Written by Ola Svensson (traduction: Valerie)
Three of us from Sweden went to this year’s summer training camp in France: me, Ulf from Karlskrona and Katharina from Växjö. Ulf and I attended the preparation for combat fighters course and Katharina was there for the technical training.
The camp was in Reims in the north of France which made the travel easier than the last couple of years when it has been in the south.
We flew to Paris on the Sunday before the camp, rented a car and managed to find Reims in reasonable time. The only difficulty was finding the CREPS once we were in Reims. At the train station I found a tourist office and tried to ask the way but the girl who worked there had the same level of English as my French - impossible to understand so asking didn’t make me any wiser but I managed to get a map. With the map and a lot of patience we managed to find the way from the city centre to the CREPS in a little more than an hour. Later we found out that the actual drive way took ten minutes but we were just happy to find it.
Once at the CREPS we found Jerome Huon who gave us our keys to our rooms and food tickets and all things practical. He also told us that the following morning at 7.30 there would be a morning run to wake our bodies up. So the next day started with a forty minute slow run together in a group and after that it was breakfast. The breakfast at CREPS seems to be the same no matter where in France you go and it consists of white bread, cereal with or without chocolate and coffee. Besides not being that healthy, it gets incredibly boring but after the morning training it went down easily.
The second training of the day for the combat group was physical evaluation where we did a number of different exercises to determine our physical level. There were static weights tests and running. Short explosive runs and also a longer one where you would run as far and fast for as you could for six minutes and after that see how long you had run and count your pulse.
The combat group was small, there were only seven of us in all which is less than previous years but it was also a good thing because we got more time from the coaches. The coaches were Jerome Huon and Tony Ancelin from Levallois in Paris. Jerome works for the French federation and is a former top level fighter and Tony is still fighting and came in second in the French Elite Championships this year.
After lunch, which was a lot better than breakfast, there was some time to rest before the afternoon training. The third training session of the day was to evaluate fighting skills and consisted of five rounds of hard sparring. It was interesting to see the others fight and they were good, especially one guy, Christoffe who was impressive. For me the sparring was ok, a lot more time has been invested in coaching than in training this spring so it was kind of tough to do a hard sparring session and for me it ended in the end of the third round when I blocked a fouette with my nose.
Tuesday also started with a run and then some other balance and strength exercises before breakfast. The second session of the day was French boxing. First we got some evaluations from the coaches - they told us what to think about and what to concentrate on during the week. After that we did a lot of different themed assaut and the same thing in the afternoon.
Wednesday morning, there was no running, but instead there was some kind of relaxation exercise together with the whole group. Since it was done completely in French it was difficult to understand what it was all about but it was nice to relax a bit, together in a group.
The second session was pure physical training. After warming up we did explosive short runs of thirty metres where we started from different positions and just ran as fast as possible when the coach blew the whistle. After this there was circuit training where you did different exercises like pushups, sit ups, some static exercises and so on where we worked for thirty seconds and then changed exercise. We did this for two blocks of twelve minutes each and after that everyone were really tired and there were actually some small old injuries showing their ugly faces.
Because we were all tired Jerome and Tony took pity on us and the afternoon session was a little bit shorter, only about an hour of sparring.
Besides us three Swedes there were two Finns, two Germans and an English girl and because the Finns understand and speak Swedish and so did the Germans (one being Gerhard who is a language wizard) the second largest language at CREPS this week was Swedish (!)
Thursday morning was no training before breakfast so we got to sleep in. The first session was English boxing and in the afternoon we had some personal training with Jerome, everyone got a couple of rounds of pad work. In the evening a couple of us foreigners went to the nearest shop and bought some champagne, being in the heart of the champagne district and all sat down and talked about how things are going for Savate in our different counties and future plans while sipping on the beverage. It was a really nice evening watching the sun go down and learning more about how the Savate family is developing in the rest of the world.
Friday there was only one session and it was sparring and since there were not so many of us in the combat group Jerome went and got some more fighters from the youth group that also was attending the training camp. They were young but good and some of them were crazy fast. Fighting the fastest one of them I felt like the bullet in The Matrix that Keanu Reeves ducked under, I felt like I was moving in slow motion.
It was a really nice training camp and Reims was a nice city to have seen and training wise it is the absolutely best way to spend a vacation week.