The early developments of Sambo are credited to two researchers of martial arts and Merited Master of Sports of the USSR – Vasili Oshchepkov and Viktor Spiridonov. Oshchepkov’s history with martial arts began in his youth, where as an orphan, he was sent to Japan in 1905 (due to the transfer of South Sakhalin to Japan). During his time there, he learned judo and received a black belt by 1913. Not long after finishing his studies, Oshchepkov returned to Russia where he would immediately organized circles of Judo.
By 1929, he acted as a teacher at the Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth and Tourism and it was here he trained many representatives from the USSR. Through his encounters, he noticed what the USSR combat system was lacking and the struggles in applying martial arts for effective fighting purposes. Looking deeper into the issue, Oshchepkov began his journey into eventually creating the basis of Sambo.
Viktor Spiridonov volunteered into the military at an early age and served as a second lieutenant in the Russo-Japanese war. During this time, he had received a wound from a bayonet that resulted in his left arm being inept. It was this injury, however, that helped add the fluid grace in sambo, since his contributions to sambo were more about utilizing the opponent’s strength against himself. His training in Greco-Roman wrestling was also a major