Sunday, June 26, 2011

USA: UCLA Univesity - Savate seminar with Nicholas Saignac

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We are happy to announce a NEW Martial Arts Class beginning Summer Quarter 2011! Also known as "French Kickboxing", Boxe Francaise Savate is a competitive martial art that uses hands and feet as weapons. Born as a self-defense technique taught in the streets of French cities like Paris and Marseille, Savate is also an internationally-recognized sport and is utilized as a great source of cardiovascular exercise. The martial art emphasizes footwork, balance, agility, and timing in unison with striking attacks. In this class you will practice kicking and punching techniques, utilize padwork and partner drills for practical self-defense application, and learn the historical and cultural aspects of Savate.

When - Wednesday Evenings, 6:35pm-8:00pm

Where - John Wooden Center, Gold Room

Who - Peter Thomas
Peter Thomas, a Martial Arts instructor, competitor, and fitness and naturopathic medicine enthusiast was raised in Chicago, Illinois and Southern California. He continues to be a dedicated student of martial arts under instructors Dan Inosanto and Daniel Sullivan. He currently holds certificates in Jeet Kune Do and the Southeast Asian martial arts system known as Kali, is an Associate Instructor in Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) under Master Ajarn Chai Sirisute and the Thai Boxing Association, and is also a Silver Glove Instructor in Savate (French Kickboxing). Peter won the National Championships in Savate in 2006 and fought for Team USA in Paris. Additionally, Peter is a fight choreographer and stunt coordinator for Hollywood films such as Kill Bill. He is a also proud to be a nationally-certified personal fitness trainer and loyal Yoga practitioner.

Recommended Items: We highly recommend boxing gloves (of at least 12 oz. in weight) and hand wraps for wrist protection. Also, please wear athletic shoes to class, Savate is unique in that shoes are worn during both training and competition.

Savate Seminar with Nicolas Saignac

On April 20th 2011 we invited Professor Nicolas Saignac to instruct UCLA Martial Arts students in the art of French Kickboxing or ‘Savate’ also known as Boxe Francaise. With a great turnout of over 40 people Nicolas began by teaching the importance of footwork with some exciting drills.

The first drill was to follow your partner around, if they step back you step forward, if they step forward you step back, if they circle right you circle right etc….the purpose of the drill was to stay just out of range from your opponent but close enough so you can move in quick to strike at any time. To pick up the pace and make this drill more exciting Professor Saignac added in a little competition of trying to slap/touch the other persons front leg. While this is not an attack used in Savate it was a simple way to improve our ability to get our leg out of the way, the hand slap was simulating a kick.

The rest of the seminar was dedicated to learning the specific kicks in Savate; the chasse, fouette and revers. These kicks look very similar to many other martial arts, and one good question posed at the end of the seminar was “What makes Savate unique compared to other forms of kickboxing?” Nicolas answered with “the shoes” in Savateur’s wear a specific kind of show which is similar to a wrestling shoe, but with no tread on the bottom. In fact ‘Savate’ literally translates to ‘old shoe’. Another unique part of Savate is that you can only kick with the foot, you cannot use the shin or knee and you cannot ‘check’ or shield against kicks with your legs you have to get out of the way or redirect the kick using your hands, but this is usually a last resort, the main weapon in Savate is the ability to move out of the way then move in to strike with either your hands or feet.

(Nicolas demonstrating footwork to avoid a kick)

(Savate veteran John Meadows demonstrating a jump spin kick while Nicolas easily floats out of the way!)
After two hours of intense drilling everyone was quite satisfied with for some of them their first experience in Savate! The group met outside to drill Professor Saignac with questions about Savate, from the rules to competition opportunities and from testing to strategy for 45 minutes Nicolas answered all the students questions. Khun Kru Genelle Gaudinez (UCLA Muay Thai Instructor)  asked the poignant question of who to look up on You Tube to be able to see more of this exciting martial art; Nicolas spoke of old friends and competitors with admiration. See below for some videos of the Professor recommendations (click on names to see videos);
Bertrand Soncourt

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