History of Savate
Savate, translated the old shoe or boot, traces its origins as far back as the 17th century to the streets and seaports of France. As a form of exercise French sailors practiced stretch-kicks during their long ocean voyages.
Chausson (Foot Fighting)
These kicks were later incorporated into a form of foot fighting called "chausson," which was used by Napoleons army as a form of punishment to miscreants. Then in the 1800's, a gentleman named Michel Casseux cultivated Savate into an effective form of self-defense that included such techniques as open hand palm strikes, wrestling, and toe and heel kicks to vital striking areas of the body (i.e.- eyes, throat, groin etc.).
Soon, Michel Casseux's knowledge in this unique form of street fighting sparked the interest and popularity among many wealthy noblemen like the Duke of Orleans, heir to the French Throne. However, along with his notoriety there also came skepticism. Casseux found himself testing his skills regularly with street fighters, in Paris, France.
Incorporating English Boxing
In addition to the strikes developed by Michael Casseux, Savate later incorporated punching techniques from English boxing. After losing a bout to an English boxer named Owen Swift, Charles Lecour, one of Casseuxs top students in Savate, traveled to London to study English Boxing. Upon studying English boxing, Lecour returned to Paris and opened his own salle or school teaching a unique self-defense system that blended the punching combinations of English boxing with the kicking strikes of Savate. This fusion of boxing and Savate was to be known as La Boxe Fraçaise (French kick boxing). Centuries later, Boxe Française Savate has evolved into an exciting ring sport and is widely practiced throughout the world.
Boxe Française or french-kickboxing is a sport, which utilizes footwork, balance, and accuracy in unison with punches and kicks to make and effective form of self-defense and cardiovascular exercise. Whether you are looking to get in shape or have the desire to compete, its training curriculum and levels of competition make the sport both challenging and rewarding.
When training in Boxe Française the practitioner wears regulation boxing gloves (ounces vary by weight category), Savate shoes, and a uniform called an integral (similar to a track suit or gym tights). Also, during sparring and competition, students are required to wear a groin protector, mouth guard, and chest protector for females.
Assaut, Pre-combat, Combat
If competition is what you desire, this sport provides three levels of competition. The first level is assaut. Assaut is fighting without force. Participants are judged on technique, tactics, and number of touches scored. The second level of competition is pre combat. Similar to amateur boxing, fighters must wear head gear, in addition to the above required safety equipment.In pre-combat fighters can win either by knockout or judges' decision (points). The last level of competition is combat. In combat, fighting is done without the protection of a headgear. Fighters can also win by knockout or decision (points). Fights usually run three to five rounds with each round lasting 1:30 to 2:00 minutes each.