Savate is also known as boxefrancaise, French boxing or French footfighting. It is a French combat sport that uses the hands and feet as weapons combining elements of English boxing with lovely kicking techniques. It focuses on striking and originated from France. The Savate was created by Michel Casseux and was borne out of boxing and ancient foot fighting.

In the Savate, only foot kicks are allowed. The word Savateis a French word for ‘Old shoe or boot’. The male and female Savate practitioners are called a tireurand tireuserespectively.


It is an amalgam of the French street fighting techniques from the beginning of the 19th Century. It was mostly practiced in Paris and Northeren France. It is conjectured that the Savate style was developed in its way to allow the fighter to use a hand to hold on to something for balance on a rocking ship’s penalties for using a closed fist, which was considered at that time- a deadly weapon under the law.

In competitive or competition Savate, there are only four kinds of kicks allowed along with four kinds of kicks allowed along with four kinds of punches allowed:


  • Fouette- literally ‘whip’, roundhouse kick making contact with the toe-hard rubber-toed shoes are worn in practice and bouts, high, medium, or low.
  • Chasse- side or front piston-action kick, high, medium or low.
  • Revers- Frontal or lateral making contact with the sole of the shoe, high, medium or low
  • Coup de pied bas- low kick, a front or sweep kick to the shin making contact with the inner edge of the shoe, performed with a characteristic backward lean low only.


  • Direct bras event (jab, lead hand)
  • Direct bras arriere (cross, rear hand)
  • Crochet (hook, bent arm with either hand)
  • Upper cut (either hand)

Savate did not begin as a sport but as a form of self-defense and fought on the streets of Paris and Marseille. This type of Savate was known as Savate du Rue. Training in Savate du Rue includes knee and elbow strikes along with locks, throws, headbutts, sweeps and take downs.

Savate today is practiced by amateurs all over the worls. Due to its long and distinguished history, Savate in irresistibly a valuable addition to the world of martial arts.

Despite its grace and beauty, Savate is an effective method of self-defense. It has been described as fencing with the hands and feet. Today, the system includes only empty-hand techniques delivered while standing or jumping. The other skills are taught separately under different names.

During training, Savateurs wear shoes specially designed for kicking. Actually, shoes are regarded as the primary weapon of a fighter and can be deadly on the street. In France, it is said that practicing Savate without shoes is like playing tennis without a racquet.

All Savate strikes are the result of scientific study and more than a Century and a half of ring experience.

In Savate, kicks can target an opponent’s legs, body or head.

One of the Savateur’sfavourite methods of attack is to deliver a low kick followed by a roundhouse to the body with the tip of the shoe.