Savate

Short History

     From the beginning of the 19th century, in the south of France, especially in the port of Marseille, sailors developed a fighting style involving high kicks and open-handed slaps, known as le chausson. La savate was a northern French development, especially in Paris' slums, and this was simply a slang term, which meant 'old shoe'. Whilst Savate was originally regarded as a method of street-fighting, as time went on it gradually started to become systematized. The very first training establishment 'Salle' was opened by Michel Casseux, in 1825, and promoted a regulated version of chausson and savate. At the time, however, savate still suffered from its past, and initially tended only to attract those of ill-repute and the lower social classes.
     Casseux's pupil Charles Lecour was exposed to the English art of boxing when he witnessed an English boxing match in France 1838. He then trained in boxing for a time before combining boxing with what he felt was the best of chausson and la savate to create the sport of savate. Savate was developed professionally by Lecour's student Joseph Charlemont and then his son Charles Charlemont. Charles continued his father's work and under him savate was later codified under a Committee National de Boxe Française. Perhaps the ultimate recognition of the respectability of savate came in 1924 when it was included as a demonstration sport in the Olympic Games in Paris. The International Savate Federation (FIS) was founded in 1985.

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