11 Best Martial Arts for Self-Defense

11 Best Martial Arts for Self-Defense

10. Combat Sambo

The next martial art on today’s list is Sambo. Sambo is a Russian martial art, developed around the 1920s in the USSR to improve the Russian military’s hand-to-hand combat skills. Much akin to modern MMA, it features a combination of strikes, kicks, clinches, throws, grappling, wrestling, and more. 

However, there are a couple of problems with Sambo. One of the main issues is that, as very many people in the international sphere of martial arts conversation agree, it is probably not Sambo but the Russian people who make Sambo so special. 

To elaborate, I will start with the obvious: one of the strongest militaries in the world, the Russian military, has Sambo as their official combat system. This already gives it an insanely good reputation. Besides that, most people training in Sambo are Russians, Kazakhstani people, or people from that general area. 

It is not racist or bigoted to say that quite simply, it matters whether the martial artist is from Russia or not. The country’s socio-economic status, which has been plaguing it for more than a century, has made it completely normal and almost necessary for people to be a lot tougher than people from more comfortable, Western countries. 

Their toughness and hardness translate into extreme discipline and determination in the gym and the ring, which is why Sambo is seen as such fantastic art. This is not to say it isn’t, it is in the top 10 after all, but it is not necessarily because of the art itself. 

Sambo is somewhat like militarized MMA. It takes bits from boxing, wrestling, grappling, and molds them into one art. However, it isn’t as deep in all of them as would be ideal. This is one of the things that puts Sambo so far back on the list, though it isn’t the most important reason. 

The most important reason is actually surprising, and it doesn’t have much to do with the art itself, and not even with the Russian mentality debate. It has to do with availability. Out of all the martial arts on this list, Sambo is probably the worst when it comes to availability. 

There are very few schools in most of the world, and the same is true for even the U.S. There are perhaps no more than a dozen or two functioning schools in the entire country, though exact numbers on this are hard to find. It is very rare to find reputable and successful schools, which makes it a terrible first option to choose. 

If you were given a chance to train Combat Sambo in a Moscow training center for a couple of months or years, you would walk out of there as a person who can most surely defend themselves in a variety of scenarios, even perhaps from other martial artists. However, due to its meager availability, it falls behind many other arts on this list. 

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