Q. Uh.... Surrr-vat-ee what's that then?
A. It's Savate! It's a French word and is pronounced “Sav-at”
Q. And what actually is it then?
A. A fighting sport practiced in boxing rings or sometimes on mats
Q. Errr... fighting sport?
A. Like boxing except with kicks allowed as well.
Q. Isn't this just kickboxing? What makes it different?
A. Savate is done wearing shoes. Unlike most other martial arts we practise wearing trainers and compete wearing special Savate boots that look like this.
Other than that we use English boxing rules for the punching in addition to kicking.
Q. So I'll get hurt then?
A. Savate is a fighting sport- you are punching and kicking your opponents and they will be punching and kicking you. However unless
specifically stated otherwise we train in class at controlled contact level. See Assaut and Combat below.
We train in a safe environment with First Aid trained, qualified, insured instructors, who will do everything to endeavour you don't get injured.
Q. So, what happens in class then? What'll I be doing?
A. We always start with a good warm up - the last thing we want is a muscle or other injury from doing too much whilst the body is cold.
After that we work in pairs and practise a series of exercises specific to Savate techniques- boxing, kicking and combinations of the two.
After that we may do some harder cardio work to really work on your fitness.
Then comes the really fun bit- sparring!
Q. Sparring- what's that?
A. Sparring is where we're free to put into action all the techniques we've been training during class. We spar at a controlled-contact level (called Assaut). If it was all full-contact (called Combat or Elite) then we'd be unable to train regularly due to too many injuries.
Q. Assaut or Combat?
A. Again French words. Assaut means controlled-contact and is where we kick or punch our opponent but with light force.
Combat is where the opponents are using full-force to knock out or incapacitate their opponent.
Q. I really only want light contact
A. That's fine - all techniques practised on each other are done controlled contact. Full contact is only when its been specially arranged.
Q. I don't mind- I really want Combat
A. That's fine too - we have club members mainly interested in full-contact. We practise on each other assaut but can go harder if both partners are happy to.
Q. Great, so what do I wear?
A. Firstly, unlike most martial arts Savate is done wearing shoes or special Savate boots. All you need for classes is clean trainers and a t-shirt and shorts or jogging bottoms. Some Savateurs wear boxing boots, many use Hi-tec squash shoes which we find functional and long-lasting.
Q. Any other equipment needed?
A. To practise and when you start out we can lend you boxing gloves.
When you spar you will need your own shin pads, groin guard and mouth guard. You can bring your own or we can supply them.
Q. Can I compete?
A. Absolutely! This is encouraged and really allows you to put your new skills to the test. There are regular national competitions held all over the country. We will match you against someone of similar experience to make it fair.
Q. Can I grade?
A. Definately. There's an excellent grading system in place and there are regular gradings if you wish to take them.
Savate grades are known as Gloves rather than the traditional martial arts' belts. We follow a colour system starting with Yellow Glove all the way up to Silver Glove with Gold Glove as a special award for contribution to the sport.
Q. Is there a national association?
A. Guildford and Godalming Savate Club is proud to be a member of the Great Britain Savate Federation. Check out their website: http://www.savate.org.uk/
Q. Are the instructors qualified? First Aid?
A. All instructors are qualified by the GBSF- this includes a requirement for First Aid qualifications.
Q. Will I be forced to buy an expensive uniform?
A. Wear whatever you feel appropriate for class- as long as there's nothing that could injure another class member we don't mind. Those competing at international level need to wear official kit.