Some people involved in Sombo/Sambo criticise the British Sombo Federation for recognising our affiliated association having gradings similar to Martial Arts. They maintain true Sambo does not have such schemes.
Well they are wrong. When the International Amateur Sambo Federation was formed in 1985 they had a grading system recorded in their License book but they named the grades after animals such as the Jaguar. I still have my original FIAS license book and I am the only person in Great Britain who has been active in Sombo/Sambo since its formation.
This scheme was dropped after just a few years and a modified version was that if you won a National Title you could wear a Black with National Colours i.e. Black Belt with a Union Flag if you won the British, the BSF never adopted this system because to equate someone who won a British with someone who won the Soviet Union Championship was ridiculous.
So it was agreed that those associations who wished to adopt a grading system could do so as long as it was vetted by the BSF. Most Sombo Players have not bothered because we still believe it is a competitive sport and your prowess is shown on the Mat but it useful to encourage new students and to keep people involved who are passed their prime or cannot compete because of injury.
There was also a Belt system for World Championship competitors: Gold Belt was presented to the World Senior Champion, Silver Belt for Silver medallist and Bronze Belt for Bronze medallist. A World Masters Champion was entitled to wear a Bronze Belt and a Grand Master was allowed a Gold belt.
Grand Master is a FIAS appointment.
I am proud to say that I am entitled to wear a Silver Belt for World Championship Silver 1986 and a Gold Belt, as I am the only FIAS Grand master in the UK. Sadly the system is no longer in operation and the only time I actually saw a presentation of Belts was in a banquet at the World Championships in 1985 San Sebastian Spain where at the banquet each World Medallist was presented with their relative Belt, something I would like restored.
CombatSombo, this style, was developed by me, Martin Clarke, and is a registered Service Mark and has been for over 20 years and I do organise gradings in CombatSombo, SportCombatSombo, CombatSombo Wrestling and Sombo all of which are very successful. Not only do players in Great Britain grade but Countries as far and wide as USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa have used my system and because the system is mine I can check the authenticity of every CombatSombo Black Belt and so can you - if they do not have my signature and stamp on their license or certificate they do not hold any CombatSombo Grade.
Combat Sambo is a totally different Sport involving grappling and full contact striking, it is mainly practised in Eastern European Countries. Russian Martial Arts is administered in Great Britain by Matthew Clempner President of FORMA.