Difference between Kickboxing and Savate

Key difference: Kickboxing is a modern Japanese form of combat sport and martial art, whereas Savate is a traditional French Boxing martial art.

Kickboxing also known as Aero-boxing is a stand-up combat sport and a martial art form belonging to Japan. Today, the martial art is practiced and divided into Japanese Kickboxing (initiated during 1960s) and American Kickboxing (initiated during 1970s). The combat sport is derived from from Karate, Muay Thai and Western boxing. It is also a hybrid version of Martial Art form.

Kickboxing is an art of continuous kicking and boxing. The combat sport comprises of striking techniques. It is generally practiced for self-defense, general fitness, or as a contact sport. The sport is conducted between two opponents, in the form rounds and in rings. The opponents are allowed to hit each other with punches and kicks, striking above the waist. The sport consists of various other forms and styles according to which the rules are designed and formulated in their respective rulebook. This art form is practiced mainly in Japan, America, and Thailand along with the other parts of the world. It is considered as a hybrid sport, which integrates movements and traditions from different sports, such as Karate and Boxing. It involves kicking, punching, elbow and knee strikes, throws, locks, and grappling techniques during a fight.

Savate is a French traditional boxing combat sport. It is also known as boxe française, French boxing, French kickboxing or French foot-fighting. This martial art utilizes the hands and feet as the weapon for the fight. The modern formalized form is mainly an amalgam of French street fighting techniques from the beginning of the 19th century. The sport as a form of street fighting is practiced in Paris and France.

Savate in Modern era has become an appreciable and developed type of competitive sport. In Savate, there are ranking systems; which are highlighted form the color belts. The color of the fighter’s gloves reflects his rank and level. The sport is divided into levels, which are obtained thorough practice and proficiency. Earlier, the sport included kicking, punching, grappling, wrestling and weapons training activities, but today, the sport system include only empty-hand techniques delivered while standing or jumping.

It provides three levels of competition:

  • Assault: This level requires the competitors to focus on their technique while still making contact; referees assign penalties for the use of excessive force.
  • Pre-combat: This level allows for full-strength fighting so long as the fighters wear protective gear such as helmets and shin guards.
  • Combat: This is the most intense level, and is same as that of Pre-Combat, but in this, the protective gear other than groin protection and mouth-guards is prohibited.

The ranking of Savate are:

  • Technical road: blue glove, green glove, red glove, white glove, yellow glove, silver glove I, silver glove II and silver glove III (violet glove for those less than 17 years of age)
  • Competition road: bronze glove, silver glove I, silver glove II, silver glove III, silver glove IV and silver glove V
  • Teaching ranks: initiateur, aide-moniteur, moniteur and professeur.

Comparison between Kickboxing and Savate:




Short description

Kickboxing is a group of martial arts and stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punching.

Savate is a French method of boxing in which feet and fists are used.





It was developed from historical Karate, Muay Thai and Western boxing.

It was developed from French street fighting.


There is an emphasis of both kicking and punching

There is a big emphasis on scoring with kicks rather than punches.


Kickboxing includes continuous kicking, boxing and striking.

Savate includes low line kicks to shins.




Female- Savateuse


It is not yet included in Olympics.

It is also not a part of Olympics.

Main techniques

  • Front Kick
  • Side Kick
  • Axe Kick
  • Hook Kick
  • Round Kick and
  • Spin Kick

Kicks and Punches of various forms and styles.

Image Courtesy: newshopper.sulekha.com, worldcombatgames.com

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