Posted On:8/22/2007 12:24pm
Spiridonov was a combat veteran of World War I, and one of the first wrestling and self-defense instructors hired for Dinamo. His background included Greco-Roman wrestling, Free style wrestling, and many Slavic wrestling styles. As a “combatives investigator” for Dinamo, he traveled to Mongolia and China to observe their native fighting styles.
In 1923, Oschepkov and Spiridinov collaborated with a team of other experts on a grant from the Soviet government to improve the Red Army’s hand-to-hand combat system. Spiridonov had envisioned integrating all of the world’s fighting systems into one comprehensive style that could adapt to any threat. Oschepkov had observed Kano’s distillation of Tenjin Shin’yo Ryu jujitsu and Kito Ryu jujitsu into judo, and he had developed the insight required to evaluate and integrate combative techniques into a new system. Their development team was supplemented by Anatoly Kharlampiev and I.V. Vasiliev who also traveled the globe to study the native fighting arts of the world. Ten years in the making, their catalogue of techniques was instrumental in formulating the early framework of the art to be eventually referred to as Sambo. Here, Oschepkov and Spiridonov’s improvements in Russian wrestling slipped into the military’s hand-to-hand-combat system.
Kharlampiev is often called the father of Sambo. This may be largely semantics since only he had the longevity and political connections to remain with the art while the new system was called “Sambo”. However, Kharlampiev's political maneuvering is single-handedly responsible for the USSR Committee of Sport accepting Sambo as the official combat sport of the Soviet Union in 1938 - decidedly the "birth" of Sambo.
Spiridonov was the first to actually begin referring to the new system as one of the “S” variations cited above. He eventually developed a softer, more “aikido-like” system called Samoz that could be used by smaller, weaker practitioners or even wounded soldiers and secret agents. Spiridonov’s inspiration to develop Samoz stemmed from his injury that he suffered that greatly restricted his ability to practice Sambo or wrestling.
This system of combat with bare hands also has a range of techniques coming from the various native shapes of engagements in the USSR of the most efficient techniques originating in other systems and styles. The integration of the Military Gymnastics Applied to this method, occupies a dominating place in the development of Samoz. The approach of Samoz makes it possible to develop the kinesthetic sensitivity and the psychophysiologic consciousness by means of biomechanical exercises and of fights. The concept of “technique” is misseing in this style of Sambo. This one is rather based on the comprehension of the operation of the human body, how to facilitate the natural inclination of the human body. The training of Samoz lies in the biomechanical effectiveness: to use a minimum of energy to generate a maximum of effectiveness.
Samoz was for a majority of the 20th century taught only in the Dinamo club, and was for various reasons restricted in instruction to those who held membership in Dinamo.
It did however lay a base for other forms of martial art that were developed under the auspices of the Soviet Union throughout the cold war. Most websites regarding Samoz state that its primary instruction is still limited to the MVD and FSB, with limited instruction being given to Russian Civilians.
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