Whitburn martial art expert aims to train next generation in Russian wrestling

A Whitburn man is aiming to pass on his wrestling skills to the next generation of martial art fighters.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 07 January, 2019, 05:00
Sambo wrestler Barry Gibson wins bronze in World Master Championship

Barry Gibson took bronze when he competed in the World Masters Sambo Wrestling Championship in Morocco to add to his growing collection of medals in the sport.

The 44-year-old had qualified for a place in the contest after winning the British championship for the third time.

Sambo wrestler Barry Gibson wins bronze in World Master Championship. Steve Taylor (back)

Alongside his World Masters Bronze medal he is also the Commonwealth Combat Sambo champion, three times British champion and two times Scottish champion.

Sambo Wrestling was designed and used by the Soviet Red Army in the early 1920s in a bid to improve their hand-to-hand combat skills.

It is similar to judo and jujitsu with other types of wrestling incorporated.

Mr Gibson found a love of martial art at the age of six when he discovered judo.

He later moved onto Sambo Wrestling after being introduced to the combat sport when he competed in the British Championship organised by a friend who had learned the art during a visit to Russia.
Despite never having had a lesson, he went on to win the contest relying heavily on his judo skills.

Mr Gibson, who runs Red Star Sambo in Roker Avenue, Sunderland, said: “I got into Judo by default as my dad was into Judo, then I started doing competitions and it went from there.

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“I got into Sambo, through a friend, and being eventually asked to represent the country was a big honour.

“At the World Masters I went over as Team GB and was captain of the Masters squad. We brought three medals back, two bronze and one silver.

“It was a great event and we were competing against people from places like the Ukraine, China and Mongolia.

“I never thought when I first started out I would end up representing my country or running my own club.

“Sambo Wrestling is massive globally, but is still relevantly unknown in this country, but it is getting more of a profile.

“There has been movement in that it could one day become an Olympic sport - unfortunately it will come too late for me to compete. But you never know, I could be coaching the next Olympic champion.”

Barry runs his Sambo Wrestling Club on Sundays, 5pm and Mondays and Wednesdays, at 8pm. The sessions are open to those aged 14-years and over.

For details visit Red Star Sambo on Facebook.