Savate is both an elegant and effective fighting style. Behind the flow of the movements there is an insistence on accuracy, efficacy, and the ability to break down an opponent scientifically.
Savate teaches accuracy.
All Savate kicks use the boot alone. If other fighting arts kick as though swinging a baseball bat, Savate is like attacking with an ice pick. The fouetté kick strikes with the toe and this permits targeting between or underneath an elbow, say, or round the guard with only a few centimetres gap. Done hard, with a hip turn, this can be devastating. Done loosely, with a whip (as the French word implies) to the solar plexus or anywhere sensitive is debilitating. The chassé uses the heel, again a small weapon with the advantage that a precise target may be selected.
Savate is based on effective timing.
The Savate grading system teaches its students to time their opponents. Hit first, hit second, change line before, during or after striking, anticipate, feint, manipulate. Rather than rote-learn techniques, the grading system of Savate gloves (Blue Green Red White Yellow Silver) trains a Savate fighter to be effective in front of an unpredictable, dynamic opponent.
Efficacy and virtuosity.
Savate is a sparring art. Like boxing, you constantly move and invent, rather than recite forms. Savate techniques are tested with a competitive partner and what works in theory must work in practice. In Savate Combat, full-contact is used and the efficacy of the strike and the impact it makes determines the winner. In Savate Assaut, bouts are won using touch contact and the virtuosity of the techniques is what succeeds. In either case, Savate demands you overcome an opponent with accuracy, variety, invention, timing, and composure. That’s makes it an effective martial art.
Note: The associated discipline of Savate Defense is non-competitive and taught as self-defence.