MMA fans know about the Russian martial art of Sambo courtesy of the man known as Fedor Emelianenko. There are plenty of other fighters that utilize the style, but none have been more proactive in popularizing it, and moreso effectively using it in combat situations.
Known for its combination of striking and grappling techniques, as well as emphasis on leg locks, Turtle Press has published a reference book called “Championship Sambo” to help de-mystify the art to new students. Written by Steve Scott, who has written many of the judo and martial arts books we have reviewed from Turtle Press recently, penned this book as well. Does this book truly deserve the word “Championship” in its’ title, or should this book have been eliminated and cut faster than a UFC fighter making a rape joke on twitter?
Hit the jump for the full review!
“Championship Sambo” by Steve Scott is in the similar vein of the Armlock Encyclopedia. A physically smaller book with 150 pages, this guide to the Russian fighting system is packed with knowledge.
The book goes over basic sambo positions and holds and movements you should know, which you may recognize from other grappling styles. From there, the book branches off into sections on joint locks, specifically arm and leg. There are no choke holds in the book, so look elsewhere if you want to learn how to strangle someone in the sambo style.
Being a sambo book, this is almost entirely an all-gi book, but no-gi grapplers can modify most of the moves to fit their needs. For most of the techniques, a gi is not necessary anyway (and a few pages do contain techniques specifically made with no-gi in mind), especially when it comes to leglocks. Using his judo as a starting point, many of the submissions start from standing positions and hit the ground to finish.
Filled with photos to supplement the text, each maneuver is explained in clear and concise words with a visual aid to help you along. Like the other Turtle Press books, this is a black and white book, but the lack of color photos is not a reason to dismiss it, since the info is easy to understand and contains some solid techniques that you will not see in too many BJJ books. You will learn techniques such as armlocks from various transition positions, rolling armlocks, takedowns into armlocks, gator rolls, ankle locks, and kneebars, as well as tips on how to better lock in a submission tailored with the sambo fighter in mind,
This book is dominated by armlocks, about 70 pages worth. When you remember that this book is just over 150 pages long, that means that nearly half of it is just armlocks. Most people know Sambo for the leg submissions, so it is slightly disappointing that so many are missing. However, you must keep in mind that the author comes from a Judo background where leglocks are typically prohibited. While Scott balances both of these arts, it seems that leg locks were overlooked in his cross-training. Even though it is a thin chapter compared to the others, it is still very informative and breaks down what you need to know to execute a killer leglock.
Frankly, this is not the best Sambo book on the market, but it will get your feet wet and is priced low enough that you will not regret picking this book up. If anything, this should get you started in Sambo and help you branch out into other books or DVD’s. At 150 pages, I also wish this book was longer, and with such a tiny section on leglocks, I wonder why it was kept so short in the first place. You can grab Championship Sambo: Submission Holds and Groundfighting from Amazon.com for easily under $10, and at that price, it is definitely worth it!