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Difference between sambo and Brazilian jiu jitsu

Difference between sambo and Brazilian jiu jitsu

Exploring the Differences between Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) are two martial arts that, at first glance, may seem similar due to their focus on ground fighting. However, these disciplines have different origins, philosophies and techniques that differentiate them significantly. This article delves into the key differences between Sambo and BJJ to offer a clear understanding of both practices.

Origins and Philosophy

Sambo is a martial art and combat sport originating in Russia, developed at the beginning of the 20th century with the purpose of improving the hand-to-hand combat system of the Soviet army. It combines elements of judo, jujutsu and wrestling, creating a style focused on throws, pins and submissions. On the other hand, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has its roots in Judo and Japanese Jujutsu, but was adapted and modified in Brazil by the Gracie family and other pioneers in the 20th century, emphasizing ground and submission techniques over throws.

Techniques and Approach

One of the main technical differences between Sambo and BJJ lies in their approach. Sambo places a heavy emphasis on throws and gaining a quick victory through dynamic submissions, including armbars and chokes. In contrast to this, BJJ focuses more deeply on ground work, promoting positional control, strategic use of weight and a wide range of submission techniques, especially those that target the joints and neck.

Competition Rules

Sambo and BJJ competitions have different regulations that reflect their technical and philosophical differences. Sambo competitions are characterized by being fast and aggressive, with a marked emphasis on throwing. Points are awarded for takedown, control and submission techniques. In contrast, BJJ competitions typically have longer rounds, where competitors meticulously work for positional control before seeking to finish their opponent with a submission, reflecting their focus on patience and strategy.


Traditional clothing also varies between these two disciplines. In Sambo, competitors wear a "kurtka" (a jacket similar to that of judo, but shorter and tighter), shorts, and Sambo shoes. Meanwhile, in BJJ, practitioners compete in a "gi" (kimono), which is a thick cloth jacket with pants and belt, used for both defense and offense during sparring.

Training Strategies

Training methodologies in Sambo and BJJ reflect the priorities of each art. Sambo training includes significant work on throws and quick transitions to submission techniques, while BJJ places greater emphasis on sparring ("rolling") on the ground, allowing practitioners to explore and refine their ground game with various companions.


Although Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu share some similarities in terms of ground fighting, their differences in origin, approach, techniques, and competition rules.


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