September 4, 2022

7 Reasons Savate is the Perfect Martial Art

Savate, also known as “savate cannes et baton”, is a martial art and its roots can be traced back to the 18th century in France. The origins of this mysterious martial art has been rumored to be started by sailors who acquired various martial art techniques from different cities and cultures.

They mostly incorporated their kicking techniques to manipulate and control reeds and sticks. The first recorded active studying of various martial arts and combining styles distinct from the north to the south, Michael Casseux in 1794 stumbled upon Savate. 

Vintage engraving of a contest between the english boxer Jerry Driscoll and the french Savate figher Charles Charlemont. L’Illustration, 1899

The famous “chausson” kicking styles were borrowed from the North, while savate slapping blows were fused with techniques from the north. These were all observations which Casseux made, ultimately leading him to discovering the school of martial art “Art de la Savate”. 

The techniques taught here were majorly simplified versions of the combination of a myriad of different martial arts. In 1820, the martial art was brought to fruition, marking Casseux’s most significant achievement, after which he passed away – not before passing on the duty of continuing the art form and developing it to his distinguished student, Charles Lecour.

Please read on to find why Savate might be the perfect martial art for you. 

1. Savate: A Self Defense Option 

Savate was primarily made as a mode of self-defense, something which early eighteenth century individuals needed. Since eons ago, Savate has been described by people as a form of fencing executed with your hands and feet. 

It involves kicking, punching, weapons training, grappling, kickboxing, etc. The list can go on. One must understand that Savate is an art, helping an individual by having a positive impact on the mental health. 

Like a lot of great martial arts, Savate no longer resembles what it used to be. With empty-hand techniques employed when standing or jumping in front of an opponent, the other skills and techniques are taught in other schools. Kicking is one of the core components of the martial art and without kicking, a plethora of its techniques would no longer be usable. 

2. Less Chances of Injury 

The use of shoes is said to be imperative in the martial art, hence the saying, “practicing savate without shoes is similar to practicing tennis without a racquet”. Savate shoes are designed specifically to bring out the maximum potential of each kick, whole protecting the practitioner from breaking an ankle. 

A Savateur’s (practitioner of the art) shoes are considered to be their best weapon. Unlike traditional martial arts like Jiu-jitsu, Japanese Karate, Muay Thaietc., Savate is foot-fighting formulated by a detailed scientific study of martial arts that has occurred over the years. 

After learning it well, it enables an individual to deliver offensive, as well as defensive, moves without any fear of breaking joints or injury. In doing so, it instills in its practitioner’s a sense of confidence and self-control. 

3. Diverse Techniques And Procedures

To make Savate a legitimate practice of martial art, there have been restrictions placed on what type of punches, as well as kicks, are allowed in the ring.

Read the following to get a sense of what type of kicks practitioner’s used to utilize during a match:

  • Chasse: roundhouse kick which uses both, the heel and the sole of the feet, mainly used for defensive purposes. 
  • Fouette: an offensive roundhouse kick.
  • Reverse: This kick is similar to a roundhouse kick, but instead, it is more circular and is aimed at the face of the opponent. 
  • Coup de pied bas: A kick to the shin while adding more power by leaning backwards at the time of impact. 

Some kicks are very closely related to taekwondo. There are some kicks involved in Savate which require an individual to kick while jumping, something Muay Thai and Taekwondo both incorporate. 

4. Bolsters A Healthy Competitive Spirit

Individuals can either dabble in Savate on a basic technical expertise level, or they can choose to pursue it further by involving themselves in competitions. However, the evaluation of one’s skill is skewed only because each school which teaches Savate slightly differs in terms of form and testing. 

Instead, all year round, there are Savate competitions – both international and national, occurring all across France and even in the US. Many practitioners enter these competitions for prizes and because they want to prove themselves as martial artists who love the sport. 

5. A Great Form of Workout 

Considered to be the art of fencing but with hands and feet, one can understand how distance plays a role in determining fights in Savate. This is one of the unique aspects of the martial art. 

And like all other martial arts which were ever created, Savate was created primarily to give people a method of protecting themselves at a time when the world was in constant conflict. Thus, practicing this art form involves a lot of kicking, jump-kicking, hooks, etc. 

Practicing something like Savate requires a lot of intensive strength training. This is because to execute the kicking and punching techniques to their maximum potential, one must be physically fit and active, or else the body will not be able to take the strain. You can be sure to expect rigorous body training – don’t worry, it is meant to train your body so that it can process and absorb techniques faster. 

6. Teaches the Art of Self Control

Sailors were forced to use these techniques alongside sticks in order to control them effectively when on ship. Imagine how in tune they must have been with their bodies that they could execute such techniques while on a moving ship. 

Since a myriad of the techniques involve utilisation of jump kicks and fast movements in the form of dodging or/and parrying, practitioner’s need excellent breathing control. Like all sports, Savate requires students who understand how their hands and legs are supposed in relation to what they see. This self-control turns into self-confidence.

7. Improvisations And Adaptability Over Time

To truly commit to the sport and the continuity of the martial art, one must always keep in mind the innovation gone behind the formulation of the strikes in savate. It is almost like a modern-day martial art, this is because it is constantly subject to change caused by human creativity and the ever-lasting scientific study of martial arts. 

In the long run, it will turn even simpler and more efficient because that is just the type of martial art it is. Always changing in accordance to breakthroughs in the field of martial arts and fighting techniques, one can be rest assured that Savate has effectively escaped redundancy. Techniques like Tai chi and Chinese Kung have become redundant primarily because of their outdated techniques and movements, something which Savate is the very antithesis of. 


Savate is one of those sports that is more scientific than anything. It is an amalgamation of various other fighting techniques, making it a dangerous sport. This has also turned Savate into a renowned martial art which borrows only the strengths of other techniques, not their weaknesses. Be confident as a Savate practitioner and feel less insecure about yourself today. 

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