Saturday, March 21, 2009

A History of Savate, Chausson and 'French Boxing' (1828-1978): A Short Story for a Long Past

Author: Jean-Franccedilois Loudcher
DOI: 10.1080/17460260701591700
Publication Frequency: 4 issues per year
Published in: journal Sport in History, Volume 27, Issue 3 September 2007 , pages 459 - 486
Subjects: British History; Sports History;
Formats available: HTML (English) : PDF (English)
Previously published as: The Sports Historian (1351-5462) until 2004
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Both savate and chausson are French self-defence practices which originated at the beginning of the nineteenth century and combined during the 1960s. Over the last two centuries, these combat disciplines were transformed into several practices: 'fitness' gymnastics, a discipline for training soldiers, an academic sport for health, a combat discipline and finally a competitive sport. Each step of the transformation follows the general evolution of sport and gymnastics in France. As a result, modernisation at the end of the eighteenth century and the specific progression of French history can explain the origins and the transformations of these popular combat arts into a fighting sport in the seventies, called 'French boxing'. Beyond its technical complexities, the history of the discipline was troubled by cultural, political, economic and social contradictions that prevented its evolution into a worldwide combat sport. By focusing on this specific and not so well-known discipline, a large part of French sport history can be interpreted.

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