In July 2004 Craig Gemeiner presented 4 classes on savate and its associated disciplines at Australia ‘s premier western martial arts event the Historical Fencing convention held in Sydney.
The first class began with an introduction to sport savate, a method of Participants representing karate, kickboxing and MMA were taught specific skills relating to today’s competition method.
French kickboxing, which emerged in Paris during the 1830s.These skills included the kicking techniques used in sport savate, along with glove target training, counter attack drills and various foot-hand combinations.
Also explained was the specialized footwear worn by modern savateurs when they compete. Students came to appreciate that the sturdy wrestling type shoes or chaussure make a considerable difference in the delivery of kicking techniques when compared to the bare foot variety. Damage produced with the boot often shifts the emphasis from power to that of accuracy and high-speed delivery; participants discovered this to be especially true when delivering the fouette of whipped toe kick.
All students gave 100% during their training and successfully passed their blue glove-ranking test. Special thanks to Liam Resnekou for promoting the class and his assistance during teaching. On the following day the second presentation outlining the older defense dans la rue or street savate method was covered. Originally developed to combat the increasing crimes perpetrated by Parisian street gangs this French system of self-defence was not only efficient but also became quite fashionable to learn during the very early 1900s.
Students were taught several of the prime street kicks pertaining to the defense dans la rue method including the “ coup de pied bas” – a low kick using the inside edge of the boot, “chasse bas” – a kick utilizing the out side edge or heel of the boot as the point of percussion and the “coup de pied pointe” -a point kick using the toe section of the boot to impact targets. Traditionally these low kicks, based on the Leclerc system of savate, were delivered with very little chambering of the kicking leg. Often executed as “en marchant” or stepping attacks, combinations were thrown while moving into the adversary. Also covered was the “coup de talon” – stomping heel strikes, which added an additional follow up to a kick or alternatively a “coup de grace” against a grounded adversary.
The focus of this class was self-defence and as such all kicks were directed at low line targets. While high kicking is suitable in controlled environments such as the salle or in the ring, they are considered to risky to use especially in confined areas of urban living.
Due to time restrictions only a small portion of the kicking techniques pertaining to the street savate syllabus was covered. All students gave a good account of themselves demonstrating the proper intent and controlled aggression particularly during boot party training and the sprint to kick drills.
Following later in the day a third class covering the Vigny la canne system or walking stick method of self-defence was presented. Various offensive and defensive techniques were demonstrated utilizing both single and two-handed grip application. Fighting from positions of disadvantage as well as combating multiple adversaries and integrating cane with kicking techniques were also touched on.
On the final day of the event a class outlining le baton or the French two-handed long stick was covered. Participants were taught the brise, enleve and moulinet cutting patterns along with the various parries and footwork associated with the Joinville system of military baton. The class ended with all students successfully engaging in bouts of controlled free sparring.
Special thanks must go to Paul Wagner and the Stoccata School of Defence for organizing a highly successful and very enjoyable event.