“The best kickboxing in the world, perhaps surprisingly to most, is French”.
World Savate Champion James Southwood.
Boxe-Française Savate is a unique ring fighting art. The kicks are French and the punching is from English boxing. The combination creates an agile modern sport that is practised around the world.
Savate has roots in the 1800s, combining the Southern-French kicks of Chausson, with Savate (meaning old boot) from Parisian street fighting. Charles Lecour formalised the art of Boxe-Française Savate in 1838 after reputedly being beaten by an English boxer.
Savate uses angles and strikes that are typically not found in Thai boxing, kickboxing or MMA. Bruce Lee used studies in Savate when writing about Jeet Kune Do.
Grading awards in Savate are called ‘gloves’ and progress as follows:
- Blue Glove. Striking: I touch without being touched.
- Green Glove. Blocking: I avoid being touched and touch in reply.
- Red Glove. Moving: I avoid being touched and reply on a different line.
- White Glove. Anticipating: I touch before I am touched.
- Yellow Glove. Feinting: I create an opportunity to touch.
- Silver Glove. Mastery: I have complete technical proficiency.
There are two types of competition in Savate:
- Assaut – fighters score points with touches, all force excluded.
- Combat – full contact is used to win by KO.
At London Savate we usually train for Assaut, meaning we can spar without getting hurt and use kicks, punches, jumps and spins to score points. We also have Combat fighters who train for knock-outs.
- Canne de Combat is a stick-fighting art that uses many of the same body movements and mechanics as Boxe-Francaise.
- Savate Defense in which street self-protection is learnt, without the sporting aspect.
- Savate Forme is a workout to music in which the moves of Savate are utilised