Friday, October 28, 2011

USA: Kickboxing about his father savate




Savate Boxe française, early international fights

Introduction :

In this article, we will analyze the international fights between Savate/Boxe française (aka French boxing) practitioners and other martial arts fighters, during the period of time from 1960 to 1980.

Our work is based primarily on the excellent book written by Jean-François LOUDCHER, "Histoire de la Savate, du Chausson et de la Boxe Française 1799-1978", published by L'Harmattan.

We will also refer to various newspaper articles of the time, mentioned later.

Definition :

We will not make a new history of Savate. We will just remember that this martial art had virtually disappeared after World War II. The practitioners were, during the fifties, no more than a few dozen, or hundreds.

We have to mention the important work of Comte Pierre Baruzy Homer (1987-1994), former student of Charles Charlemont, who tried to revive the old Savate, since the end of World War II. He would have take part to the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, were Savate was a demonstration sport. Unfortunately, we do not have any information about this Games.


The last France championship took place in 1937 and would be back in 1966. Various championships, challenges and meetings took place during this time, but without centralized organization. The Savate federation has even been incorporated into the French Judo Federation, from 1965 to 1974.

In 1965, Comte Baruzy became the founding president of the Comité National de la Boxe Française. The Honorary President is none other than Georges Carpentier, who had started with the Savate, before practicing english boxing, with his wonderful record.

Book devoted to the Comte Baruzy

In order to make more explicit our story, we will simply explain that the former Comité National de la Boxe Française was created in 1965 by the Comte Baruzy, and became the Fédération Nationale de Boxe Française in 1973. The federation received approval from the Ministry of Sports in February 1975. This Savate Federation was more focused over the old academic way to teach Savate. In 1974, a split occured, with the creation of the Fédération Nationale de Savate, were the champions of the time went. This second association was more focused over fights and the modern way of Savate. In 1978, the two federations fusionned.

To give more detail, in 1984, the Federation had nearly 20,000 licensed. In 1985, an international federation was created.

Former international fights :

Since the early 19th century, French boxing practitioners fought fighters from other countries or other sports, mainly English boxers, with very mixed results. It is necessary to clarify that savate was practiced mainly as a point fight (semi-contact), against a boxing way with ko.

The following info is from the book "Martial Arts of the World", written by Thomas A. Green and Joseph R. Swinth, Greenwood edition, quoting the text of Mr. Loudcher's book, above mentionned.

Savate fighter was also opposed to Ju-Jitsu practitioner, the famous French Re-nia, in 1905, against George Dubois, France. It seems that the Savate fighter has lost, after an arm lock.

There would have been a demonstration match between karateka Hiroo Mochizuki, who was only 19 years old and Jacques Cayron, around 1955, in France. It seems that the demo was over after a kick from by the French.

The Evolution of Fighting :

By the late 1960s, the techniques of the Savate became unified, after internal strikes. The guard and blows became more compact and less academic. For example, the "bras équilibrateur" (balanced arm) is forgotten.

It would be interesting to determine whether this development was influenced by english boxing, already more competitive, or by the appearance of martial arts, which in the 1960s, have no fights with ko.

About the books published at the time, we find the "Boxe française Savate Moderne" by Jean-Pierre Dreineza (several times France Champion and European Cup winner in 1984) edition Judogi - Paris 1967?. In this book, the technics represent this new guard and compact strokes.

By opposite, in 1972, Bernard Plasai had published his book "La Boxe intégrale". In this book, the old way of Savate, with the balanced arm, is mentioned.

The Marabout Flash book , about Savate in 1976, was about modern way of Savate and compact guard.

The emergence of the so-called "La Boxe Intégrale" was the subject of a review with the same name, published by Aramis in 1979.

This existence of the two ways over a period of several years confirms the different views that prevailed in the sport. This struggle between the Academic Savate and the Competition Savate is mentioned between 1974/1978.

New France championships in 1966 :

It is necessary to fix the results of these championships, from 1967 or 1966 depending of the versions. Bernard Plasai in the featherweights, Marc Kunstler in the lightweights, Christian Cogi in the middleweights, Denin in the light-heavyweights and Jean Lafond in the heavyweights are the winners.

It should be noted that Bernard Plasai is a focal figure in Savate and has published numerous books dedicated to the sport. Plasai will become nothing less than Senator in the French Senat.

Jean Lafond, meanwhile, is the son of Roger Lafond, creator of a method named "La méthode Lafond" ou "Panache", and mixed Savate, stick (canne), long-stick (bâton) and fencing (escrime).

The first modern international meetings :

Christian Guillaume and his travels in Japan :

This paragraph is based on the following website, . In 1969, Christian Guillaume is invited to Japan to fight with kick-boxers. Claude Simonot, also from the Savate, was the second participant in the trip. During his first stay for a month, Christian Guillaume fought 2 fights. Simonot lost his first match. Guillaume won in 1 minute and 48 seconds, with a kick in the kidneys of his opponent. We don't know his name. According to an article from a Japanese newspaper of the time, Guillaume would have won against a man named Shiro Miyatake in 58 seconds, with a front kick, "chassé frontal". The fight took place at the Korakuen Hall. Miyatake was the Japan bantamweight champion.

Interesting picture which shows Guillaume with his "Savate salut"

The second battle was won, after three trips of his opponent to the canvas. The fighters wore 4 oz gloves.

The third fight was a draw.

The second trip, also in 1969, is scheduled for 4 fights. Another French fighter, Albert Boutboul is also part of the trip and lost his first match. Guillaume won his match in 1 minute and 22 seconds, with a combination kick to the body, followed by a left hook.

Boutboul won his second fight on points, during the same evening?. Guillaume sent his opponent to the canvas during the second round.

Guillaume still fought a fight, beating his opponent on points. Note that Guillaume was a lightweight.

Finally, Guillaume fought a last fight with a draw. If we look at the pictures on these fights, we see that the fighters wore gloved, had bare feet and wear shorts and no t-shirts.

According to the above mentionned Marabout book, Guillaume would have six wins, including 3 ko, for one draw.

Guillaume would have been 2nd dan of Judo. In an article in the December 1970 Black-Belt issue, we learn that William was a France champion for the first time in 1969.

Balanced and low arm, Guillaume was still an academic fighter
... but very effective.

Remember that there were problems between the various Savate federations and some of the organizations listed below will be officially sanctioned only by one federation.

The first European Championship, April 11, 1970 :

Italy, Belgium and France took part to this Championship. It took place at the Elysée-Montmartre in Paris. We have to mention that many other championships had been held in the past. We do not know the outcome of these battles.

It's difficult to read the picture below, but it is understandable that G. (Guy?) Proust, G Fercoq?, Richard Genaudeau?, Christian Guillaume and Jacques Cayron? have participated in these championships.

According to the Italian book "La Boxe Francese" of Giorgio Messina, published in 1999 by Edizioni Mediterranee, are mentionned the following results:

Guillaume/France beats Christian Muyters/Belgium in the semi-finals (possibly in Belgium) and beats Silvano Milone/Italy in the finals, in the flyweights-division
Jean-Pierre Julemont/Belgium beats Guy Proust/France in the semi-finals (possibly in Belgium)and beat beat Carlo Benvegnu/Italy in the finals, in lightweights-division
Sandro (Giovanni?) Marcenero/Italy bat Cayron /France in welterweights-division
Silvano Milone would have lost the bantamweights final?

Pictures of the first European Championships, in 1970.

France-Italy, June 12, 1971 :

This meeting took place in Puteaux/Paris, against an Italian team from Genoa, in front of 1'500 spectators.

Italy-France, 1972 :

We just know that Sergio Domenico/Italy would have beaten Charmillon twice in his career, including one in Genoa/Italy, according to the image below.

Meeting Savate vs Chakuriki and European Championships, November 29, 1975 :

The poster of the evening

At Paris (in the Meridien Hotel), was held a meeting, organized by the Fédération Nationale de Savate, the unofficial federation. This meeting was a confrontation between a Chakuriki team (see Article devoted to the Netherlands in this blog) and French practitioners. Robbie Harinck, Ron Kuyt, Gerard Bakker, Jan Kunst and John (Jhon) De Ruyter (Ruiter) were part of the fights for the Netherlands. We do not know the results of these fightss except that Jan Kunst lost against George Simon and Christian won a fight during the meeting?. The karateka Dominique Valera was present.

Jhon de Ruyter / Netherlands during the evening

A fight took place between Bernard Le Prevost/France vs Mac Beaute/Belgium, for the title of European Champion of Savate, for the featherweights. The video of this fight is available at: It is possible that Le Prevost has fought a first fight that evening, before the final.

Le Prevost, in red, with the very academic balanced arm

it's difficult to read the poster of the meeting. It seems that Jean-Charles Charmillon/France was opposed to Roger Damien?/Belgium and Todini/France was opposed to Giovanni Tasso/Italy. Todini won the fight.

After reading the above mentionned Marabout book, we learn that MM. Charmillon, Todini, Simon and Le Prevost were European Champions in 1975.

According to the Italian book "La Boxe Francese" of Giorgio Messina, published in 1999 by Edizioni Mediterranee, it appears the following results:

Bruno Berrina/Italy beats Lereuht/Belgium in the flyweights (mentionned in 1965? in the book, but Berrina was born in 1948, so he would have been only 17 years old in 1965)?
Todini/France beats Giovanni Tasso in the welterweights.

The Belgians Muyters and Minocci would have been eliminated in the semi-finals of the Championships, without more detail.

On the page 292 of his book cited above, Jean-François Loudcher mentions an article in the newspaper Le Monde, of December 3, 1975. The evening has not been organized by the Fédération de Boxe Française, but by the dissident movement, the Fédération Nationale de Savate. A bailiff was appointed by the official Federation and he would have seen "a fight between a professional vs an amateur" and "one or more fights would have been without protective equipment". According to the same book, two articles were published in the newspaper l'Equipe of November 28 and December 2, 1975.

We note that the diploma received by Tom Harinck and awarded by the Fédération Nationale de Save et Boxe Française is dated of November 29, 1975, the day of the European Championship.

Finally, it seems that the February 22, 1975, again at the Hotel Meridien, the French Championships have been organized by the Fédération Nationale de Savate. A demonstration of Thai boxing had been made by two Dutch fighters. Despite the lack of details given, it is possible that it was the first appearance in France of the Chakuriki team ?

First Internationaux de France, February 11, 1977 :

They were held at Japy/Paris and brought together members of both federations.

Conclusions :

Many international fights will take place in the eighties, but this blog ends his articles in 1980.

It would be interesting to determine whether it is the regular confrontations with the foreign teams that have changed the Savate to the current form of fight with ko, with modern technics or if it is a French internal evolution that allowed these confrontations.

It is certain that, like other martial arts, Savate had an evolution to a fighting form during the sixties and the seventies, with more efficienty and the loss of old-fashioned techniques.

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