I thought the history portion of the article was OK.
But, the latter portion which concerns MMA was, IMO, a piece of biased ignorant writing. The author's logic and research is flawed. He and I debated about this quite a bit before the article appeared. He really believes (obviously) that if you widh to train for MMA, don't bother with sambo.
OK, let's go through his arguments point by point:
1) Because Andrei Arlovsky say so.
To this I say..so what? Arlovski is misrepresented as being a world championships silver medallist. Wrong. He was a silver medallist in the below 18yr old youth division. Not to snub that, but he was never an active sambo player as an adult. I actually have an e-mail from his manager stating so because I wrote to him about this years back to find out Arlovski's history. Oh...yeah that was when Arlovski used to say he loved sambo for his training.
Also, when was Arlovski known as a submission guy anyway? He was always a striker primarily. He even says himself the only time he really used sambo was against Tim sylvia (one of only 3 career subs). And BTW, Arlovksi did not heel hook Sylvia as he states in the interview. He straight ankle locked him. Arlovski says that for gappling and MMA one should study BJJ. Well out of 17 wins, he only has 3 subs. So, who's to say? Not the greatest choice of inteviews regarding Sambo and MMA. Why not interview a more notable MMA/Sambo fighter? Fedor anyone?
BTW, Crigger did not even interview me until I complained about the draft of the article. I had been given an advanced draft because I was to provide pictures. In fact, I provided all the pics except the Fedor pics. (no photo credits. Thanks FIGHT!). In any event, the article would have been worse had I not been a bitched about it's content and having my pictures in an article that trashes my art. I was not even supposed to have been interviewed. The only interviews he conducted were Sonnon who Ironically has a book "Sambo for MMA"...LOL, Arlovski, and Bruce Gabrielson who is far from even relevant in today's sambo world. He did not interview any notable sambo coaches involved in MMA today.
2) The lack of Sambo guys in MMA must be proof
Ok, Crigger clearly is assuming American MMA is the only MMA. He considers Fedor and Taktarov outliers. But, he fails to mention any M1 fighters (where Arlovski got his start BTW) and many fighters from Japanese shows including Kharitonov, Vol Khan, Alex Emilianenko, Andrei Kopylov, Satoko Shinashi, Megumi Fuji, and others.
Regarding American MMA shows, he negelcts TUF winner Amir Sodallah for example...sambo background. Jon Murphy credits his rolling kneebar game to training with Taktarov. I pointed out to him that the lack of sambo guys in US MMA shows has to do more with opportunity and access, that any particluar lack of skill.
Nevertheless, I also pointed out that it is not widely known that Miletich Fighting Systems in Iowa has a sambo coach (Gregg Humphreys), No limits Gym in Irvine, California has a sambo coach (Brett Jacques - who he even quotes in his article), Gladiators Academy in LA has a sambo coach (Doug Fournet)...and these are all well respectd MMA gyms. I listed for him the many MFS guys that have cross trained sambo with Gregg. Serge Gerlach trains a guy who fights in Dream. Omega's club anyone? I pointed out my student's (Kareem Ellington) win against Sakaraba student Kinichi Yamamoto in the MFC and that many amateur and up and coming guys have trained with me specifically for what sambo has to offer to their game. Rich Clementi even attended one of my leg lock seminars and noted how he was going to incorporate it into his training. The fact is that sambo is in MMA, just not as well represented/marketed as BJJ, and it often goes unmentioned. Oh, and what is the only loss the Rickson admits to? A loss in sambo...LOL.
Regarding the lack of Russian fighters in American MMA, I explained to him that it is very difficult for Russian fighters to get visas to come here. That MMA is not nearly as popular in Russia as here and fighters have less opportunity to fight.
3) Sport Sambo does not allow chokes, so sambo guys give up their backs
First off, I find it funny that during the history portion of the article Crigger notes that combat sambo guys do choke. That freestyle sambo guys do choke, and that in Russia, most sport sambo guys train judo...chokes. The mag even put tons of combat sambo pics in the piece! Yet, when it comes to his "sambo is no good for MMA" theory, he quickly forgets all that and locks onto the sport sambo rules.
OK, aside from the fact that Crigger did not even try one sambo class, and simply because a rule set does not allow a technique (chokes), it does not mean that sambo guys don't know chokes. He chose to focus on what some sambists may miss, but not what sambo has to offer. I have trained at 4 different sambo clubs in Russia and they all train chokes to one degree or another. I pointed out that (and he quoted me on this one) that even here in the US fighters train for different rules in different shows...knees to head on ground/no knees to head on ground; elbows, no elbows; etc. That does not mean those fighters suck at knees and elbows.
Regarding the giving up your back argument, then must believe that wrestling sucks for MMA. That's all they do in wrestling to avoid a pin...and they don't submit each other either! I guess by Crigger's logic, Muay Thai must suck for MMA since they don't grapple at all. Boxing must really suck. BJJ must suck since they don't throw or leg lock much, don't stike, and play their back rather than top position. Every style must suck since no style offers everything.
My point to Crigger was that no art offers everything, that every art may have a hole in it's game that must be adjusted for MMA, and MMA is about cross training (even if what he said about sambo was true). The days of style vs style are long gone. To suggest that a style is not good for MMA is very different that suggesting a possible hole in the game.
4) Lastly, he brings out the sport vs RBSD card!
His final thought was so rediculous...
"The emergence of MMA has diminished the luster of Sambo, but you won't hear complaints from the steadfast Russians who promoted it. They'll tell you it was never meant to be a sport, that competition Sambo is merely a by-product of its superior combat form. It was always destined to prove its mettle on the battlefields and back alleys of WWII and the cold war. It's an art that will endure because its victories happen away from the lights and crowds, and because its legacy is cemented in the countless lives it's saved. It's and art form that will continue to be relevant and efficient, no matter what name you call it."
How can you quantify lives saved by Sambo? Or Krav Maga? or Army Combatives? Or anything the military guys train? Damn, he finished by calling us LARPers...LOL.
I generally like FIGHT! magazine, but this article leaves a lot to be desired.
Interesting points Steve. Reading your stuff makes me wish I could take Sambo, but alas, as you stated, there just arent enough schools around to check out. I dont think there are any within 50 miles of us. Anyway, thanks for the insights.
Way to go old man. :ingun:
Originally Posted by sambosteve
You just laid down the law, Steve. Just FYI. Frikkin sweet.
Hey! Just because we share a birthday does not mean you can call me old!
Originally Posted by Omega the Merciless
You're a year older than me. Sucks to be you.
your 40 now...going down hill buddy
I knew Kriger was sort of a n00b, but I didn't realize he was such a tool. I did raise an eyebrow at his labling Kosen Judoka the "Green Berets" of Judo, but this is worse...
A couple of minor things:
Don't forget Mikhail Illoukhine!
If SAMBO is no good for MMA, how come there has been a SAMBO player at the very top of the HW division since around 1995 (Oleg-Vov-Fedor)?
Thai boxers may not have any Ne Waza, but they standing grapple and throw
Pure BJJ for Vale Tudo has its own striking
You're both tweens as far as this old man is concerned
Originally Posted by sambosteve
For the record, apparently since I'm NOT a journalist I want to be accurate, I've only trained Darren Uyenomaya once. But he's since been kicking the **** out of everybody with his improved leglocking :-) It has alot more to do with him as an athlete than Sambo or BJJ as a style of fighting.
Tomorrow I'll go to Carlos's school, he's an awesome BJJ BB and part of a real BJJ lineage (WC argument anyone?!) I love training with him.
Frankly, this style vs style argumentation is -IMO- the sounding of the death-bell for BJJ as a dominant MMA training platform. Didn't Hughes vs Gracie shed some light on this? Its an entirely different game nowadays. As soon as Sambists start making the same kind of shallow assertions...well...we might as well start teaching defense against car-jacking.
Superior training is superior. Crigger needs to take a look at Russian/Soviet wins in Olympic Judo, Olympic Wrestling, Boxing International Sumo etc and realize that they could give a **** about "luster" as far as he's concerned.
And I'm so goddamned tired of empty headed WWII analogies!!! The Soviets won because they were a totalitarian state that absorbed far more casualties than all other combatants combined. I believe that for every one Allied death, every 7 Japanese deaths and 14 German deaths, 84 Soviets died in WWII.
Crigger doesn't know WTF he's talking about. He should therefore write for the San Francisco Chronicle!