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Roy Harris >> Savate


2/8/06 10:53 PM
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Siciliano
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Edited: 08-Feb-06
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Hi Roy! Stupid me. I never knew that you're considered to be one of the top Savate practicioners in the US. I remember you showing some techniques over at Tom Dy's gym when you rolled with me, Rom and Aaron. We were just so much into BJJ back then (during that time, we only had a brown belt in PI). I was just too damn stupid to see Savate as a very effective art. Back then, it was all Muay Thai and Boxing till I trained with Rolando Garcia last night. Pardon my ignorance. Actually, I just talked to Rom and he told me that back in '99 when you visited, that was one of the arts that you were very keen in discussing. How long have you been training this?
2/8/06 11:46 PM
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Roy Harris
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Edited: 08-Feb-06
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Whoa Siciliano, I am Savate practitioner and fanatic, but I certainly wouldn't put myself in the category of one of the top Savate practitioners in the US. I began my training in Boxe Francaise Savate back in the middle 1990's. Before then, I had studied Savate from Professor Salem Assli's instructional tapes but did not have any hands-on experience with it. So, I began taking private lessons from Professor Assli at his home in Venice. He taught me the old form os Savate, as well as the new form. He also shared with me a bit of Lutte Parisian and Le Canne et Baton. Boy, those were the days! I miss training with Professor Assli! Many people mistake the kicks of Savate as ineffective. However, when a real practitioner places a solid fouette in your stomach, ribs or kidney, or, he or she places a quick chasse on your lead leg thigh, you will KNOW of the effectiveness of Savate. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say negative things about Savate while teaching seminar abroad. I even had one guy ask me (in front of everyone at the seminar) how I would deal with a certain kick in Muay Thai. Instead of explaining what I was going to do, I simply demonstrated on him. When I dropped him in front of those who were watching, he pulled himself up off of the floor, rubbed his thigh and said, "I have never seen that before. Can you teach it to me?" If you have the chance to study Savate from a Red, White, Yellow or Silver glove, DO IT. You will not regret it!!! Roy Harris
2/9/06 12:46 AM
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Siciliano
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Edited: 09-Feb-06
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If you have the chance to study Savate from a Red, White, Yellow or Silver glove, DO IT. You will not regret it!!! The Rolando guy. hehe This stuff could integrate well with my muay thai.
2/9/06 8:28 AM
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twinkletoesCT
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Edited: 09-Feb-06
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Modern Self-Defense Center
Gotta love "that Rolando guy"!
2/9/06 11:28 AM
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m.g
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Edited: 09-Feb-06
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I am a big fan of Savate!
2/9/06 9:02 PM
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Siciliano
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Edited: 09-Feb-06
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The one reason why Savate will never, ever make it to mainstream popularity is their attire. Damn! LOL!!! Muay Thai shorts are way cooler to wear in the ring. I mean, I've had so many friends (non-practicioners) buy TWINS shorts just to have as a souvenir or collector's item. Savate attire? Forget it. hahaha!!! On a more serious note, I'd like to be proficient in this art too. Once that happens, its STX baby!!!
2/11/06 2:55 PM
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Siciliano
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Edited: 11-Feb-06
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From what I've experienced so far: Savateurs punch differently than regular boxers. They use longer uppercuts and crosses. I think the hand techniques works best for that structure. Also, one thing I noticed, is that they seem to angulate on their footwork more to set-up their long range attacks, similar to the FMA triangle footwork. 4 Ranges, Are my observations correct?
2/14/06 4:10 PM
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Edited: 14-Feb-06
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Hey guys, Siciliano told me about this discussion, so I decided to chime in (hey Roy, hey Chris! Good to see you guys here!). Hey Roy, did you hit that guy with a chasse bas? That's THE kick that woke me up to savate. That kick is unreal. Did you hit his supporting leg? Siciliano, that's a pretty close approximation. I'll go into detail with you on Thursday. The boxing structure of savate (boxe francaise) is similar to your "regular" boxing (boxe anglaise). Of course, there are differences, due to the nature of the sport. 1) The front foot is directly in line with the front hip. 50/50 weight bearing (as opposed to 70/30). The reason being that it keeps the front leg from being completely damaged if it absorbs any low line kick, be it fouette bas or the more devastating chasse bas. We are taught to stay on the ball of our front foot. If you distribute your weight there, and you eat a rear fouette bas, say goodnight to your ligaments. 2) There is an extreme emphasis in rotation/extension in order to take advantage of maximum reach for punches. Aside from having the ability to reach the opponent and creating more power, it deceives the opponent into thinking that the punches AND the kicks will reach at the same range. This is a devastating tool for savateurs, because you simply cannot think of yourself as being safe in any range, as they will reach you no matter what. 3) There are other modified punches called the manchete and the uppercut (pronounced "OO-percut"). Very similar to the Ricky Hatton uppercut and extremely deceptive. As for the footwork, decalage/deplacement is one of the defining elements of savate. It is more than lateral movement, because it has the ability to generate more power while keeping yourself completely out of range of the opponents weapons. An expert of this type of footwork is a VERY frustrating opponent to spar with, because you feel like you're getting hit with scud missiles from all angles. Siciliano, I'm glad that you see that it can integrate well into Muay Thai...because a LOT of savateurs also compete in MT rules. MT and savate are so similar that, at our old academy, Armando liked to say: "What is the difference between savate and muay thai? RANGE."
2/14/06 5:01 PM
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m.g
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Edited: 14-Feb-06
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I understand that Savate and Muay Thai have historical influenced each other. Muay Thai is practice in other Southeast Asian countries besides Thailand. It is of course called something different in each country but it is essentially the same art. In Cambodia Muay Thai is called Muay Khmer. In Laos it has a different name but I forgot it now. Anyway before war ravaged those country Muay Thai was popular in those countries. In fact I had a National Geographic that date back to 1967 that had a feature on Laos and it had a really nice picture of Muay kickboxers fighting in a rural village in Laos. Anyway, the French had a colonial presence in many parts of the world and Southeast Asia was one of those places. The french occupied Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. There is no doubt that there was exchanges of ideas in regards to Savate and Muay Thai. I am sure that western style boxing and western style boxing techniques was most likely introduce to the Southeast Asian via the French.
2/14/06 10:17 PM
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Siciliano
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Edited: 14-Feb-06
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m.g., Yup! No doubt that there had been a mutual exchange. 4 R, Like that definition. The difference is the RANGE!
2/15/06 11:59 AM
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Edited: 15-Feb-06
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mg: unfortunately, there's no historical evidence to back up your theory. I hear you on the possibility of it...but there are people out there (not me) who take a very critical eye at such statements. It's like saying "boxing was influenced by Wing Chun", and of course people from all over the underground will jump on you and murder you over it. So...keep that one under wraps. I await your dissertation on the subject. :)
2/15/06 1:50 PM
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m.g
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Edited: 15-Feb-06 01:53 PM
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4 ranges, I think the evidence is pretty obvious. I think the evidence to some degree is logical. Comparing my "theory" to "boxing was influenced by Wing Chun" is far-fetched. My "theory" has tangible evidence to support it where as the link between boxing and wing chun has absolutely NONE. Since I doubt individual on both sides (the french savateurs and the Southeast Asian Muay kickboxers) wrote the "evidence" down on paper for all to examine we can't look to that as "evidence". What we have to look at is commonalities between the artforms along with DEFINITIVE exchanges between the two cultures. we know for a FACT that the French were in Southeast Asia and we know for a FACT there was some cultural exchange between the two cultures. It can't be a just a "coincidence" that Savate changed over the years and NOW currently bears, in many respects, a striking similarity to Muay Thai, an artform which happens to have been practice in the very countries where the French HAD a strong colonial presence. That is just the tip of the iceberg of the "evidence" one could use to support this "theory". Incidently my theory regarding Savate and Muay Thai is more along the lines of Bjj and Judo in regards the influence each had on each other and not "boxing and Wing Chun".
2/15/06 3:43 PM
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4 Ranges
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Edited: 15-Feb-06
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mg: that's a really interesting theory. I don't want to get into too much discussion of history, but do consider this: 1) There are engravings of the "old savate" (chausson) that go back to the 1700's and further. There are actual manuals that go back to the 1500's where knights in armor are shown using kicks and throws from savate. Now, unless the french had occupied Thailand around that time (which I highly doubt)...I just don't see how muay thai had any influence on savate. 2) The current savate curriculum, from what I remember, was codified in the late 1800's by Charlemont, who incorporated english boxing with the kicks from savate after a famous match with Driscoll. During this codification process, there is no mention of muay thai whatsoever. There is endless documentation of the existence of savate and it's kicking origins even before a frenchman ever set foot on Southeast Asian soil. 3) The argument that "wing chun influenced boxing" has been made on the same basis that you say there was cross-pollination with savate/mt: the English occupied Hong Kong and portions of China in the early part of the 20th century (much in the way the French occupied Southeast Asia). 4) In terms of footwork, structure, strategy, tools allowed, and the rules of the sport, it can be argued that MT and savate are MILES away from each other. I certainly understand your theory and opinion, and I find it interesting. I'd like nothing more for it to be true, frankly speaking. Unfortunately, with no evidence to support it, and with the mountains of evidence that support that savate is a martial art indigenous to France, then I'd have to say that I can't go further with your opinion other than to say that I find it interesting.
2/15/06 3:52 PM
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Siciliano
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Edited: 15-Feb-06
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OK. My theory: All effective combat arts have common resemblances/concepts that coincide together. FMA, Boxing, MT, Savate, BJJ, Wrestling, etc all have common threads.
2/15/06 5:41 PM
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m.g
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4 ranges, No offense but I think you need to look up the word influence. It seem you mistaking it for the word "origin" which as you should know means something totally different. I didn't say Savate came from Muay Thai or Muay Thai came from Savate so anything that implies that is outside of my point. My point is that each INFLUENCED the other MEANING that there was an EXCHANGE of techniques going BOTH ways. Here is some quotes from my initial post: "I understand that Savate and Muay Thai have historical INFLUENCED each other." "There is no doubt that there was EXCHANGES of ideas in regards to Savate and Muay Thai." Both existed independent of each other so it is logical and common sense knowledge that both had kicks, strikes etc BEFORE each style or system knew the other existed. So mentioning that Savate had kicks way back when does nothing to disprove my point BECAUSE my point had absolutely nothing to do with that. I DID NOT say Savate didn't have kicks until the French were in Southeast Asia. You, for some reason READ that in my post ALTHOUGH those words which specifically say that are not in my post. (incidently I find it strange that you ASSUMED that I meant the French "learned" kicking from the Southeast Asian; It is possible, although this isn't my point or argument that it is the other way around). So point 1 and 2 in you post have nothing to do with my so-called "theory" or point of view. Finally, I must state again that I am speaking of influence and not origin. It is clear both arts EXISTED INDEPENDENT of each other. It is safe to say that Savate is "indigenous" to France while Muay Thai is "indigenous" to Southeast Asia (remember Muay Thai was/is practice in other Southeast Asian countries besides Thailand. It is simply called something different but it is essentially the same art) both arts grew out of the environment and culture of their respective regions. Since both EXISTED INDEPENDENT of each other they both must have characteristics and features which are somewhat unique to each. I am sure that each continues to retain those features and characteristics. Now influence doesn't neccessarily mean a thing "becomes" the thing which influences it. There are degrees and levels of influence. And influence doesn't neccessarily mean a thing loses its distinctiveness. So if Savate and MT had some type or level of influence on each other than that wouldn't neccessarily mean Savate or MT would lose all of their distinctiveness. Elvis may have been influenced in some way by, I don't know...uh...Chuck Berry, that doesn't mean Elvis "became" Chuck.
2/15/06 8:32 PM
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Siciliano
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Edited: 15-Feb-06
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Kinda reminds me of my "Did FMA revolutionize Western boxing" thread at the JKD forum. ;)
2/16/06 8:49 AM
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Edited: 16-Feb-06 01:38 PM
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mg: "There is no doubt that there was exchanges of ideas" What do you base this on? The "evidence" that you're pointing out is purely circumstantial. You have not exhibited any evidence of direct influence. And what is your exact definition of "influence?" And who influenced who? Do you have any documentation or historical data that supports this? Also, how do you MEASURE influence? Any documentation of this? Have you spoken to savate instructors and muay thai instructors about your theory? Do any of them support your theory? Like I said, I think it's an interesting theory, and would like nothing more for it to be true. But I can't accept it as a FACT because you're offering nothing other than your own speculation.
2/17/06 5:17 PM
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m.g
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4 ranges, Yep, my evidence is circumstantial and that isn't necessarily bad. People have been convicted based on circumstantial evidence. People believe in theories such as evolution based on circumstantial evidence. Like I said before it not like savateurs and Muay Thai fighters (as well as instructors), pass and present, documented "everything" concerning the "evolution" of their artform. So in a situation like this circumstantial evidence may indeed be useful. As far as who influenced who, first off let me say I believe there are degrees and levels of influence which vary from person to person depending on how much "exposure" as well as give and take each individual had, aside from that it seems to me the influence ran both ways. It seems to me that Savate had some influence on Muay Thai and Muay Thai had influence on Savate. I think this is far more evident now then in the past, considering that nowadays individuals purposedly cross-train in both. Like I said before I find it more than a coincidence that both Savate and Muay Thai seemed to "change" or "evolve" in a "common" direction. If you look at each art from "historical" representation and follow the "evolution" (that is look at both from past to present) you'll slowly but surely see each, although maintaining their distinctiveness, seem to more and more resemble the other. And it "seems" this "change" occurred exactly during the years when: #1) Savate and Muay Thai became popular rings sports (incidently I should actually say Boxe Francese instead of Savate). AND #2) there was a "cultural" exchange between France and Southeast Asian countries. I find it odd that other Asia martial art forms such as Okinawan Karate, various forms of South Chinese Kung fu, and Indonesian Silat etc, which came from regions that are very near to Southeast Asian all have little or no resemblance to Muay Thai BUT Savate, which isn't even an Asian martial art but rather a European martial art and came from a country thousands of miles away, seems to resemble Muay Thai. Why? How? Why is Muay Thai popular in France? Why is it that many ALOT of savateurs also compete in MT rules? Why is it that Savate can "integrate well into Muay Thai"? Why is it that Muay Thai and savate are so similar that in your old academy, your professor Armando said "What is the difference between savate and muay thai? RANGE."? You're telling me this is nothing more than coincidence? Just because evidence is "circumstantial" doesn't necessarily mean it isn't probable or likely.
2/18/06 11:29 AM
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Edited: 18-Feb-06
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m.g.: Unless you present any studies, articles, or first person testimonials from savate or MT authorities stating that both arts influenced each other, I can't take your opinion as anything more than an opinion.
2/19/06 6:41 PM
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m.g
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Edited: 19-Feb-06
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4 Ranges, I don't "expect" you to take my "opinion" for more than what it is truly is..."an opinion". Furthermore you shouldn't take anyones elses view, especially on the net, as more than their opinion. Don't lose sleep over my "opinion" and certainly don't make such a big deal over it either. After all it is just an "opinion" (based on evidence, BUT an opinion nonetheless).

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