BJJ vs. Sambo – Which One Is Better?

From the attribute perspectives, Russian Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are two dreadful martial art forms. Martial art variants blend in ground-control techniques with joint locks and tactful breakdown. Jiu-Jitsu is a popular martial art of the west.

Sambo has been gaining ground ever since it came with professional MMA Champion Fedor Emelianenko. Both Jiu-Jitsu and Sambo have grappling effects. Still, there are differences between the two.

So, which one is better between BJJ and Sambo? Sambo is a Warlike art form that finds its roots in Brazil. It focuses on paramilitary and quick styling techniques. BJJ includes choking holders and strong groundworks.

BJJ fighters fight in the ring rather than fighting in the street. It makes its practical applications difficult. While there are similarities between BJJ and Sambo, there are pros and cons of both fighting styles. 

Keep on reading to know more about the grappling fight forms. We will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each martial arts form. 

Also read: Gracie Jiu-Jitsu vs. BJJ – What’s The Difference?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Technique (BJJ)

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu originated in Japan as a defensive technique by a Brazilian Samurai. Brazilian martial arts focus on grappling.

It is an unarmed fighting technique. It’s used as the last resort technique when the Samurai gets unhorsed and disarmed. Eventually, Jiu-Jitsu branched into another style, one of which is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

As MMA came into existence, BJJ led the foundation of martial art forms. It gets integrated into cross-platform training styles. 

Over the years, BJJ gyms are cropping up in the streets of the United States of America. It implies that it will be there for years to come. 

As a versatile fighting style, there are several benefits of making BJJ your go-to principal. Whether you are looking for an ultimate self-defense technique or practice the grappling technique for competitions, BJJ serves several purposes. 

Following are some of the benefits of BJJ:

  • It helps in weight loss.
  • BJJ is helpful for self-defense
  • It helps relieve stress
  • BJJ also aids in developing problem solving skills

Also read: What To Wear Under A BJJ Gi?

What’s the Difference Between BJJ and Sambo?

BJJ is a grappling art form where the fighters grapple on the ground using different guard techniques. Sambo doubles as a mixed martial art and grappling martial art. Sambo that uses striking techniques forms the combat Sambo. 

Both Sambo and BJJ use MMA applications. UFC Champion comes from both backgrounds. You will likely wonder: In what ways do BJJ and Sambo differ? Let’s get straight to the point. 

Submission Attacks

While BJJ allows the wrestlers to use stranglehold and perform joint locks, Sambo includes only leg and arm point locks. Nevertheless, combat Sambo also involves choking holds. 

Scoring System in the Fighting Techniques

Both Sambo and BJJ follow different scoring systems. While BJJ points get scored for maneuver or positions, Sambo gives points according to the wrestler’s performance. 

Win Match Instantly

The difference between the martial art forms is how wrestlers can win the matches instantly. In Sambo and BJJ, a wrestler wins by submitting the opponent. However, Sambo wrestlers can also win by performing a stunt perfectly. A fighter wins instantly by knocking them out or knocking them two consecutive times in combat Sambo matches. 

Also read: How To Start BJJ At 30?

History and Origins

The history of Sambo and BJJ dates back to the 1920s and 30s and includes techniques from traditional martial arts.  

History of BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu evolved from Judo as Japanese practitioners traveled across Brazil, showing their skills and teaching their arts.

In 1914 a Brazilian Judo master arrived in Brazil. He taught Judo to local Brazilians. Gracie, who wanted to spread BJJ worldwide, learned Judo from the Brazilian master or his disciple. He settled in Brazil in 1920.

After five years, Gracie and his brother started teaching Jiu-Jitsu in their school. They participated in public shows and fought against fighters from other backgrounds. Helios, the brother of Gracie, taught Jiu-Jitsu and participated in fights.

It wasn’t until the 1970 or 80s the Gracie family introduced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

By this time, the Gracie Family and Rorion reached the USA and started teaching their art. They gained appreciation from personalities like Norris. Royce won the 1993 UFC League that contributed to the growth of BJJ. 

BJJ gained LimeLight as it proved that it could defeat many other Martial arts. This way, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gained the popularity that it enjoys today.

Also read: How Much Does A BJJ Gi Weigh?

History of Sambo

The history of Sambo traces back to 1920 when the Soviet Union expressed its desire to improve the hand-on-hand fighting technique for its security services and the Red Army. 

Sambo was the brainchild of Victor Spiridonov and Vasili Oshchepkov. They started different martial art forms like Karate, Judo and selected techniques that would be effective to combat. 

Convent technique resulted in Sambo that became the official sport of the Soviet Union in 1938. 

To make Sambo Sports-friendly, the creators removed striking. Practitioners wore a Gi top. After World War 2, choke holding also got removed from the Sports Sambo. 

However, combat Sambo didn’t include the restrictions. The security services and military forces practiced combat style Sambo. 

In 1960, the United wrestling style Association recognized Sambo as the official sport. 

Scoring System of BJJ and Sambo

The rules and point scoring system of the two martial art forms are different. One similarity exists between the two: subsequent submissions by the opponent team result in instant victory.

Achieve an instant win with the perfect throw in Sambo. It gives you an 8 point advantage. In the case of combat Sambo, it knocks out the opponent.

Most BJJ competitions follow the disciplines set by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. The rules are as follows:

  • BJJ match duration ranges between 5 to 10 minutes for the adults.
  • Competitors can use two, three, or four points to obtain dominant positions. It’s how they perform beneficial maneuvers.
  • Opponents win matches by successful submissions or scolding points. 

Also read: How Long Does It Take To Get Blue Belt in BJJ?

How To Choose Between BJJ and Sambo?

As of now, you have learned the basics that one should know about fighting techniques. However, how should you choose between Sambo and BJJ?

Following are the questions that you should ask yourself before choosing a career in BJJ or Sambo:

  • Is it going to be my only form of martial art for self-defense?
  • Do I want to use the martial art form for public displays, competitions, or practical Self-defense?
  • Is there a BJJ or Sambo gym near me to start training?
  • Do I want to learn street fighting or fighting in a ring?
  • Am I learning this art form as a cross-training discipline for MMA fights? If yes, then how will it affect overall fighting tactics?

If you are trying to learn some moves for MMA fights, you will perform better by following cross-training discipline in the MMA technique. It will help kick the enormous Toolbox at your disposal when the time comes to hit the ring. 

If you want to get Sambo training, you may need to travel far for training purposes. It is valid unless you are from a region with a large European population. 

Otherwise, you need to travel to find a Sambo or BJJ gym. It implies that you might have a fallback from MMA whether you want to pursue a career in BJJ or Sambo.

Between BJJ and Sambo, Which One Is More Popular?

There is no particular way to prove the differences between two martial art forms. Still, we can use tools like Google trends to differentiate the two.

Google trend data discloses the fact that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gained popularity over Sambo. While Brazilian MMA enjoys worldwide popularity, Sambo has popularity over Russia and neighboring countries. Sambo got recognized by the Olympic Committee. However, Jiu-Jitsu is yet to gain popularity.


Jiu-Jitsu and Sambo are martial art variants. They both have disadvantages and advantages. Choosing one over the other, consider your exact expectations from the grappling fight forms. Are you fortunate enough to have Sambo and BJJ Gyms near your location? Why don’t you try both out?

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