Russian Sambo V BJJ: Which Is Better?

Russian Sambo V BJJ: Which Is Better?

November 24, 2016

When it comes to grappling, we always hear the same argument; which is better Judo or BJJ?

While Judo is certainly the most well know grappling sport along with wrestling, people tend to forget it has a Russian Cousin which is considered one of the most devastating fighting arts ever created. That sport is, of course, Russian Sambo.

In this article, we look at which is better, and we are sure going to upset someone along the way but here goes. And by the way, we will pre-warn you that we have written this in a really 'off the wall style' to try and give some reality to the debate (I am not nuts, honest). 


BJJ is Better Than Sambo

If we put our feet into the BJJ camp, we can firmly say that BJJ is awesome. The art has evolved to incredible popularity, and we see it being used time and time again in the UFC.

The art focuses almost entirely on groundwork with very little being taught on standing grappling unless the instructor has additional knowledge. This makes sense because most fights end up on the floor anyway and dragging a man (or woman) to the ground is not that tough to do.

The result is that the art spends most of its time learning how to gain positions of dominance and then choke, strike or break a limb (stopped by a tap out).

This is great because the whole idea was always that BJJ was about leverage and a system that allowed the weaker person to win and this is tough to do standing up.

A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter is like an Anaconda on the ground. They can seize an opponent in seconds and be wrapped onto his back and sink a choke in.

From there it is all over and in MMA we even beat the best Sambo fighter of all time Fedor Emelianenko. BJJ expert Fabricio Werdum defeated the Sambo legend with an amazing triangle choke. Check it out:

But that is not all we can do, from sweeps to arm, wrist, leg and ankle locks. The BJJ fighter has multiple targets that can grab hold of and if they need to break.

 Once broken the limb becomes useless and victory is ensured as the pain takes hold.

 Without a doubt, BJJ has proven its effectiveness and is certainly better.

 Sambo Is Better Than BJJ

 Yeah, yeah yeah.

 We have heard it all before. ‘BJJ this and BJJ that.’

 Have you ever been to Russia and tried that stuff against a serious Sambo fighter? Didn't think so.

 Sambo is very different than BJJ. Our time is spent learning techniques that devastate opponents; our art was not designed for the street but the battleground!

 In Sambo, we have a point scoring system and unlike Judo to get what they call an Ippon we have to throw our opponents and remain standing, just like you should in a real fight!

 We do not go to the ground unless it suits us. We control the fight wherever we like.

 When it comes to the ground work, we want quick and devastating finishes, and we go for major limbs like the arms and legs. In fact, our leg locks are scary. We train them all the time, passing guard is not for our art. Why would we need to pass guard when we can take a leg and make it our own.

 And for those that want to test themselves, we even have Combat Sambo, a full contact version of our sport that even allows us to headbutt our opponents. Check out our sport in action!

 Sambo is as real as it gets.


The Debate

We have two deadly arts. Both have excellent arguments but which is really better?

 In honest truth neither, they are just different, and the circumstance makes one better than the other. BJJ was developed in Brazil and Sambo was created in Russia.

 Sambo was created as a fighting art based on the military battlefield, and you can see that reflected in the rules. BJJ is an art of street self-defence designed to allow the smaller person to defeat the stronger and the rules of that sport also reflect this.

 But how would they fair against each other? It is virtually impossible to say, but people have tried to find out.

 In MMA we have seen Sambo exponent Fedor Emelianenko take on many BJJ fighters and have success, and as we saw earlier we have also seen him beaten.

 We have even seen some sports events take place pitting the two devastating arts against each other, with little significant different result.

 So at the end of the debate, we have two very different arts, both created with a different goal.

 What it does come down to is a personal choice. Both are more than just sports they are lifestyles. You will make new friends, learn effective self-defence and get fit. So for the student in either art, it is a win-win!

But what if you combined the sports? Well Reilly Bodycomb is doing just that. An expert Sambo fighter he is also cross trains in BJJ and other sports as well. As such his Sambo skills are seen in many no gi events across the globe, check out him in action below:

Now to finish off let’s see the two arts against each other in some action that someone organised, yes BJJ V’s Sambo in a real event:


 Thanks for reading


The Human Weapon Team





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Sizing Chart
Men's Body Length 27.5 - 28 28.5 - 29 29.5 - 30 30.5 - 31 31.5 - 32
Men's Chest 36 - 36 39 - 41 42 - 44 45 - 48 49 - 52
Women's Body Length 25.375 - 26.5 26 - 27 26.5 - 27.5 27 - 28.5 27.5 - 28.5
Women's Chest 29.5 - 32.5 31.5 - 34.5 33.5 - 36.5 36.5 - 39.5 39.5 - 42.5