Savate Footwork | Changing lines of attack

Savate footwork is at the core of the art. Savate fighters move lightly and quickly and there is a focus on lateral movements in escaping and changing the line of attack. The Savate Red Glove syllabus asks for mastery of two types of lateral stepping – décalage and débordement.

savate footwork decalage demonstration

Savate Footwork.


A Savate stance is with feet about walking distance apart. It should feel comfortable and evenly weighted. Heels are raised off the floor. One side (usually left) will be in advance, and the other will be your rear side. This gives your stance some depth and structure from which to defend, move, and throw strikes.


Literally to ‘make a gap’ or ‘to shift’. To décalage is to step one foot off the line, then strike, before catching up the other foot. The French phrase ‘décalage horaire’ literally means ‘time zone’, and you can imagine a map with timezones drawn vertically as describing the sidestepping locations to each side of your opponent.


Literally to ‘outflank’, either in the sense of water overflowing a bath or a river, or of an army outflanking its adversary on the side. Débordement is made with two steps before striking, so one escapes the line of attack completely before replying on a different line.


None of our drills is static. Every technique requires movement into and out of it. Our instructors will show you how to improve your footwork along with every other part of your Savate game. Practising your footwork every time you train will give you a great foundation – whether it is in service of your next grading, for club sparring, or competitive Savate. Footwork underpins everything else, literally and metaphorically.

Example: Décalage

demonstrated by head coach James Southwood.

Recent online footwork classes

Off-Line Attacks01 May 2022Starting attacks with a décalage (single step) to get off-line, great for avoiding replies and …35Lessonscombinations, footwork
15min Quicker Décalage Workout01 May 2022Let’s build our stepping ability with these slow, explosive, and static exercises which target lateral …17Workoutsfootwork
Balance and Movement05 Nov 2021At the foundation of Savate is good balance and good movement. In this class we …26Lessonsbeginners, footwork
Lateral Movement Mastery01 Aug 2021Take your lateral movement understanding up a level. A month of footwork training drills, reactions, …Coursesfootwork
Lateral Step Reactions01 Aug 2021Test your lateral step (déc et déb) reactions against different attacks, and box against me …36Lessonsfootwork
Explosive Step Workout01 Aug 202120 minutes designed to improve the speed and balance of your fast stepping. Available on …24Workoutsfootwork
Lateral Movement Masterclass01 Aug 2021This video will take your lateral movement understanding up a gear. Do you stay in …3Analysisfootwork
Evading Low Kicks31 May 2021Keep your legs away from incoming strikes with these 3 escapes plus bonus footwork fitness …38Lessonsdefences, footwork
Décalage + Débordement Workout24 May 202120 minute workout to target your legs, technical form, and stepping speed. Available on London …29Workoutsfootwork
Red Glove Focus Drills08 Feb 2021My top selection from the Savate Red Glove training syllabus – evade and counter your …44Lessonsfootwork, grading
Step and Punch: 10 boxing footwork drills01 Feb 202110 drills / 20 minutes training to improve your boxing game. To box well with …24Workoutsboxing, footwork
20 Minutes of Footwork (Leg Strength) Drills14 Dec 2020Get stronger legs and faster feet. A great Savate footwork leg workout comprising 20 separate …29Workoutsfootwork
Leaving Axis with Débordement28 Sep 202053 minute class. Focus on Footwork. Learn how to out-flank your opponent using Savate footwork …53Lessonsfootwork
Décalage and Débordement in Action24 Sep 2020Can you tell your décalage from your débordement and change line effectively on an opponent? …10Analysisfootwork
Advancing and Retreating21 Sep 20209 minute training clip. Make your forward and backwards movement work for you. Training advice, …9Technical Clipsfootwork
Making Angles: Stepping with Décalage.14 Sep 202044 minute class. Focus on Footwork. Learn how to shift your line to beat an …44Lessonsfootwork
Footwork in action10 Sep 2020Take your footwork further. Expert analysis of Savate fights illustrating principles of good footwork on …9Analysisfootwork, tactics
What to do with your feet:07 Sep 2020Bouncing. Maintaining lead. Circling. Moving from centre of gravity. Taking small steps. use footwork for …10Technical Clipsbeginners, footwork
Focus on Footwork01 Sep 2020Want to improve your footwork? This course is for you. Savate footwork is unique and …Coursesfootwork
Foot Placement06 Aug 2020Aims To investigate best foot placement for certain strikes and movements. Contents Warm-up. 1. Conventional. …44Lessonsbeginners, footwork, lockdown
Débordement + Punch03 Aug 2020Aims To move and punch better; to explore the sequence: débordement + punch, using 3 …43Lessonsboxing, footwork, lockdown
Step and punch20 Jul 2020Aims To improve our motion forwards while punching. Contents Warm-up. Direct. Uppercut/hook. With débordement Freestyle. …45Lessonsboxing, footwork, lockdown
Lateral Movement07 Jul 2020Aims To reinforce our lateral movement by practising it within combinations. Contents Warm-up. Part 1: …44Lessonsfootwork, lockdown
Croisé22 Jun 2020Technique 48 mins | Warm-up | Chassé croisé | Revers croisé | Fouetté croisé | …48Lessonsfootwork, lockdown
Débordement Inside-Outside04 Jun 2020Technique 47 mins | Warm-up | Poing-pied | Pied-poing | Pied-pied | Fitness and revision …47Lessonsfootwork, lockdown
Changing Angles26 May 2020Technique 39 mins | Directs + change angle | Chassé + change angle | Turning …39Lessonsfootwork, lockdown
Dec et Deb07 May 2020Décalage et Débordement Technique 42 mins | Footwork warm-up | Squat warm-up | Dec punch …42Lessonsfootwork, lockdown
Forwards/Backwards30 Apr 2020Technique 28 mins | Forward/back footwork | Striking when changing direction | Punching forward/back | …28Lessonsfootwork, lockdown
Circular Attacks23 Apr 2020Technique 36 mins | circular footwork | step punch | step kick | turn and …36Lessonsfootwork, lockdown
Débordement09 Apr 2020Débordement (out-flanking) – 9th April 2020. 40 mins | Débordement + punch | Débordement + …40Lessonsfootwork, lockdown
Answered: Pivot vs Débordement07 Apr 2020Member question: ‘What is the difference between a boxers’ pivot and débordement in Savate?’ Answer: …1Technical Clipsfootwork, lockdown
Decalage02 Apr 2020Décalage (making a gap) – 2nd April 2020. 42 mins | Décalage footwork explained | …42Lessonsfootwork, lockdown
Angles19 Mar 2020Starting an attack on one angle, finishing on another. – Filmed live Thursday 19th March …39Lessonsfootwork, lockdown