Unity Sombo

About the instructor

Unity Founder Steve Morrison
Steve is a former British Middleweight judo champion, who has trained in Judo alongside such prestigious & legendary British Judo names such as Brian Jacks, Neil Adams, Elvis Gordon, Ray Stevens, Densign White, Karen Briggs to name but a few.

Steve actually defeated Ray Stevens at squad training only two weeks prior to Ray winning a silver medal at the 1984 LA Olympics.

Steve grew up in Swanscome near Dartford Kent and initially started in boxing as a kid eventually Steve found Judo in school in Dartford and Aikido under Soke Andy Mcgill who is now a 10th Dan instructor in Kempo Kwai.

He spent several years living in Japan; training under with & alongside such Judo legends as Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki (1981 Judo World champion & former Sombo World champion), Hidetoshi Nakanishi (Former World Champion), Toshihiko Koga (Three times World Champion and Olympic Gold and Silver medallist) & Yasuhiro Yamashita the 23 stone judo legend who after a remarkable career in which he won five gold medals in international competition and never lost a Judo match from the age of twenty years old (including gold in the world championships in ’79, ‘81, ’83 and Olympic gold in ’84) .

Steve has stated that he regularly defeated Koga in Ne-waza practice but in nage-waza (stand up techniques) he was unbelievable, Yamashita was huge and incredibly fast for such a big man and that Kashiwazaki who is still reputed to be the greatest ever ne-waza (ground techniques) specialist who has ever existed in the world of Judo was like fighting glue.

During these years in Japan Steve also gained a 4th Dan Black belt in Ninjitsu under a relative of Soke Masaaki Hatsumi & a 2nd Dan black belt in Shotokan karate.

Steve is still involved with members of the current British judo team where he teaches his speciality of Ne-waza (ground techniques). He has a few young individual students who he is coaching at present with a view to preparing them for the forthcoming & future Olympic & championship events.

In June 2006 Steve won a silver medal in the Senior British Open at over100kg (He unfortunately came in only a kilogram over his preferred weight category and had to enter the weight limit above) despite having the Flu during the week prior & a torn hamstring throughout the tournament!


About the class

Steve has also continued to study the art of Sombo extensively over the years and has trained and competed at clubs throughout Europe as well as in the traditional home of Sombo “Russia” Steve recently trained with British Sombo squad, under watchful eye of Martin Clarke 8th Dan Judo, 6th Dan Jiu Jitsu & Grand Master of Combat Sombo. Steve trained alongside John Clarke (the son of Martin Clarke) who is the reigning 6 time European heavyweight sombo champion.

Sombo is a relatively modern martial art, combat sport and self-defense system developed in the Soviet Union and recognized as an official sport by the USSR All-Union Sports Committee in 1938. The word means “self-defense without a weapon” in Russian. Sambo has its roots in Japanese judo and traditional folk styles of Russian wrestling.

There are three generally recognized competitive sport variations of Sambo.

Sport Sambo is stylistically similar to amateur wrestling and judo. The competition is similar to judo, but with some differences in rules and uniform. In contrast with judo, Sambo allows some types of leg locks, while not allowing chokeholds and focuses on throwing, ground work and submissions.

Combat Sambo. Developed for the military, Combat Sambo resembles modern mixed martial arts, including striking and grappling where choking is legal. Competitors wear jackets, hand protection, shin and head protection.

Freestyle Sambo – Follows a unique set of Sambo rules created by the American Sambo Association (ASA) in 2004. These rules differ from traditional Sport Sambo in that they allow choke holds and other submissions from Combat Sambo that are not permitted in Sport Sambo as well as certain neck cranks and twisting leg locks. Freestyle Sambo, like all Sambo, focuses on throwing skills and fast ground work. No strikes are permitted.
Steve Osotogari
Contact Steve Morrison, 0776 991 3649,