Koulikov Sambo Video Review Posted

I finally completed my review of a new sambo instructional series featuring Vladislav Koulikov that is available from shogun media. I made a post several weeks ago saying I would soon post the review so apologies for the delay. Since the series has 10 dvds with each dvd running over an hour in length, it took me a long time to watch each dvd and make notes. Most instructional series now days are 3-5 volumes so you are getting a ton of information in 10 dvds. It didn’t help that during the holidays I was besieged with relatives and whenever I would try and watch one of the sambo tapes they looked at me like I was a lunatic. Consequently, I had to wait until everyone was in bed before I could watch a volume.

First, since video reviews often end up with the reviewer being attacked like lions on a wounded zebra let me say I don’t work for shogun media nor did they ask me to do the review. Secondly, if shogun media doesn’t like the review keep in mind its only my opinion so other forum members may have completely different one. Lastly, I have not seen any other sambo instructional so I can’t compare this series to others that may be out there. I must admit being pleasantly surprised by this instructional series. It is solid and a good series. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. That contrasts with another instructional dvd that I got last week that was somewhat disappointing

I initially was interested in Koulikov seriest because of the volume 9 & 10 (fighters fitness workout routine and street fighting self-defense). However, I emailed Mr. Koulikov for more information and his response then made me interested in the entire series. I was worried though because the ad in grappling magazine reminded me of the old panther video ad layouts and I have read many complaints about numerous slow motion replay of each technique shown. Not so in this series. Koulikov shows the move several times moving so you can see it from different angle and perhaps one replay. I liked that format. What I didn’t like was no menu chapters with technique lay out so you just had to watch the dvd instead of picking a move and going to it. That was the only thing I did not like about the series and I think grapplers of all styles could benefit from what Koulikov shows. Each dvd starts with offensive attacks, then defensive counters and ends with self defense techniques incorporating submission holds that Koulikov showed on the dvd. Koulikov does a good job of flowing from one technique to another as opposed to isolated movements that are not connected. In the self defense part of each dvd the technique is demonstrated by a woman that I think is Mr. Koulikov’s wife. Koulikov is a tough guy and obviously very skilled from the way he moves on the mat and the highlights of his sport and nhb fights that are shown. However, his wife looks like she has a lot of sambo skills as well!

As far as Koulikov’s English is concerned, it isn’t a problem at all. He has an accent but it is not thick nor does it make it hard to understand. He never seems to struggle looking for the right word and his explanations are very thorough and detailed. For English being his second language I was really impressed. He seems like a genuinely nice guy in the series and very humble. I’m not going to discuss every detail of the individual volumes in the series but here are some highlights.

  1. Throws, sweeps takedowns

Koulikov starts by explaining the different kinds of throws (ie sacrifice) and moves onto grips. His grip focuses on grabbing opponents belt at his back. From there he shows foot sweeps, hip throws, sweeping hip throws and key points for the sacrifice throws. The dvd ends with some street fighting self defense that end with a throw. Good tape that shows potentially devastating throws and takedowns while standing from Sambo.

  1. Arm, wrist and shoulder locks

Koulikov begins by showing the famous flying armbar. He spends a LOT of time on this technique instructing on proper grips and how to implement this lock when opponent counters your initial throw technique and how to properly fall back. Extreme detail on the flying armbar so you walk away knowing it backwards and forwards.

From there, Koulikov moves to cross side armbar and shows how to break grip if opponent defends by grabbing his gi or his wrist. Then he instructs on an interesting technique that I’ll call a standing rolling kimura. It sounds exotic but like the flying arm bar, Koulikov breaks down the technique in good detail.

As with all of his dvds, Koulikov focuses on defenses and shows counters to some offensive attacks. Some of those include how to defend kimura when you are in someone’s guard and defending juji-gatame. Lastly, self-defense techniques end the dvd that end up with attacker in a wrist lock. Koulikov shows how to finalize to break the wrist.

  1. Leg, foot and ankle locks Sambo is known for its leg locks. Not surprisingly, this may be the best dvd in the series because of Koulikov’s expertise in leg submissions. Koulikov details proper way to secure ankle and Achilles lock with details on correct arm and leg positioning. He stresses how dangerous heel hook is, how to defend and then counter to the counters. Koulikov then moves to the knee bar and shows how to avoid triangle choke if doing knee bar from opponent’s guard. He then shows how to get knee bar when you are on the bottom of ½ guard and leg submissions when you are on top while in the ½ guard. The tape ends with self defense moves using leg locks to finalize opponent. For example, how to defend leg kicks and bear hug defense that ends in rolling knee bar. Koulikov makes some interesting comments concerning submissions while in a street fight or self defense situation. Note to self, don’t ever attempt to fight Mr. Koulikov in a street fight….
  1. Choking techniques Tape starts with you in head to head position on knees. I’ve seen this called quarter position as well in other tape series. Koulikov shows arm inside guillotine choke and correct hand grip to use when opponent has arm inside guillotine. He then shows some rolling collar chokes and an interesting triangle choke to use when have opponent’s back, both are facing the mat. One technique that he did show that I did not like (and I think it was the only one in the entire series that I did not like or consider high percentage move) was a choke from side mount where you use your shin. It looked like you had little control of your opponent which could make his escape easier. I’m sure someone as skilled as Koulikov could use it but I suck and think it would be a hard move for me to use. Koulikov then shows counter to wrestling collar tie that leads to takedown and then rear naked choke.

Self defense portion of dvd again uses some of the choking techniques Koulikov demonstrated earlier in the video. He shows how to counter lapel or shirt grab that leads to rear choke, an arm drag technique to rear choke, etc. The dvd ends with Koulikov talking about his background and sambo school (sambo 70) and his instructor. I found this personal insight to be interesting and always like it when tapes have such information

  1. Mount, side mount and scarf hold attacks

Koulikov show knee on belly controls and attacks and counters to opponents escape attempts. He then discusses hold downs (immobolizations) with comparisons and benefits of having legs extended and legs up close (on your knees).

Koulikov spends a lot of time on scarf hold position. He states “headlocks not good” and shows how to put a lot of pressure and use proper technique with submissions on neck and arms while in scarf hold. Koulikov shows some interesting submissions to counters if opponent tries to escape by framing his arms. Excellent move and great details.
He then shows some counters to scarf hold and shows how to frame the arms to avoid the nasty submission he previously showed. All good technique with solid explanation. Koulikov shows side mount attacks and counters as well as mount attacks and escapes. Much of the information I had seen before but with a sambo twist

  1. Attacking the back & back escapes Koulikov starts by talking about turtle position and explains jiu-jitsu concepts from this position and states he wants to show different techniques (after all its not a bjj tape but sambo!) He shows rolling arm lock but makes it a point to say its not a good move to do if not wearing gi. When he said this it immediately reminded me of the Hugo Duarte vs. Tank Abbot fight. Hugo made that mistake and got pounded. Koulikov then shows turnovers to immobolizations and how to secure figure four lock around opponent’s waist to “crush his guts out.” Remember when I said Koulikov seemed like a nice guy, I take it back! He show attacks from turtle such as rolling knee bars and ankle locks. You may have seen some of these before but Koulikov does show it with good details and solid instruction. Koulikov also shows how to escape guillotine if you are on bottom of head to head position on your knees.
  1. Ground Fighting Combinations:
    This dvd essentially is how to flow from technique to technique when opponent counters first move. For example, opponent counters omo-plata which leads to another lock which he showed on previous tape. He then goes on to show this submission from several scenarios including as a counter to Achilles lock to sweep to this submission.

    Shorter tape (still almost an hour as others are over an hour) but interesting combinations and counter to counters

  2. Winning Tournament Techniques
    This dvd primarily consists of throws and takedowns. Koulikov’s grip work mostly seems to have him gripping over his opponent’s back and grabbing his belt. From there he shows sweeps & foot throws with some nice tips regarding grips, angles and positioning. Koulikov shows what he calls his favorite throw and then counter if opponent defends this throw. He then shows some takedown defense including rolling kneebar off opponents single leg td attempt just to name one. He also shows throwing technique if opponent has inside control or double unders. Tape ends with brief history of sambo, description of rules and equipment

  1. Fitness workout

Dvd starts with Koulikov stating this is not a workout if you want to be a bodybuilder but instead is a fighter’s workout. He states neck strength important to grappling so spends time working neck with many variations of the bridge. He then shows some partner body lifts for over body strength and a workout that incorporates burpess that Koulikov states will make you “feel like hit with a hammer in chest”. His student shows some lifts and throwing exercising using grappling dummy and an exercise to develop punching power. Many of the partner exercises are grappling specific. The one thing I didn’t like is that Koulikov rushed through the techniques but still spent enough time so you could understand and incorporate this workout.

  1. Street Self-Defense

Koulikov shows how to counter strikes and how to counter wrist grabs (both cross grip and same side). He said your stance should be unassuming and you should not immediately jump into fighting stance. He seemed to indicate he once made that mistake in former Soviet Union and everyone wanted to then fight the “karate guy”. Koulikov shows how counter knee strikes, proper blocks and counters when you are bent over and he talks about this is not good position to be in vs. Muay thai. Koulikov makes interesting point when discussing street sprawl vs. wrestling sprawl and how to defend bull rush (football tackle). He shows some counters to club and knife attacks, an area that doesn’t really interest me but quickly moves into mixed martial arts guard and how to defend person punching you while you have him in your guard.
There is much more but this review is so long that Kirik may permanently ban me if I take up more bandwith. As I stated, it is a 10 dvd series with each dvd running at least an hour so it is loaded with information. I would welcome opportunity to train with Mr. Koulikov as he obviously is very skilled. Again, solid series, 4 stars out of 5. Website for it is www.shogunmedia.com

THANX FOR THE WRITE UP! Interesting read. Since my exposure to sambo (as well as bjj) is very limited, how would you compare the techniques and approaches to other stuff out there (be it judo or bjj)? Could you give us one or two specific eamples? (after your carpal tunnel syndrome heals:))

Cool, thanks for taking the time to write all that. I met Vlad at a seminar a few years ago ( and his wife) they both are real nice people.

Great review! Thanks so much!!



*Vlad Is Awesome. Just got a really good email promotion from shogunmedia.com where you can get his Complete 10 DVD Sambo Submission Fighting Set for just $99.95. Says you have to call or fax for the special deal by Jan. 31...just faxed mine.

Hi Samurai3000,

Thanks for the heads up! BTW, is there a promotional code or anything, or can we just call/fax?



I faxed my order to fax# 1-949-429-5128 or call 1-949-493-1428...this special deal is not even on their website.

Sounds good then,

Thanks for the info!

Hmmm...sounds like a great deal but I wonder why they aren't advertising it? Maybe its too good to be true. If they are offering special I wonder if they would be interested in emailing Kirik the details so he can let all forum members know? If forum members are like me, we are notoriously cheap sob's! lol. I always like when video producers have a sale. Gotta give WMA & Island credit for cutting forum members deals in the past. Perhaps shogun is doing the same.

Props to Vlad for a great series. The production was A+, Shogun has a hit on its hands

Vlad rules! A great guy who deserves what is coming to him in the way of praise!