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Human Weapon Savate Streetfighting 2/5


Also known as Boxe Française, or French boxing, Savate has somewhat cloudy origins, but many trace it to the 18th century, when French sailors sailing the Indian Ocean and South China Sea learned kicking techniques from Asian cultures and brought them back to the streets of Marseilles. In Paris in 1803, Michael Casseux set up the first school of Savate, named for a type of heavy boot worn at the time. By 1820, Savate had grown in popularity throughout France, and open hand strikes were added to its system of kicks. One of Casseux’s students, Charles Lecour, was responsible for introducing the hand techniques of English boxing into Savate, which led to its second name, Boxe Française.
In 1899, France and England faced off in the so-called “fight of the century,” a bout pitting Savate fighter Charles Charlemont against the English boxer Jerry Driscoll. When Charlemont knocked out Driscoll with a round kick to the stomach, Savate fans claimed dominance. When Paris hosted the Olympic Games in 1924, the organizers included Savate as a demonstration sport. After the two World Wars claimed many of Savate’s great fighters, 11-time French national champion Count Pierre Baruzy was credited with bringing the sport back into prominence in the late 20th century. The National Committee of French Boxing was created in 1965, encouraging the reemergence of Savate, which is now practiced in more than 40 countries in Europe, the United States, Africa and Australia
The primary components of Savate are kicks similar to those of Tae Kwon Do or Karate and punching techniques taken from English boxing. Savate training is often combined with “La Canne,” a mostly defensive system of stick-fighting based on French rapier techniques. Savate kicks use the whole foot, but do not incorporate shin or knee strikes such as those used in Muay Thai. Fighters always execute their kicks with the leg closest to the opponent, while supporting their body weight with the other leg
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