“French Kickboxing” or as it is known Savate, can be traced as far back as the 18th century, Sailors from Marseilles port practiced a well know sport called “Chausson”.


This sport was purely a sport of kicking.  It is thought that the sailors learned these fighting systems from their travels to eastern oriental countries, where they observed different oriental fighting styles.


The French navy developed Chausson, (pron. Shoh-shon) as a gymnastic game called “fencing with the feet”, the actual term means “slipper” it was because it was referring to the sailors espadrilles. It then became popular as a local street game in Toulon, Aubagne and Marseille. And in Paris the street-kicking was known as La Savate considered as the time-tested “old shoe” that was often the final crippling blow.


By 1820 this kicking sport had become very popular throughout France; it had also had ‘open’ hand strikes added to it.  Charles Lacour, in 1830, introduced punching techniques he’d observed, after losing a bout against Owen Swift, an English Pugilist. Thus from this modern Savate was born a sport that combined East and West.


During the two world wars many of the famous practitioners were lost and the sport suffered a decline and was almost obliterated forever.  Count Pierre Baruzy, who was the French Champion eleven times, with a group of committed supporters, fought to keep the sport going.


One of the committed supporters was Baron J. Shortt, he was the "Patron" of the British Savate Federation. During 1992 there were six national federations that were recognized by the International Federation (FIS), today there are fifteen.


Savate is a sport now practiced in 42 countries and on 4 continents and has emerged as a popular fighting art. In 2003 300,000 Savate licences were issued by the French Federation.


‘Chausson’ enjoyed a growth period, and as a game it employed different rules, however, generally, the kicks and the palm (paume) hits were only to touch the targets without causing injury. When used in self-defense, “Chausson” was used with knives or an improvisation tool.


The sport has a long history of many famous kickboxing legends, these many famous people help in the promotion, demonstration and understanding of the sport as we know it today.


During the late 1930’s and up to the Second World War Savate was included in the syllabi taught the American Marines, the F.B.I, and also taught to the Department of justice. During WWII Many of the French Resistance were trained in Savate.


The benefits of Savate as a training sport are: improved fitness, confidence, balance, control and flexibility. It is a fast, fun, dynamic social activity. Considered to be a complete body and mind total workout.


Reaching achievement is not represented by the Jackets or belts as other MMA. However, colored glove promotional tests are recognized, these carry different grading’s, such as Red, White, Blue, Green, yellow, and exceptional ability the highest rank is Silver Glove.  The color of the gloves don’t change, but the participant is entitled to wear a colored glove ‘patch’ on the front of the training tunic, or shirt to show the rank of the participant. When a student reaches the Red glove technical grading, she or he may then undertake a separate promotional testing in order to become an instructor.

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