ from Judo. For example, in Sambo competitions, choking is allowed, which is prohibited in Judo competition.

Which Martial Art Should You Learn?

Both Sambo and Judo are great martial arts to learn, and your choice should depend on your personal goals. If you’re looking for a well-rounded martial art that incorporates strikes, self-defense, and ground fighting techniques, Sambo is a great choice. If you’re more interested in a stand-up martial art that focuses on throws and takedowns, and you’re considering competitive opportunities, then Judo is the way to go.


In conclusion, Sambo and Judo are both great martial arts styles that have similarities but differ in several ways. Regardless of the martial art you choose to practice, both will provide an intense physical workout, mental toughness and self-confidence which is unique to every practitioner.


Is Judo better than Sambo?

It depends on what you’re looking for in a martial art. If you want a martial art that’s more focused on throws and takedowns, Judo may be better. But if you want a style that’s more well-rounded, incorporates strikes and more leg locks, Sambo may be better.

Is Sambo harder than Judo?

Both martial arts are challenging and equally hard to master. The length of time and practice required to master the two martial arts will differ depending on the individual.

Can Sambo practitioners enter Judo competitions?

Yes, Sambo practitioners can enter Judo competitions, but they need to understand Judo’s rules and develop techniques accordingly.

Is Sambo a good self-defense martial art?

Yes, Sambo is a great martial art for self-defense because it combines grappling techniques and strikes.

What is the main objective of Judo and Sambo?

The main objective of Judo is to throw an opponent onto their back, pin them to the ground, or submit them with a choke or submission hold. The main objective of Sambo is similar but extends to striking to weaken and get control of the opponent.


Sambo martial arts – Wikipedia

Judo martial arts – Wikipedia

International Sambo Federation –

International Judo Federation –



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