Sambo vs Wrestling

Sambo and wrestling are two of the most popular and fascinating sports in the world. Though they share some similarities, there are also some distinct differences between the two. In this post, we take a look at the key differences between sambo and wrestling.

Table of Contents

sambo vs wrestling

What Is Sambo in a Nutshell?

Sambo is a Russian martial art and combat sport. It is an offshoot of judo and jujutsu and was developed by the Soviet army in the 1920s. Sambo is now a popular sport in Russia and other former Soviet republics. The name “Sambo” is an acronym for SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya, which means “self-defense without weapons”.

What Is Wrestling in a Nutshell?

Wrestling is a sport that involves grappling and wrestling techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, and pins. It is one of the oldest sports in the world and is practiced in many countries. Wrestling has many types, such as Greco-Roman, freestyle, folkstyle, Catch wrestling, etc.

Is Sambo the Same as Wrestling?

There is a common misconception that Sambo and wrestling are the same. Sambo is a type of wrestling, but it is not considered a form of amateur or pro wrestling. It is a stand-alone martial art.

What Are The Differences Between Sambo And Wrestling?

The main difference between Sambo and Wrestling is that Sambo allows strikes, while Wrestling does not. This means that Sambo is a more complete martial art than Wrestling, as it teaches both grappling and striking techniques.

Sambo is also more popular than Wrestling in Russia and other former Soviet republics, while wrestling is more popular in the United States and other Western countries. Also, Sambo’s rules are more relaxed than Wrestling’s, which allows for more creativity and excitement in matches.

Finally, Sambo tournaments are typically single-elimination, while Wrestling tournaments often have a double-elimination format.

There’re also similarities between the two, as they are both grappling sports that focus on takedowns and throws. Both Sambo and Wrestling have weight classes, and both are governed by international federations and also could be extremely useful for MMA.

Is Sambo Better Then Wrestling?

There is no easy answer to this question. It depends on what you are looking for in a martial art or sport. If you want to learn a martial art that focuses on strikes as well as grappling, then Sambo is better than Wrestling. 

If you are looking for a sport that has a larger international following and also takes part in the Olympics, wrestling is a better choice than Sambo.

At the end of the day, it is up to the individual to decide which martial art or sport is right for them. Both Sambo and Wrestling have their pros and cons, and it is up to the individual to decide which one they prefer.

Which Is Better for Self Defense?

Both Sambo and Wrestling can be effective for self-defense, depending on the situation. Sambo has an answer to almost any fighting situation, when skilled fighters are able to deal with standing attacks, ground combat, and coping with several opponents at the same time (although this is almost impossible in reality).

As for wrestling, the majority of styles do not use punches and kicks (except for Senegalese wrestling), and the rules and techniques of the sport are very limited. Therefore, the ability to defend yourself is very limited, certainly in comparison with Sambo. Overall, Sambo is a much better self-defense method than wrestling.

Which Is Better for MMA?

Sambo is definitely better in terms of MMA as Sambo itself is a mixed martial arts method. Sambo fighters are well familiar with striking, grappling, and ground situations and can be difficult opponents to compete against. Wrestling is also good for MMA purposes, but it has a part that is missing in the puzzle, and that part is the ability to use kicks, punches, elbows, and the like.

Which Is Better for UFC?

Similar to the comparison with MMA, both Sambo and Wrestling have their pros and cons, but in reality, Sambo fighters have been more successful in the UFC arena than wrestlers and this is for the reasons outlined in the previous paragraph.

Which Is More Popular?

Sambo is more popular in Russia and other former Soviet republics, while wrestling is more popular in the United States and other Western countries. Therefore, there is a greater possibility of finding excellent wrestling coaches across the United States and Western countries.

Are They in the Olympics?

Wrestling is in the Olympics since it was a demonstration sport in the 1904 Olympics and has been in every edition of the games since then. At the Olympics, you can find the two popular styles – Greco-Roman and Freestyle.

For now, Sambo is not an Olympic sport, but it may be included in the 2024 Olympic Games.

Which Is Better for Fitness Improvement?

Both Sambo and Wrestling can improve your fitness levels, depending on your goals. Sambo can help you to build muscle and improve your cardiovascular fitness, while Wrestling can help you to improve your agility and flexibility.

You should also consider which type of wrestling you want to try, as pro wrestling, for instance, will improve your body muscles, but is less focused on cardio abilities.

Therefore, it depends on what type of training you want to focus on and what goals you want to achieve. Bottom line, both types of sports – sambo and wrestling are very good for improving physical fitness in every aspect.

Which Is Harder to Learn?

Sambo is probably harder to learn as it has more techniques and fighting forms to know, while Wrestling is more straightforward with less versatility. However, this does not mean that Wrestling is not a challenging combat sport – it definitely is.

In conclusion, both are not easy to learn and take a lot of time and energy, and require a lot of desire and motivation to specialize in them.

Gear Comparison

There are many differences between the equipment and wear used by sambo fighters and wrestlers:

In sambo, unlike wrestling, fighters usually wear sports shorts, a GI top that includes a belt, full head protector, gloves, foot protectors, and sambo shoes as well as a mouthguard.

In wrestling, wrestlers wear a singlet, headgear which is more like an ear protector, and wrestling shoes, and some also use elbow and knee sleeves as well as a mouthguard.

Sambo Shoes vs Wrestling Shoes

Sambo shoes are designed to provide good grip and traction on the mat, which is essential for all types of Sambo techniques. Wrestling shoes, on the other hand, are designed to give wrestlers more ankle support and flexibility as well as better traction on the mat.

Which Should I Learn?

Now that you know most of the differences and advantages of each sport, you should be able to make a decision. Both sports are hard to learn and very demanding, but wrestling is more popular (especially in the US) and it can also be played in high schools, colleges, and even the Olympics. 

On the other hand, Sambo is more versatile, effective in street fights, and has more advantages in MMA or UFC. Now it’s up to you!