Cell:MFS Corsaire/Savate 1
MFS Corsaire Savate Training I
History of Savate
The origins of Savate can be traced back to the end of the 18th century. It is thought that by the 1800’s ‘La Savate’ was being used as a simple street fighting art that utilised open hand strikes and kicks. There are many stories which trace the origins of Savate, but most seem to agree that the art developed in the tough streets of Marseilles.
It is not known what exact influences moulded the style but it is speculated that sailor’s returning from the orient and the influence of Basque fighting due to the population of Basque’s in southern France, are the principle shapers. The first detailed study of these fighting styles that were emerging in Marseilles was made by Michel Cassuex in about 1820. He noted that some of the kicks used, had a very definite and precise mechanism and were not simply the result of throwing a leg out.
Cassuex introduced Savate Marseilles, as it was then known, to Paris. He opened up a Salle or practice gym in Courtille, which attracted some interest from the fashionable elements of society that existed at that time, for example, the Duke of Orleans is thought to have trained in the art.
It was one of Cassuex’s pupils, Charles Lecour, who is accredited with introducing the English style of closed fist punches, after he himself was beaten in a match by the English boxer, Owen Swift. It is said that Charles went to England to study ‘Boxe Anglais’ and later returned to Paris. Bruce Tegner accredits Hubert Lecour (Charles Lecour’s brother) with this in his book entitled ‘Savate: French Foot and Fist Fighting’. But we will go with the majority view and assume Charles introduced the closed fist punch. Thus ‘La Boxe Française’ was born.
‘La Boxe Française’ incorporated English boxing rules within its mandate, where these applied to punches and the legacy of these rules is found today. A number of exponents of Savate came onto the scene at this time, such as Hubert Lecour and Louis Vigneron. But it was Joseph Charlemont who was to have a lasting influence on the sport. Charlemont taught Boxe Française alongside La Canne in Paris, but he had to flee into exile following the defeat of the republicans (whom he backed) at the hands of the monarchist’s. He settled in Belgium and opened boxing schools there which became highly successful, and he published his first book on French Boxing methods.
Following the establishment of the Third Republic, Charlemont received an amnesty and returned to Paris and went about setting up further schools until French Boxing reached the height of its popularity just before the outbreak of the First World War. By this time his son Charles Charlemont, had gained notoriety within the sport along with other notables such as Victor Castéres and Georges Carpentier. By the end of the 19th Century it was estimated that there was more than 100,000 practitioners of La Boxe Française. Sadly the two intervening Great wars nearly wiped out the sport and it is thanks to one man, La Comte Pierre Baruzy, whose enthusiasm and commitment, that kept the sport going.
Competitions in Savate
In Savate there are three levels of competition/sparring
Assaut or light contact for Red Glove and above (Normally 3x1.30mins).
In an assaut competition there are three judges that award points for not only, hits to target areas but also variety, style and control of techniques, fighters must wear protection in the form of groin protection and mouth guard, but shin pads and head guards are optional. The use of uncontrolled power will result in disqualification.
Pre-Combat or full contact, but with the requirement to wear Shin-pads and a head guard
At present, in Great Britain, sparring, club and inter-club competitions are in Assaut only. Although Red Glove is required to enter Assaut competitions in Europe, this is not yet a requirement in Great Britain. Sparring within the club is based upon the Assaut regime and is open to all glove grades at the discretion of the Club Coach
Combat or full contact for Silver Glove student, European and World Championships. (5x2mins).
At this level most fights end with a clear winner but the points system is still used to decide in uncertain bouts. Fighters use full power blows and are not allowed any protection to the head or legs. Gum shields and groin protectors are obligatory. Shin pads and a head guard are forbidden
Rank Structure in Savate
Grades are represented by a patch worn on the Integrale or training clothes of the Savateur.
Technical ranks: blue, green, red, white, yellow, Technical Silver 1,2,3 (extremely rarely awarded). (A purple glove is sometime awarded to individuals less than sixteen years of age. Those individual have to retake an exam once they reach the age of 18 years of age in order to be awarded the silver glove.
Competition ranks: Bronze and Competition Silver (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Competition rank are awarded based on the number of wins/ losses
Honorific Ranks: Honorific ranks have nothing to do with technical or competitive abilities. Eligibility is based on exceptional services rendered for the name of Savate. Only 2 honorific rank can be awarded, they are the "vermilion glove and the golden glove" Aside from this ranking there is no other kind of glove ranking. A wrist band and or a chest badge can be worn to designate the corresponding rank of an individual. However, in competition or seminar, the badge must be worn on the left side of the Savateurs' chest.