Presented is a brief break down of the “chasse” pertaining to the sport of savate-kickboxing.
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To execute the chasse lateral from the lead or front leg (‘avant’) begin by first flexing the knee towards the opposite shoulder. By elevating the knee you achieve the position of ‘arme’- a French term used to describe the placement of the knee prior to extending the leg out. Simultaneously pivot on the standing foot so the toes point in the opposite direction to that of the kick-or away from the intended target. The body turns into a lateral profile and the kicking leg is extended out in a piston like action (‘jete direct’ ) . Drive the heel of the savate boot into the target and upon completion of the chasse return the leg to the ‘arme’ position ready to kick out again.
If delivering the chasse lateral from the ‘rear’ or ‘ back leg’, it is important to rotate the hip around its imaginary axis to assist in achieving a more rapid lateral profile.
When executing the “chasse lateral” at the medium (‘median’) and face (‘ figure’) levels keep the support leg straight to maintain elevation of the body. A chasse at the low (‘bas’) level will require you to bend the support leg facilitating a level change and lowering your centre of gravity. This level change will assist in stabilizing your single base of support while minimizing counter attack options from your opponent. If effect the “chasse bas” will be delivered in a descending action with the boot impacting down on the opponent’s thigh region.
Avoid reclining the body back when performing the chasse lateral instead focus on maintaining the spine as upright as possible.
During the kick your arms will stay close to the body line with the elbows positioned against the trunk and the hands up ready to guard or follow up with hand strikes.
Hop to it
The chasse lateral can be executed while stationary or with a jump or hop (‘saute’). If using the ‘chasse saute’ the support leg must work in cohesion with the “arme” phase of the kick as the prime mechanism required to lift and propel the body forward. Together with an upper body shift, that finds the savateurs weight leaning forward in the initial stages of the kick and then back at the completion, a distance gain of up to two meters can be achieved.
This historical savate clip( early 1950s) show cases savate legend Pierre Baruzy , in his mid 50s, along with several young French champions engaging in bouts of sparring- see if can spot the ”chasse saute”.
So who else, apart from savate -kickboxers, uses the low “chasse saute”? Well a variation of this kick is used in MMA competition by one of the most well know family’s in fighting history – the Gracies. While there is no evidence that the French method of savate influenced the stand up skills of Gracies Jiu- jitsu, it is important to note the effectiveness in which the Gracies utilize their side / stomp kick to harass their opponents legs while controlling distance and providing options to cover ground and enter into grappling etc.
The “chasse croise” is delivered by crossing the rear foot behind the lead and then raising the knee into the ‘ arme’ position prior to extension. Add a jump or hop into the croise and you have the ‘ chasse saute croise.’ A most powerfull kick the “chasse sauté croise” can cover up to several meters in distance.
Another variation of the chasse lateral includes the ‘ chasse tournant’ which is a spinning chasse delivered at the 3 levels.
The “chasse frontal” could be approximated to a front kick except the knee must be flexed towards the chest to achieved the “arme” position. Delivered at the low, medium and face levels the “chasse frontal”, like all chasses, will require the support leg to be either bent or extended straight depending on the height of the area you are targeting. The striking surface of this kick is not limited to the heel of the savate boot. At the medium level the toe of the boot can be used to stab ( “chasse pique”) into the stomach or chest region.
Both the chasse frontal and lateral are generally delivered in the ” longue” or long stand up distance of savate – kickboxing. At this range kicks are fully extended and the upper body is outside of punching reach. Distance is everything in savate – kickboxing, a chasse that impacts a target with the knee still bent will only push the opponent back and lacks the power to do any real damage. On the other hand a chasse that is extended at an inappropriate distance could fail to hit the intended target. A miss in competition , even by 1 inch , is as good as a mile and could spell the difference between a KO and a totally ineffective kick.
A specific chasse which is delivered in the “moyen” or mid stand up range of savate is the “chasse ouvert”.To delivery this kick to low line targets begin by flexing the knee while raising it to the side of your body. This delivery method will permit you to gain the ‘ arme’ position at a much closer range to the opponent. Next, extend the leg along a linear plain and drive the boot down onto the opponents thigh. Because this kick requires extreme flexibility in the hips to reach the “medium” and “figure” levels the opponent’s leg is often the optimal target. Avoid impacting the target with your boot in a vertical position ,instead, to produce better coverage, rotate the foot outwards. Through out the delivery of the “chasse ouvert” keep your hands up high to prevent being gob smacked.
Ok before signing off it’s important for me to mention that if you’re serious about learning savate properly then make the effort to find a ‘ qualified savate instructor’ and gain formal training. From a savate coach you’ll learn the all important basics which, once learnt properly, will carry with you for the rest of your training career- good luck in your savate journey.
For information regarding savate clubs and qualified instructors in your country visit the web site of the world sanctioning body for savate the -Federation Internationale de savate go to the FIS web site.