Savate, what is that?
Savate aka French Kickboxing or French Foot Fighting is a martial art
from France that combines boxing and kicks. In Savate only foot kicks are used as opposed to some arts allowing shins and knees to be used. Hence Savate is on of the few martial arts where it’s practitioners train with their martial arts shoes on. And for you new MMA fans out there, Savate was actually used in the first UFC tournament by Gerard Gordeau a Dutch Savate champion who defeated a Sumo wrestler and an American Kick boxer.
And while the name ‘Savate’ may not be familiar to you it has been featured in TV shows and movies including the children’s cartoon Ben 10, Jet Li’s Kiss of the Dragon and X-Men. Savate was originally developed as a form of street fighting and self-defense on the streets of Paris and Marsielle and has stood the test of time as a form of combat still used and taught today. However for most MMA fighters, Savate’s techniques may sound pretty limited with only 4 types of kicks and punches allowed. These include fouette – the roundhouse, chasse a front or side kick, revers a reverse or hook kick and coup de pied bas which is a leg sweep. Punches and hand strikes are limited to boxing style; jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts.
Savate martial arts has come a long way from it’s roots. Originally it is said to have been developed by sailors using these kicks who were trying to avoid the strict penalties of punching with a closed fist, which was considered a lethal by French authorities. Today Savate is widely taught around the world in countries like England, Finland, Australia the US and of course France. The USA has it’s own Savate association and a number of schools across the country including several in California.
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