© Osvaldo George, 2008
||Savate, often called French boxing or foot-fighting, is a form of kick-boxing that uses punches and kicks. However, unlike other similar combat styles such as Muay Thai, savate does not allow shin, elbow, and knee strikes. Contestants wear boots as the name of this style means “old shoe/boot” in French.|
||There are different stories about the origins of savate. The earliest reference is documented in Mémoires de Vidocq (1828) where savate is depicted as unarmed fight “[to settle] disputes of honour between rough, tough men” (Loudcher 2000). Some claim Savate was originated from French sailors’ practice in the 17th century who learnt kick techniques while traveling to Asia (Ollhoff 2010). Others argue that Savate developed from street fighting techniques by gangs and thugs.|
Michel Casseux, known as a pioneer of the discipline, first set up a training centre in Paris in 1803, from which it started gaining popularity with the growing number of instructors and practitioners. Savate has been evolved into different forms over the last two centuries such as gymnastics, military training, combat discipline, and sport.
Savate was added as a demonstration sport in the 1924 Paris Olympics and the first French Championships was held in 1937. In 1965, instructors established the National Committee of French Boxing (CNBF), making the discipline more institutionalised. The 2024 Paris Olympics will feature savate as a demonstration sport again.
||- The International Federation of French Boxing|
- French Boxing Federation
- International Savate Federation
||- Loudcher, Jean-François. (2000). Histoire de la savate du chausson et de la boxe française: d’une pratique populaire à un sport de combat. Paris: L’Harmattan.française: d’une pratique populaire à un sport de combat. Paris: L’Harmattan|
- Ollhoff, J. (2010). Martial Arts around the Globe. Minneaspolis, MN: ABDO Publishing Company.
- Green, T. A. & Svinth, J. R. (2010). Martial arts of the world: an encyclopedia of history and innovation (Vol. 2). Santa Barbara, CA: Abc-Clio.