Good Sambo Books (History)?

I'm doing my PhD thesis on grappling arts throughout the ages. In the section I'm currently (re)writing, on Egyptian wrestling, I want to make a comment about how sambo (or at least some forms of the sport) doesn't allow chokes, only joint-locks - since this has some bearing on an argument I'm making.

However, I don't have a good source to cite for that. I've only got one book on the art, and that's just a technique book covering takedowns. I could probably find the info in one of the general martial arts books I've got, but I'd prefer a better source - a good book on sambo history.

Could anyone recommend one? Preferably something that's not too hard to get hold of. Ideally I'd like something 'old' - a primary source written by one of the art's founders/pioneers etc. However, I can't read Russian, so I appreciate that this might be impossible.


I highly recommend

Sambo: Self Defense without Weapons -from Viktor Spiridov to Vladimir Putin.

author-David Rudman

ISBN 0-972 3741-8-3

you should be able to buy a copy at

Rudman's book is very good. Lots of GREAT old pics, lineages, and stories. I would have prefered he go deeper into some of the history but, it is a solid overview of Sambo from day one till now. It is also primarily sport sambo oriented and only scratches the surface of Sambo's military and social history. The English translation is comical at times, but you will get the idea. All in all, it is most likely the best english book you will find that focuses strictly on sambo history.

I have several other books/articles to recommend that cover Soviet military history and/or sambo history. Drop me an e-mail so I can send you a list (it is too long to typr out here). Too bad you don't read Russian - I've got a few of those too (I just look at the pics...LOL).


Is there anywhere else where you can buy that book? It's just that the above site doesn't have a secure ordering page.

SamboSteve - you've got mail.

IBI - where are you studying for your doctorate?

IBI - where are you studying for your doctorate?University of Manchester (England)


Thanks for the list.

(I tried to email that, but for some reason the message bounced back.)


Drop me a line and I will send you the list.


Glad you got it! I hope it helps out. Keep me posted on the thesis.