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Russian Cа́мбо (pronounced Sambo) has been popularised by top level UFC stars like Khabib Nurmagomedov and got its name as an acronym of SAMozaschita Bez Orujiya which means 'self defence without weapons' in Russian. FightLab is licensed & affiliated to the British Sambo Federation & International SAMBO Federation (FIAS).

Our Youth Combat Sambo sessions are open to age 12yrs+ (younger kids will be considered) and serve as a training curriculum for both Amateur MMA, Combat Sambo competition as well as people looking for authentic self defence training. These sessions are really fast paced and start with a very vigorous conditioning warm up, we will then move on to demonstrate techniques, set ups and positions. Students will then drill these and use them in the sparring that follows. Sparring is included in all classes, but students are only asked to participate when they, and the instructor, feel they’re ready. Classes are designed to give junior confidence & fitness.

Sambo was once the official in-house martial art of the KGB, a mandatory part of hand-to-hand combat training for Soviet special forces and the favourite childhood hobby of Vladimir Putin. Sambo is one of the few legit self defence art out there hat has ACTUALLY been tested on the battlefield, during WW2, the Russo-Japanese War with the Soviet Military, and throughout the Cold War by the KGB. Now, sambo is enjoying growing popularity well beyond the borders of Russia and the former USSR, where it was developed in the 1920s and 1930s, and its promoters are pushing for it be recognised as an Olympic sport.


Combat SAMBO is normally practiced with a thick judo-like jacket called kurtka, a pair of wrestling-style shorts, and wrestling-like boots. But in our club, as in many other clubs around the world, it is fine to practice it with a standard judo/Jujitsu style jacket, a pair of shorts, and barefoot. Should you want to compete, however, we advise you to train regularly with the proper attire.

Some sambo techniques specific to the fighting style

  • Punches
  • Kicks
  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Grappling, both on the floor & standing

Some sambo techniques specific to the fighting style:

  • Sambo casting punch - This is an extremely versatile punch that originates from the shoulder and can be used to either close distance or enter into a clinch to then execute a takedown. The name comes from the punch’s similarity to the movement of casting a fishing line.
  • Sambo knee bar - This grappling submission technique is similar in principle to an arm bar and can be used either on its own, or as a transition into other submission holds.
  • Sambo leg lock - Leg locks are an extremely common grappling submission technique used in sambo. Because leg locks are not allowed in judo, the use of leg locks is a major point of differentiation between judo and sambo.