How to start Savate (during a pandemic).

How do you start learning a combat sport such as Savate during the covid crisis if you cannot train in a group?

To begin training Savate online, all you need is some safe space (indoors or outdoors), internet access, a few fitness pointers, and some technical coaching. We have the last two sorted if you have the first two.

Start by working on your foundation strength, flexibility, and conditioning, then you can enjoy and appreciate the moves; next learn the strikes (there are 4 kicks and 3 punches in Savate) and footwork. You can do this safely and usefully on your own, using an online guide, without a partner.

The people who contact us with an interest in learning Savate are usually looking for:

  • exercises to improve their kick mobility;
  • technical breakdowns;
  • weekly workout suggestions;
  • tips on running and conditioning;
  • fitness indicators;

that sort of thing.

That’s why we created ‘Sofa to Savate’ – a month-long online course covering everything you need on how to start Savate, even if you are stuck at home during a pandemic.

The course is in 7 parts:
Introducing Savate: Why Get Off the Sofa?
How to do it: building a training practice.
Week 1: A Strong Posture.
Week 2: Using Fists and Feet.
Week 3: Putting it Together.
Week 4: Measure Progress
What To Do Next.

Here are some extracts from the course:

From ‘Sofa to Savate Section 2: building a training practice.

Savate is a sport that relies more on technique than on pure conditioning. Of course, with both in place you will be at your peak. Thinking for a moment about predominance of technique: this implies regular training and habit. We learn technique best when we practise it regularly, get to know it inside and out, play around, and befriend the moves. Precise technical detail requires repetition and patience to get right. Fighting technique is also complex – there are many moving parts to study and adjust. I have found that through attention to detail – by, for example, testing out whether a small movement left, or a shift of bodyweight right, or a slightly longer or shorter stance works best for this or that kick – I get better at understanding technique

Now, if every workout you do takes an hour or more and tires your body out, there simply won’t be time in your week to develop this kind of relationship with technique. So you want to find a way to study technique more often.

One way is to bring it into quotidian tasks and moments. Waiting for the toast to pop? Imagine where would your bodyweight would need to be to catch the bread with a hook? Standing by a bus stop – how would you move sideways (décalage/débordement) to escape into the space around it? Standing by your work chair, might you be able to control a fouetté to the head and back segments such that the chair doesn’t move?

Before preceding: a caution or two. Obviously, if you are not warmed up, you will be limited as to what you should try – that’s why some of these are written as thought experiments. And if you do find yourself fouetté-ing furniture, you want to be certain you won’t damage anything. But, if you are sensible, this kind of merry obsession with technique is a great way to learn in between the harder workouts.