I had the distinct fortune of training with Prof. Salem Assli on Friday night in the art of Canne de Combat, French cane combat. This was the first time he had ever taught the art in the Pacific NW and over 25 folks showed their support at MKG Seattle for the seminar. My interest was piqued because of my Kali background and the fact that Canne de Combat is not that common over here.
The first thing that struck me was the emphasis on posture and structure. As if studying at the Paris Opera School of Ballet, Salem stated we could not learn the more advanced moves without perfecting our posture and technique. The fluidity and grace with which Salem moved was truly inspiring. His posture was never compromised as he demonstrated both basic and advanced techniques from Canne de Combat.
Salem is a good instructor building us in steps and making the participants repeat the basic five strikes over and over before having us partner up and work both very regimented drills along with more free form type exercises. This progression was very helpful in regards to remembering the movements that weren't so complex as they were different then what most are used to when working weapons (at least from a FMA perspective).
Technique wise the angles of attack were very familiar (only so many ways to swing a stick effectively) but the method of execution certainly was not. Breaking down the basics Salem was constantly reminding us of the difference between sport and self defense, demonstrating the variations with speed and intent! I must admit there is much more depth to the art then I originally gave credit and the fluidity in which Prof. Assli moved certainly got my attention. His understanding of range and distance was second to none. Very, very impressive!
My one and only criticism (was also my partners) was the incessant noise at MKG. Though an impressively large and well equipped gym, the background noise of another class on the adjacent mat, the hum of fans and fluorescent lights, coupled with the grunting and dropping of weights in the other room from the Crossfit class was truly deafening. To the point where even Prof. Assli stopped and asked if weights were being dropped above us! Often times I could not hear the instructions from the instructor. Not an environment conducive to learning, I can only imagine when classes are in full swing with all mats going!!!
A big thank you to Professor Salem Assli who visits Seattle every year to offer Savate seminars. Also thanks to Andy Wilson of MKG for hosting Salem. And lastly to my awesome partner Lara for making it easy to learn and train in a seminar environment.
September 21, 2014
June 29, 2010
I want to thank Andy Wilson and his crew (especially Joel for being a patient, and great training partner) at MKG for allowing me to attend a mini-seminar on Savate. I have been interested in Savate for a while, initially attracted to its footwork and strategy. Savate, or Le Boxe Francaise, is basically a French (I know, I know...) version of kickboxing.
Think of all the same hand techniques in western boxing, coupled with very unique kicks that are rather snappy from the hamstring. You strike with the toe or instep, as the shin is illegal (unlike Muay Thai). One would think this to be quite risky breaking ones toes / feet, but Savate uses special shoes that have very firm rubber soles and toes. They are quite painful to be honest, but I finally found a good use for my size 15+'s!!! Even if your opponent blocks your leg, quite often the toe can wrap around their defense and still deliver a powerfully precise kick!
Here is a highlight clip of some tournament footage:
This was a simple introduction to generate some hype for September 18-19th, 2010 when Andy brings out Salem Assli, one of the foremost experts on Savate. Both a seminar and ranking will be provided.
The kicks were not too complicated for me to perform, though I am getting too damn old to kick to the head. But trying to remember the terminology was tough as I was mixing up my kicks in combo's, but it is French for gods sake!! In the end it was one hell-of-a workout, and I really had a lot of fun! It has been eon's since I have kicked that much. Bruce Lee once told Danny Inosanto that he was watching hours and hours of Savate fighting footage on 8mm because they boxed with their feet and he admired the grace and skill in which they maneuvered.
The art is new to me and I think it will make me a more well rounded striker and kicker both as a practitioner and a teacher. Kicking is amazing for both cardio and strength training, not to mention a powerful weapon to have in your arsenal for combat. I am still skeptical on some of the kicks in Savate as far as street applicability goes, but keep in mind we have shoes on in most encounters and they hurt like a mother when used correctly. Think heels and boots ladies!
Thankfully we do not need to wear the gay ass singlets. I understand all things have a reason, but really....
Anyways, I look forward to Assli's visit to Seattle, WA. and I hope to do more kickboxing of all types as the opportunities arise in the near future. In the meanwhile here is some info I have found on Savate: