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EXECUTIVE BOARD (2003 - 2015)

Alexander Barakov. Honorary President & Co-Founder. St. Petersburg, Russia.

Born in 1939, Alexander Barakov is a former Soviet Naval Officer and lifelong martial artist. In addition to his Master of Sport in Sambo, Alexander is a Master in Olympic Weightlifting with ten years experience and holds a black belt in Goju-Ryu Karate. During his earlier years Alexander was a Soviet Naval Sambo instructor. Like many military men, Alexander found himself out of work and immigrated to America after the fall of the Soviet Union. During his 20 years in New York Alexander regularly taught Combat Sambo to many eager students. He expressed a desire to establish an association for the promotion of the style. The American Sambo Association™ is the realization of his dream. Returning home to Russia in 2003, Alexander is now Head Coach for the St. Petersburg Region of the FKE, or Integrated Martial Arts Federation of Russia. He also coaches at his own club, the Suvorov Military Academy and several other locations.  In addition, Alexander is actively involved with training border patrol and anti-terrorist units in hand-to-hand combat.

Stephen Koepfer. President & Co-Founder. New York, New York, USA.

Stephen's first introduction to martial arts was Shotokan at the age of eight (1976). Since that time, Stephen has also been awarded a black belt in Tae Kwon Do (1993) and spent five years training and competing in San Shou (1994 - 1998), culminating with a finish as a finalist in the 1997 United World Championships. Stephen has also gathered competition experience in Tae Kwon Do, Kung-Fu, amateur mixed martial arts, Sambo, and grappling. In 1997 Stephen began coaching; serving as corner man and cut man for many amateur fighters. In 1999 he began training Combat Sambo training under Alexander Barakov, which he continues to teach today.

Stephen is also a Level 1 USA Boxing Certified Coach, an ABC approved MMA judge & referee and attended the 1st Annual Combat Sports Medicine Symposium hosted by the NJ State Athletic Control Board. He has had the pleasure of training under Igor Kurinnoy at Spartak (Ukranian Olympic Training Center), Borec and Sambo 70 (Russia). Additionally, Stephen has taught at the FKE training facility and Suvorov Military Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Stephen regularly offers national and international seminars; has coached his team to wins in Sambo; Submission Grappling; San Shou; and Mixed Martial Arts. In 2008, Stephen was on the US Coaching Team for the FIAS World Sambo Championships and was awarded his Master of Sport of Russia (Combat Sambo) in February, 2009. Stephen has written for Bodyguard Magazine, Ultimate Grappling Magazine and the Journal of Asian Martial Arts. He has served as a technical advisor for the "Human Weapon" (History Channel), "Dhani Tackles the Globe" (Travel Channel) and is producer of the documentary "New York Mixed Martial Arts". Aside from his martial arts background, Stephen is a NY State Licensed Massage Therapist, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts and a Master's Degree in Creative Arts Therapy from Hofstra University.

Aaron Fields. Vice President . Seattle, Washington, USA.

Aaron Fields makes his living as a firefighter. He is an independent scholar specializing in Mongolian history and has made several visits to live and train in Mongolia. Aaron holds a teachers grade in Ju-Jutsu, dan grade in Judo, has considerable experience in Sambo and Mongolian folk wrestling, and has coached high school wrestling. In addition, he is known for his tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and his exceptionally nice legs. Aaron is the chief instructor at Seattle JuJutsu Club and Sea Town Sambo Club.

Serge Gerlach. Vice President. San Francisco, California, USA.

Serge Gerlach has a long history in martial arts with training in san shou, submission wrestling, BJJ, and Combat Sambo under Alexander Barakov. Most recently Serge has trained in Moscow (at Borec and Sambo 70) and Ukraine (at Spartak) with Igor Kurinnoy. He won the heavyweight bronze medal at the 1997 Gene LeBell World Grappler's Challenge in Toronto, Canada; a gold medal (2004) and silver medal (2006) at the United Gracie Tournament in San Francisco; a bronze medal at the 2005 Unity Classic Sambo Tournament; and a silver medal at the 2005 and 2007 North American Freestyle Sambo Championships. Serge holds an instructor rank from New York Combat Sambo, a purple belt in BJJ, and teaches Combat Sambo classes throughout the San Francisco Bay area.

Gregg Humphreys. Secretary General. Bettendorf, Iowa, USA.

Gregg Humphreys is a long time Judoka and Sambist. He has traveled to Russia for Sambo training bi-annually since 1987 and is considered one of the most skilled and knowledgable American Sambo coaches. He currently is the Judo and Sambo coach at Miletich Fighting Systems in Bettendorf, Iowa. Additionally, Gregg is the North American representative for Igor Kurinnoy’s Sambo for Professionals.

Reilly Bodycomb. Vice President . New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Reilly Bodycomb is a renowned sambo coach and international level competitor who has had great success in Sambo and well as submission grappling. He began his sambo training at New York Combat Sambo and later moved to Texas where he coached grappling and Sambo at Guy Mezger's Combat Club. He now resides in Louisiana and coaches at NOLA BJJ Academy. Reilly was on the 2008 US World Team for the 70th anniversary world sambo championships, was a 2010 Bronze medalist at the USA Sambo Open, and in 2011 brought home a gold medal from the Dutch Open Sambo Championships. He has a series of best selling instructional DVDs, a best selling book, and has been an integral part of the American Sambo Association.

Masashi Yoshizawa. Member. Tokyo, Japan

Masashi is the Co-Director for the Japan Sambo Federation and President of the Japan Youth Sambo Federation. He has an impressive competitive and coaching history including a gold medal in the 2000 Pan Am Games and second place in the 1st Annual All-Japan Combat Wrestling Tournament. Aside from his coaching position at the prestigious team SK Absolute, Masashi has been a member of the Japanese National Team during competitions in the All-Asia Sambo Championships, the All-Asia Kurash Championships (Uzbekistan’s martial art), and was the team Captain at the 2005 World Master's Sambo Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He have been on the coaching staff of the Japanese World Team countless times.

Vladislav Koulikov. Vice President. Florida, New York, USA.

Vladislav Koulikov, has been training in sambo since 1984, having received his training at Sambo 70 under the instruction of S.V. Vorotyagin, USSR & World Champion. Instructor Koulikov, was the 1989 Moscow Regional Sambo Champion and both a Gold and Silver Medallist in USSR National Sambo Championships. He holds a Black Belt in Judo & Ni Hon Kenpo Karate. Vlad was a member of the 2008 US World Team and has an extensive list of victories on the grappling scene; including the most technical athlete award at the very first Grappler’s Quest in 1999. Vlad currently coaches at Asylum Fight Team/Advanced Fighting Systems in Ramsey, New Jersey.

Kris Iatskevich. Member. Montreal, Canada

Kris Iatskevich is a martial artist with over 30 years experience. He is the president  of Catch Wrestling Canada and co-founder of the International Submission Wrestling Alliance. He has studied Catch Wrestling under Eddy Wiecz Carpentier since 1996. Kris began training Sambo with the ASA in 2010. In 2013, Kris became an ASA certified referee and has hosted ASA events in Canada since 2012.

Dayn DeRose. Vice President. Madison, New Jersey, USA.

Dayn DeRose, was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1955. He began martial arts training in Judo, at the age of 10, under Sensei Mamoru Shimamoto. He began Karate training in 1973 under Teruhiku Uto, and Jujitsu under Alexander Vongries, in 1978. In 1984, he began to compete in Russian Sambo tournaments, at the national and Pan - American level. His Sambo mentor was Alexander Kheyfets, a former Russian Champion. Dayn has been the Head Fencing Coach at Drew University since 1995, and a member of the U.S. Fencing Coach's Association. He taught Judo and Karate for Sensei Mamoru Shimamoto, at his school in South Orange, New Jersey, for almost 20 years. He is now a senior instructor at South Mountain Martial Arts, in Madison New Jersey, which holds classes in Judo, Karate, Sambo and Jujitsu . He is ranked to teaching levels of Black Belt in Judo, Jujitsu, Karate, Kenpo, and the equivalent in Sambo.

Darrin Richardson. Member. Gosport, England

Darrin Richardson is currently the President of Russian All-Round Fighting UK. He has been training martial arts for 40 years; the last 15 years of which has been Sambo and Combat Sambo. He started his carrier in 1974 by studying of karate (he has brown belt now). Since that time he has earned Black Belt in several styles of Ju Jitsu including a 6th dan. He is currently instructor of kickboxing, mix fight, Sambo, Combat Sambo and R.O.S.S.  As a competitor he has earned 1 silver and 2 bronze medals World Sambo Championships (masters). He was also a Bronze medalist at the European Sambo Championships and World Kuresh Championships. He is Champion in the heavyweight fight of Cornwall and has fought 6 times in a "cage" by the rules of mix fight. In total Darrin has won over 70 national and international medals in various combat sports earning Master of Sport in Sambo and Russian All-round Fighting, Hounoured Coach in Russian All-round Fighting .

Vadim Kolganov. Member. Scotland

Vadim studied in Moscow State University of Physical Culture and Sport, is a 6 time Central Dynamo club champion of Sambo, 1985 Moscow Champion (Judo), 2005 World masters Championship, and 2006 British Sambo Open Championship Bronze Medalist. Vadim’s credentials include over 20 years of Sambo instruction, Black Belt and Master of Sport (Judo), Ju-jutsu Black Belt, and experience with ARB (Hand To Hand Combat), ROSS, Belt Wrestling , American Freestyle Wrestlyng, Karate, Wing-Chun, Muay Thai.

Carlos Cummings. Member. Panama City, Florida, USA.

Carlos's martial arts journey started in 1992 at the age of sixteen in Judo. He trained and competed in Juod, receiving his black belt 1996 under Coach Mani Javaheri when he was 20 years old. For the next 5 years Coach Mani taught Carlos also taught Carlos JuJitsu and Submission Wrestling. In 2001 Carlos and his wife began traveling for work. The first place his travels took him was to Ocala, Florida, where he trained with Master Marc Sanchez in Judo and in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Carlos also traveled to Birmingham, Alabama where he was first introduced to Sambo and studied with Chris Magyar. Carlos later relocated and trained Sambo with Ian Melacheck in Germany. While traveling Carlos would find himself home for short spells and would continue his training with Sensei Mani, finally obtaining a 2nd Dan in Judo in 2006. Carlos also trained Sambo with Stephen Koepfer and Vladislav Koulikov. Moving home to Florida in 2005, Carlos opened his own school and worked in conjunction with several local martial arts schools. Carlos's Sambo School is currently partners with Instructor Richard Higgins at the AMA Academy located on Panama City Beach. Carlos also trains a group students who have an interest in competition; calling themselves the "Zombie Squad". Carlos still finds himself in competition from time to time as well. He is also a TRX Certified Trainer and Modern Army Combative Instructor. As a Prince Hall Free Mason F&AM, he is involved in several charities. Carlos regularly offers national seminars and teaches hand-to-hand combative training for military police and special force units (including TACP Ft. Bragg, Pope Air Force Base and Tyndall Air Force Base).


Ulf Elm.  Member. Växjö, Sweden

Ulf started out in traditional martial arts in 1991 but was first introduced to the world of sport grappling and MMA in 1997 when attending an “anti-grappling” seminar hosted by a local Wing Tsun club. Since then he has been hooked on grappling. Ulf learned the ropes training Pancrase and Shooto under Swedish MMA pioneer Omar Bouiche, who in turn had a Sambo background before beginning his career in Pancrase. Later on Ulf came under the tutelage of Waldo Zapata, a student of Omar’s that became heavily focused on grappling and BJJ. Ulf currently teaches fighters at his own club Växjö Titans MMA and has some competition experience, his crowning achievement being a silver medal from the 2013 European BJJ Open as a brown belt. Ulf’s contact with Sambo came through coach Stephen Koepfer during a visit to NY Combat Sambo in 2012. This opened up a new perspective on combat sports and grappling for Ulf. Since then he has traveled to Russia to train with Igor Kurinnoy and has invited Steve Koepfer over to Växjö, Sweden to host a seminar. Ulf is now focused on getting Sambo organized in Sweden and setting up competitions.