What is Sambo/Sombo?
First why the different names the correct name is SAMBO but because of our pre occupation with racism in the English speaking nations, it was decided to call our discipline SOMBO in the English speaking world.
Sambo definitive history can be told by going to http://www.britishsombo.co.uk/Sombo%20History.htm
Sambo in reality is a Jacket Wrestling Sport, wrestling with Jackets is not unusual throughout the World styles such as Cornish, Kurash, Chidaoba, Khapsagay, Gulesh, and Trinta have been around for centuries. Wrestling is most probably the oldest sport in the world a unique way of settling an argument without anyone getting killed and it is not surprising in Countries where the climate was very seansonal they would wrestle in clothing and hot countries without clothing. Over a hundred years ago a new Jacket Wrestling style came on the scene and this was called Judo and was developed by Jigaro Kano, Judo was to become the biggest Jacket Wrestling sport in the World, yet it was more the a Sport it was to become a Philosophy for life. When Jigaro Kano started Judo, Russian Vasili Oshchepkov became one of his pupils when he returned to the Soviet union he was asked to develop a self Defence system he based this on his knowledge of Judo, other Jacket Wrestling styles and striking styles. He realised that Soldiers needed to be fit and strong plus they needed a system which they could actually practise with out getting injured. Sambo went to become a Wrestling Sport while Judo became a sport and Martial Art.
Samboist wear tight fitting Jacket, shorts and soft soled boots, they fight on a cushioned Mat area within a circle similar to Olympic Wrestling. They score 1pt, 2pt, 2pt and total Victory throws, points for holding someone on the ground but no total victory, finally total victory for arm and leg lock submission. Many Judoka consider Sambo a bastardised form of Judo this far from the truth in fact Sambo competitions are far superior to Judo, in Sambo all scores are indicated by the referees hand 1 pt is indicted by a closed fist with the thumb showing, 2pts thumb and a finger, 4pts and a total Victory is the arm raised above the head. A Match starts on a whistle and finishes on a whistle, competitors wear a Red and blue jacket, referee indicates with a red or blue sleeve, throws are easy to judge for example Total Victory throw someone on there back and main standing, gripping is not restrictive with in 10 minutes a complete novice can understand a Sambo Match. This can not be said of Judo all commands are given in Japanese, scores have different hand signals, referees do not indicate what player has scored, only limited holding positions are allowed, some scores are not accumulative, some are, try and explain how a Judo match is fought and your Novice will lose interest in hour.
It is said that Jigaro Kano was not in favour of to much emphasis being put on Contest but if he would return I am sure he would prefer the Rules of Sambo to that of modern day Judo. In the UK Judo is on the decline and I expect the same can be said of the International scene as well, while the growth of International Sambo has been phenomenal over the last 10 years. NO Sambo is not a popular as Judo but with TV taking over most sports, also sports having to adapt to TV it will be Sambo that has colour rules easy to learn and easy to follow. So all you wrestlers and judo Players do not give up your sport just come and try SAMBO