Human Weapon (2007): S01E11 – Sambo: Russia’s Extreme Fighting


Introduction

Human Weapon is a television show on The History Channel that premiered on 20 July 2007.

The hosts, Jason Chambers and Bill Duff, travelled across the world studying the unique martial arts, or styles of fighting, that have origins in the region.

Outline

Hosts Jason Chambers and Bill Duff journey to Moscow, Russia, the origin of one of the most versatile and deadly martial arts on the planet.

Sambo (Russian: са́мбо, pronounced [ˈsambə]) is a Soviet martial art, an internationally-practised combat sport, and a recognised style of amateur wrestling included by UWW in the World Wrestling Championships along with Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling.

It originated in the Russian SFSR in the Soviet Union. The word sambo is an acronym of the romanisation samozashchita bez oruzhiya (Russian: самозащита без оружия), which literally translates to ‘self-defence without weapons’. The correct, official English spelling, approved by USA Wrestling and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, is SOMBO.

Sambo is relatively modern since its development began in the early 1920s by the Soviet NKVD and Red Army to improve hand-to-hand combat abilities of the servicemen. It was intended to be a merger of the most effective techniques of other martial arts.

The pioneers of sambo were Viktor Spiridonov and Vasili Oshchepkov. Oshchepkov spent several years living in Japan and training in Judo under its founder Kano Jigoro. Oshchepkov died in prison as a result of the Great Purge after being accused of being a Japanese spy.

Spiridonov and Oshchepkov independently developed two different styles, which eventually cross-pollinated and became what is known as sambo. Compared to Oshchepkov’s system, called “free wrestling” in Russia (known in the West as catch-as-catch-can wrestling or simply catch wrestling), Spiridonov’s style was softer and less brutal. It was also less strength-dependent, which in large part was due to injuries Spiridonov sustained during World War I.

Anatoly Kharlampiev, a student of Vasili Oshchepkov, is also considered a founder of sambo. In 1938, it was recognised as an official sport by the USSR All-Union Sports Committee

Human Weapon Series

You can find a full index and overview of Human Weapon here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 09 November 2007.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Rating: TV-14.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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