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Treatise on the French Method of the Noble Art of SelfDefence Part1

A chapter from a Treatise on the French method of the noble art of self defence, By George dArmoric 1898. This portion of the French method is, I believe, the centre of the attraction to the readers and to the witnesses of displays. It is the auxiliary to the French art that seems to throw some darkness, or at least, rather heavy shadows, over the high light of the picture. It is that position which causes objections and angry feelings the outcome of unreasoned prejudice. And thus this unlucky intruder is ill-received by some, and summarily dismissed by other on the door steps when soliciting an introduction, and this for no other crime than being unknown or misunderstood!

We will try to soften this austerity, this rigid countenance, with our protg attired in his best togs and made quite presentable try to ascend those lofty regions where all that is comme-ilfaut dwells and there crave for the favour of a hearing for his over abused little stranger. His name is Chausson, the truest, most reliable, and mot sincere kinsman of dame La Boxe but you, perhaps, have only heard of him before by his sobriquet of la Savate another injustice. If

related to what as you may suppose is low born parent, he may, in good truth prove the he reaches much higher, and, that as a matter of fact this rather ancient relation of his was of unimpeachable birth, and not, as you have hitherto imagines, a frequenter of the gutter.

Savate to day means an old, cast of shoe, tis true, but its meaning was very different in the days or yore, and to answer the numerous enquiries I have received concerning the unfortunate Savate, its real name, real meaning and etymology, I will, with your permission, make a short digression from our real subject. At one time, and, as far as I am aware, even today, the shoemakers of France were or may still be divided into distinct classes.

The Bottier is that specialist in high top boots generally known as Wellingtons, and is pretty high in the scale. The Cordonnier holds a middle level of respectability but again has his

subdivision of rank, as it comprises the makers of boots and shoes of the general character for men and woman. But the Savatier is, or was the first and foremost in this social strata of leatheren fraternity the premier of his craft, the real artist. It was he that made, and may still be making, the dainty feet of the tair look so bewitching; he is the specialist pour chaussures tine pour dames! Thus these lovely concoctions of costly materials, something richly embroidered, these sweet and delicate slippers all these were, in trade parlance, called Savates, and the artists a Savatier. It is probable that envy and jealousy may like the French Boxers reach pretty high, for they reached the Savatier and fought him with the most deadly of all weapons derision and ridicule.

It was too much for him, and he seems to have succumbed; and today the lowest in the ranks have assumed his name, and the cobbler henceforth is known as a Savatier, and the worn out, shapeless, cast off shoe, as une savate profanation of an art! And now let us return to our moutons. I am not prepared to assert that the Savateur or tireurs de Savate of old, and originators of the art, wore Savate as then understood, I will even go as far as to admit of certain doubts, but I am quite certain that they were not shod with the disreputable article as understood today. In all probability they wore light, soft shoes, and only called Savate by courtesy, a commodity at no time everlasting, so that as time went on the covering of their feet resumed its proper and real name of Chausson.

Certain Coups de Chausson have, however, retained their old name of Coups de Savate, such as the Shin Hit, (Coup de Vache) due to the fact that the originators limited their hits to the front of the leg, and only from the ankle to the knee, but since that its movements have been progressive, and today they reach a mans head and have no desire to go higher.

It will be seen that the suppositions of some writers that La Savate owed its origin to the unscientific kicks of street ruffians and bullies are erroneous. The kick of these is neither Savate nor Chausson. It would be somewhat difficult to give any definite date as to the birth of this art, but although without positive proofs I feel certain that kicking must be a rather ancient practice, ad that even the early Britons made good use of their power in that direction; and as history give us but scanty information as to the nature of weapon and means of defence, used at times of attach before the stone age, I will submit my belief that those employed by all men were those of nature his all fours!

What art, sport, or game, can make claim to such lengthy and respectable pedigree? Only in those days it was not, for obvious reasons, call either Savate or Chausson; nor can we ascertain what method was most in use in their fistic efforts; at all events, no one can gainsay that every race, Celtics and Saxons included, have administered a good number of kicks, off and on. But now, nous avons change tont cela! And this portion of the French Boxing has been brought to an art. Its practice, n the gymnasium or on the platform, rather gives the impression of a dancing room entertainment than a performance for the Ring. It is airy, graceful, and a splendid specimen of mans agility. In assant or contest, the grace, the lightness of the delivery of parnes, and counters, is taken into account. A wilful blow, or a heavy hit, unless purely accidental, is considered unscientific, and may disqualify the hitter; still adepts do not expect to be kept in cotton wool, and may, at times, have to put up with occasional hard knock, and even black eyes; a rather awkward predicament if you are dinning out that day, but these incidents are relatively rare.

Contests are always courteous; a pure question of scientific points only, and never descend to an exhibition of brute strength. To be a good boxer one must, in this, like in any other method, know his distance and his intiming, well. The accuracy of distance is to make one sure of good results in attacks and counters miscalculations is the cause of a miss and its consequences. As a pastime the art is attractive, exhilarating, and fascinating; as an athletic exercise, it is healthy and useful, and as an appendage to English Boxing it is undeniably invaluable, for it adds to its resources and makes the whole art of self-defence complete.

It not only teachers you what you can do to others, but what you can prevent other doing to you. With it, you are prepared for all emergencies and know where, when and how to ward off any attack. Surrounded as we are by the Bullies and the Hooligans our first care should be to eradicate these curs, but if found impossible we have but one option, to take up safe means of self defence; and la Savate as it pleases you to call it, has the value of effectively protecting you. To give you a full theoretical explanation all possible attacks, counters and parries, would need much more spare than this pamphlet allows. The accompanying illustrations will convey a fair conception of some of the results; all of practical vale.

I have not illustrated any of the Coups Fundamentaux, or showy play, for although graceful and interesting, as a display, they have no practical value. The higher kicker could do much more in this line, the play being executed with pointed toe, but the real business demands something very different, and deliveries from the side of the foot or

heel, have much power, but at the same time require special practice; and even the above mentioned high kicker would find some difficulty in performing these, and his first attempts at side hits will no doubt make him think that a mans head is mighty high. A Coup Direct or Toe Hit is seldom indented to reach higher than the belt and mostly used as a counter, or a guard. The Coup darret, or Stop Hit is a power in itself and places the weaker man to better advantage against his stronger opponent. The Coups Figure, or Face Hit, is most useful and very telling. Les Coups tournant, or Round Hits, are some of the most powerful of all, they may be landed as high as the foes head, but are mostly used as kidney or mark hits. Le Coup double, also called Coup renverse, executed as a riposte when the opponent has been sufficiently unwise to catch hold of the hitters foot is full of resource; it is accomplished by changing the use of the feet for the hands. It is also a useful stop when delivered at the opponents mark, if too much inclined to close quarters. It is always dangerous to catch hold of the opponents foot, and if any inclination that way, the adversary will soon take full advantage and bait (tempt) with generally satisfactory results to the hitter.

Treatise on the French Method of the Noble Art of SelfDefence Part 2

Pros and Cons That the English are a nation of sportsmen no one could deny. The taste for Sport seems to originate in the cradle, grows with the man and I query if there is a child, youth, or man without a liking for certain games? Although tastes may and do differ, is there one without a choice? In fact, who could gainsay that the majority of the world follows and is devoted to a sport of some kind, be that rowing or cricketing, football or tennis, wrestling or fencing, boxing or gymnastics? Group all the followers of games and you will have grouped well nigh the whole world the world of Sport, in which the English reign supreme by right of conquest due to love of the game, and their endurance and pluck.

We ought not to overlook the Sport of Kings for it has favour with nearly all; in fact, I question if any British born could be found unable or unwilling to discuss the points of a horse? Is not the racecourse the Englishmans native heath? A well contested match in the football or cricket field will draw him for miles; but a good display of the Scientific Art will fetch him anywhere! This for good reason:- He likes the game right well, is familiar with the weapons and probably knows their value, if only during schooldays, when the want of science has been compensated for by a lot of pluck, a stout heart.and a few bruises. Here, he will not stop at the argument of points, he will offer practical demonstrations, for who does not think himself a crack in the NOBLE ART OF SELF DEFENCE and the use of Natures weapons? So far, so goodbut why with him are these weapons limited to the arm and fist only? Is not the Britisher, like the rest of mankind, endowed with two ether limbs? Why, then, does he wish to ignore their proper use as intended by out thoughtful mother Nature for our protection and defence? Is it that he cannot kick? See him in the football field or in any running, jumping or other gymnastic feat, or descending to the dregs of society, witness - at all distance- what some of the East End roughs or the south East Hooligans can administer, and your doubts, if any, will be dispelled.

Treatise on the French Method of the Noble Art of SelfDefence Part 3

Canne The Canne has a great family likeness to the single stick, and only differs upon certain points, the most serious of which is that it is intended as a weapon of defence, as for for instance, ones walking stick, and not, as in the singlestick play, an imaginary broadsword. In practise, it is neither hilt or guard or any kind for the hand; and as it is improbable that the weapon you might have to use against an attack would be provided with such, it is best to practise with the proper tools.

The guards, positions and parries are very nearly the same as singlesticks, but the thrust, or to be more precise, the blows, are delivered differently and generally with a rapid preliminary flourish round the head and neck, perplexing the adversary and lending much more force to the blows. If suddenly implicated in a street brawl its use will prove of much value, for as already remarked in the Treatise, it is in many instances wiser to use these borrows weapons in place of those given by nature. The Canne of the Salle d Armes is replaced by your walking stick, your umbrella or any such weapon that may be handy, and with any of these you may coolly scorn the toys usually brought into use by this class of assailant. A well directed blow upon the forearm with soon place the weapon, whatever it is, hovs de combat, and second hits, administered above the ear will place the brute ion the same level. For want of a stick your umbrella may do you excellent service . A gingham is an excellent weapon of defence, it will surprise you, if ever you have any occasion to use it ; the cover and the loose ribs, deaden a blow or a thrust in a remarkable way. To catch hold of this friend in need by the thin end, and deliver a rounded hit off the handle (if straight shape only), will give very good results, otherwise the point thrust alone is to be attempted.

In Conclusion I wish to remind my readers that the objects of my advise and cousels are solely for the protection of oneself against aggressors, and that the uncalled-for use of ones power and knowledge of the various parts of the art would decidedly be a misuse and a GROSS ABUSE. A perfect knowledge and method of self defence is a Desidertum, but if this knowledge ever turns defence into defiance it becomes and Odium!