Did Savate invent the Roundhouse kick?

Makalakumu

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I was recently reading a discussion on the origin of the roundhouse kick and the conclusions that were drawn have brought up an interesting question. Did Savate invent the roundhouse kick?

Here is a quick synopsis of points made in the previous discussion...

1. The kick is never found in classical forms.
2. It did not appear as a mainstay in many MAs until the early mid 20th century.
3. The the classical sense, the roundhouse is typically done by pulling the toe back and striking the ball of the foot.

Here is why I think this technique may have been innovated by Savate. The history of Savate is hundreds of years old and was inspired by sailors who had traveled around the world. Savate was typically done with hard wooden shoes, thus the pointed toe roundkick would be particularly devestating. In the early to mid 20th century, you had a great mixing of Western and Eastern fighting traditions. There was alot of information shared during this time. Thus, it is entirely possible that the roundhouse kick tranferred at this time.
 

terryl965

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I guess anything is possible my only question is there any historical facts pointing in that diection instead of points of views.
Terry
 
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Makalakumu

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terryl965 said:
I guess anything is possible my only question is there any historical facts pointing in that diection instead of points of views.
Terry

That is a good question. I don't know if it is recorded anywhere where this kick actually originated. From my experience in Japanese and Okinawan TMA, I know that it did not originate there. And since Korean MA came from Japanese and Okinawan TMA, a good argument can be made that it did not originate in Korea.

However, Savate is very old. They've been doing roundkicks in matches for over a century...and that is a fact. Also, the fact that this was spread around the world by sailors also hints, IMO, that it would have been really easy for their innovation to spread into the east.
 

Andrew Green

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My best guess is that the roundhouse kick was invented thousands of years before savate existed...



.... By Chuck Norris of course :D
 
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Makalakumu

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Andrew Green said:
My best guess is that the roundhouse kick was invented thousands of years before savate existed...



.... By Chuck Norris of course :D

I guess there was a super secret conspiracy by the Vatican to suppress any pictures of "Jesus" doing roundhouse kicks. It all makes sense, now! There had to be some reason for the beard? Dan Brown is going to have to write a new book...Conspiracy of the Beard - Jesus was really Chuck Norris!
 

MartialIntent

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upnorthkyosa said:
That is a good question. I don't know if it is recorded anywhere where this kick actually originated. From my experience in Japanese and Okinawan TMA, I know that it did not originate there. And since Korean MA came from Japanese and Okinawan TMA, a good argument can be made that it did not originate in Korea.

However, Savate is very old. They've been doing roundkicks in matches for over a century...and that is a fact. Also, the fact that this was spread around the world by sailors also hints, IMO, that it would have been really easy for their innovation to spread into the east.
Interesting question...

Excuse my ignorance but isn't Savate of French origin? If that is the case might a better external source for the spread have been the more reknowned colonists: Spanish, Portugese, Dutch?? Just a suggestion and I'm not certain though what, if any, mano-a-mano martial traditions existed in these empires in those times.

You seem to have narrowed potential origins down quite considerably to arrive at Savate boxing. And I'm not certain what your selection and elimination criteria have been. But I'll certainly concede that this kick is perhaps overly flamboyant to have originated within the classical grass-roots fighting systems.

Interesting...

Respects!
 

Selfcritical

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MartialIntent said:
Interesting question...

Excuse my ignorance but isn't Savate of French origin? If that is the case might a better external source for the spread have been the more reknowned colonists: Spanish, Portugese, Dutch?? Just a suggestion and I'm not certain though what, if any, mano-a-mano martial traditions existed in these empires in those times.

You seem to have narrowed potential origins down quite considerably to arrive at Savate boxing. And I'm not certain what your selection and elimination criteria have been. But I'll certainly concede that this kick is perhaps overly flamboyant to have originated within the classical grass-roots fighting systems.

Interesting...

Respects!



1. Things tend to get "invented" a lot. Just because one art has a technique before another doesn't mean that the second got it from the first- there's no patents on ways to beat people.

2. I'm pretty sure krabi krabong had round kicks in it's forms back in siam.
 

Robert Lee

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I would think the round kick came out of china exposed to okinawa, japan, ands so forth. if you look at the round kick as with the side kick you see it first being used for a side delivery then later a forward pivot to use it as a frontal kick. AND then you would look to Did the french pick it up from china? Who really knows
 

Jimi

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There are only so many ways the body can move, over time a similar movement can exist anywhere in the world. As far as an exclusive on the roundhouse kick, only Chuck can say.
 

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Are you suggesting that French sailors were the first to think of throwing a kick at a 90 degree angle to their target?

Here's the way I see Savate's relationship with the roundhouse kick.

1. The roundhouse kick is a hallmark of Southeast Asian martial arts (though these arts tend to kick with the shin, as opposed to the foot).
2. As far as I know (which may not be much) Southeast Asian martial arts don't traditionally have forms.
3. Much of Southeast Asia was colonized/conquered by the French, and held up through the 19th century.

What is there to suggest that early Savateurs didn't learn their kicking from Asian fighters? Nothing that I can see.
 

Cruentus

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I think that as far as individual techniques go; we are all human beings, and most of us have 2 arms, 2 legs, etc. to fight with - so I think that techniques are going to be the same across cultures because the tools are the same.

Where you are going to see big differences is in tactics, equiptment, training methodology; and that sort of thing. Things that can be effected by the local culture and environment.

Paul
 
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Makalakumu

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Zepp said:
1. The roundhouse kick is a hallmark of Southeast Asian martial arts (though these arts tend to kick with the shin, as opposed to the foot).
2. As far as I know (which may not be much) Southeast Asian martial arts don't traditionally have forms.
3. Much of Southeast Asia was colonized/conquered by the French, and held up through the 19th century.

This is also a good explanation, however, I think that the argument could be made that the round kick with the shin and the round kick with the ball of the foot are two different beasts. I like how you described them, though...90 degrees from the target.

I think that answering these questions means taking a look at the history of the arts in question. Muey Thai, for instance, how far does it go back? Is it older then Savate?
 

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Shantung Black Tiger by Kiong, Draeger and Chambers. Pg 55

The whirlwind kick. Typical of Black Tiger tactics is the sien-fung-tie, or "whirlwind kick". This is a dynamic high roundhouse kicking action made with a whirling action of the body.

Use the instep or shinbone portio of the kicking leg as a striking surface.
The back, ribs, neck, and side of the enemy's head are the best targets.

I have left out portions of the description(typing is not my best skill), but it sounds like a roundhouse kick has been part of traditional Chinese
martial arts.
 

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I think it was summed up pretty well earlier in the thread. I think different cultures at different times can be credited for developing specific strategies and tactics but I don't think anyone can really claim credit for being the source of a specific technique. Since the beginning of time people in all times and places have been fighting for their survival. I imagine the roundhouse has been in mankind's arsenal for a VERY long time. :asian:
 

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upnorthkyosa said:
...This is also a good explanation, however, I think that the argument could be made that the round kick with the shin and the round kick with the ball of the foot are two different beasts....
Actually, from what I've seen of Savate, they tend to also kick with their shin in modern practice. But it could just be that the people I was watching have had their training influenced by Muay Thai.

I think that answering these questions means taking a look at the history of the arts in question. Muey Thai, for instance, how far does it go back? Is it older then Savate?

I've read that Muay Thai has it's roots in martial styles that are thousands of years old. Practitioners of Burmese and Cambodian kickboxing make similar claims about their arts. And I would suppose that Vietnamese martial arts have a similar backstory, but I would have to check on that. It might seem that any claim of origin of more than 500 years is a stretch, but I haven't seen anything to dispute that Southeast Asian kickboxing began thousands of years ago.

It is within the realm of possibility that the roundhouse kick as we know it today was introduced to Asia from Europe within the last 400 years. But without evidence, it's just speculation.

Tulisan said:
I think that as far as individual techniques go; we are all human beings, and most of us have 2 arms, 2 legs, etc. to fight with - so I think that techniques are going to be the same across cultures because the tools are the same.

Where you are going to see big differences is in tactics, equiptment, training methodology; and that sort of thing. Things that can be effected by the local culture and environment.

Exactly.
 

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There are historical cases of things being invented totally isolated from one another almost around the same time (can't remember the proper term for this phenomenon). I don't think it's too far a stretch to think that any culture that had a martial aspect to it had very similiar hand to hand techniques.

Usually though, the credit is given for who left a recorded record of it first when it comes to martial arts.
 

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Any time we have questions of who "invented" anything in the martial arts, they aren't really questions about technique but very loaded cultural questions.

The martial arts are one are in which an interesting dialectic exists in questions of cultural origins and influences; much more so than the often seemingly monolithic domination of "the West" over everyone else in many other endeavors.

Businessmen the world over wear suits almost identical to what has been European fashion since the mid-nineteenth century. Everyone uses the Christian calendar as their secular calendar. We use the Roman alphabet as international, and in mixed gatherings around the world, business or politics are conducted in English or French. Militaries the world over are organized on the European model, and European Classical music is considered canonical almost everywhere. Biologists in all countries use Latin terminology. The metric system is European in origin. I could go on.

Since the East Asian martial arts became popular in Europe and America about a century ago, they have garnered a much-discussed mystique. The respect and awe given to these arts were not a reversal to Western cultural imperialism, or even an exception to it. The way in which the Asian Martial Arts were and often still are venerated was part and parcel of the Western view of Asian cultures. The Asian arts were effective and desireable because they were traditional, irrational, spiritual and philosophical. A boxer fights, but a karateka "uses karate". The aura around the Asian arts in the West reflects the common Western view of Asian societies as starkly traditional, deferential, and conformist. Hence the Cain or Miyagi archetype who can kick a** but won't unless absolutely necessary.

As with anything taken to extremes, this veneration of the Asian Martial Arts in the West provoked a backlash, which has taken several forms. The Mixed Martial Arts phenomenon is one, with it's emphasis on proving (in a very Baconian way) the efficacy of any art or technique, and it's like of boxing and jujitsu as modified by (Western) Brazilians. The Western Martial Arts or Historical European Martial Arts movement also represents a counter to the idea that only the East could produce effective fighting systems. Both movements have brought much to the martial arts in the past twenty years. The cultural motivations behind both movements might also be interesting to discuss.

So back to the topic of this thread. After years of hearing that Spaniards were no match for Filipinos, that boxing underwent a sea change after its encounter with Filipino boxing, that Savate was stolen from East Asia by French sailors, that Pankration must have come on the Silk Road from India (The Birthplace Of All Martial Arts, donchya know?) and that the Katana was a magical razor while the broadsword was little more than a bludgeon (all of which range from dubious to unconfirmed), many Western martial artists started to question these myths. What we have now is largely a muddle of competing cultural claims, many of which cannot be proven ( I didn't say have yet to be proven, I said cannot).

I'd like to hear the thoughts of some of the people here.
 
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