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When BJJ & Sambo Meet

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Back in 2008, there was an interesting tournament that was held. A team of Sambo representatives faced off against a team of BJJ representatives. For the tournament, the rules were modified Sambo, so the rules heavily favored the Sambo stylists. The rules placed heavy emphasis on throws. Ground work was limited to a specific time limit, but the BJJ stylists were allowed to use their guard. There were a few different matches. In the matches, you can see the positive aspects of both styles. The Sambo stylists were on point with their strong throws. Every time one of the Sambo reps went for a throw on one of the BJJ competitors, they were able to finish it. The negative side was that the Sambo reps ground work was not good. There was a lot of stalling and running out of bounds every time the match hit the mat. While the BJJ competitors showed their technical transitions and smooth attacks, their stand up grappling left much to be desired.

Between the four matches, the score was split. Two of the Sambo stylists won by ref’s decision, as the rules heavily favored them. The first match that was won by a BJJ stylist was due to the Sambo stylist getting disqualified for slamming his opponent. The real display would be the final match. In the final bout of the night, the Sambo champion of the team took on BJJ black belt, Ricky Migliarese.

The match would start the same as all the others. The Sambo champ hit a beautiful takedown on Ricky, getting him to the ground. But once on the ground, the Sambo rep would start stalling. Ricky kept working his guard, trying to get to a viable finish, but the match was stood up. The Sambo stylist would go for a one armed throw but failed to get it and Ricky fell to his back and worked his guard again. After some battling from the guard, Ricky would land a quick and strong triangle choke. He finished his opponent with a triangle/armbar combination. Here is a video of that match. Skip ahead to 5:15 to see the match.

The event would end 2-2. Two wins apiece for each team. If anything can be learned from that event, it would be that every style has strengths and weaknesses. The Sambo stylists needed to vastly improve their mat work, while the BJJ stylists needed to vastly improve their stand up grappling. If you are a practitioner of either style, just remember that these weaknesses can always be fixed by cross training. Always realize that your weakness can be amended, and you can become an overall better grappler.


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