Savate or Boxe Francaise (French Boxing), was assimilated by Charles Lecour (1808 - 94), the son of a French baker, in 1832. Prior to that time, a method of fighting existed in old Paris where the combatants kicked one another with their everyday shoes on. The common name for a street shoe at that time was "savate" (pronounced sa-vat), which simply meant 'old shoe'. The name savate, therefore, became associated with this particular method of street-fighting.
The first person to make an attempt to systematise savate was Michel Casseux (aka) Pisseux (1794 - 1869), who opened the first 'official' Salle (training establishment) in 1825. Charles Lecour, a one time pupil of Michel Casseux, assimilated the French kicking methods and combined them with English boxing to create la boxe francaise. La boxe francaise later had the distinction of going on to be the demonstration sport in the 1924 Paris-based Olympic Games. Sadly, the first and second World Wars accounted for many of the top professeurs and practitioners. As a result, la boxe francaise verged on extinction for a number of years. Fortunately, the art has made a slow but steady recovery in recent years. In addition to France, there are currently groups in the Britain, and around the world, who are attempting to promote this effective and fascinating fighting art.
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