Savate Kicks | Fencing with the feet

Savate kicks, unlike those in kickboxing, Thai boxing or MMA, are delivered with the boot. It is a shoe fighting art and students learn to use each part of the shoe as a weapon. More emphasis is placed on kicks than punches in Savate and several rules in competition ensure fighters are, all else being equal, rewarded more for kicking than punching technique. Savate kicks can only strike with the shoe. Shins and knees are forbidden. The trajectory is also important and certain trajectories are not allowed.

savate kicks in competition

The Federation International publishes a rule book which describes legal Savate technique (French language, external link).

List of Savate kicks


Literally the ‘Whip’ kick. Just as a whip’s handle moves a short way to create faster, longer movement at its far end, a rotation of the body causes the thigh, and then the foot to extend. The kicking action is made around extension of the knee.
Striking with: toes or top of the shoe, foot extended.
The final trajectory must be lateral. (Never swung forwards).


Literally the ‘drive away’ kick. Stamping using a piston action and hitting with the leg (knee) at full extension, using the heel to keep an opponent at distance.
Striking with: the heel.

Chassé Lateral.

Hips sideways on.

Chassé Frontal.

Hips front facing.


Reverse kick. The reverse action of a fouetté.

Revers Lateral.

Hips sideways on, strike with sole of shoe, foot extended.

Revers Frontal.

Hips front facing, strike with blade of shoe, foot extended.

Coup de Pied Bas / Balayage

Literally low strike, or sweep. Either striking forwards or outside-to-inside. Can be used to take an opponent’s balance and send them to the floor.
Striking with: inside blade of the shoe. Must strike below the knee of the adversary.

There are 3 heights for kicks:


Low targets.


Middle targets


High targets.

And two sides:


Front (usually left) side.


Rear (usually right) side.

Example: Chassé Frontal, demonstrated by head coach James Southwood.

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