Despite its roots, savate is a relatively safe sport to learn.
Today, savate is practiced all over the world by amateurs: from Australia to the U.S. and from Finland to Britain. Many countries (including the United States) have national federations devoted to promoting savate.
Modern codified savage provides for three levels of competition: assault, pre-combat and combat. Assault requires the competitors to focus on their technique while still making contact; referees assign penalties for the use of excessive force. Pre-combat allows for full-strength fighting so long as the fighters wear protective gear such as helmets and shinguards. Combat, the most intense level, is the same as pre-combat, but protective gear other than groin protection and mouthguards is prohibited.
Many martial arts provide ranking systems, such as belt colours. Savate uses glove colours to indicate a fighter's level of proficiency (unlike arts such as karate, which assign new belts at each promotion, moving to a higher colour rank in savate does not necessarily entail a change in the colour of one's actual gloves, and a given fighter may continue using the same pair of gloves through multiple promotions). Novices begin at no colour.
The qualifications for competition vary depending on the association or commission. In the French Federation a yellow glove can compete, and in Belgium a green glove can compete. In the United States, the competition levels start at novice (6 months). In Russia there is no requirement for a specific glove colour in order to compete.
The ranking of savate: Boxe Franaise is divided into three roads that a savateur can choose to take.
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
In some clubs there is no rank of aide-moniteur, while in other associations there is no rank of initiateur. Eight to twelve years of training on average are necessary for a student to reach professeur level; eight years in the Italian Federation, and just two years in other federations. In France the professional professeur must have a French state certificate of specialized teaching (CQP AS, BEES 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree, 1st de CCB BPJEPS, DEJEPS, DESJEPS). These diplomas are university level education in sports with specialisation in savate (supervised by the FFBFSDA). The international federation, however, is still allowed to award professeur instructorship to non-French nationals without requiring such rigid system of education. French nationals have to submit and succeed to the rigid system of education and prove themselves in competition as well as being respected by peers, in order to have a slight chance to become a DTD (directeur technique dpartemental). Like any sport federations in France, the French and International Federation of Savate are under the control of France Ministry of Sport and Youth. This makes these two federations extremely powerful federations on the world scene. These two federations have followed a set of national traditions.
Nowadays, savate is just a term meaning Savate-Boxe Franaise. In the 1970s the term "savate" was rarely used in France to refer to the formalised sport: people mostly used the term Savate boxe franaise, Boxe-Franaise Savate, B.F, B.F.S., S.B.F. or simply boxe franaise. The term savate remains in use mostly outside France or when speaking a language other than French.
The global distribution of schools (salles) today is best explained through their stylistic approaches:
La Savate-Boxe Franaise (1980present): the technical abilities of both savate's major kicking arsenal and English boxing were merged into a definitive sport of combat.
La Savate Dfense (1994present): was first presented by Professeur Piere Chainge then produced into Self-Defense by Eric Quequet in 2000. After the French Federation dismantled Prof. Change and placed Michel Laroux in charge of the formations. It is based on La Boxe Franaise Savate, La Savate of the late 19th century, La Lutte Parisienne and the discipline* of La canne de Combat (stick) *includes also Le Bton Franais (staff), Le Couteau (knife), Le Poignard (dagger), La Chaise (chair) and Le Manteau (overcoat).
Re-constructed historical savate: some savate has been re-constructed from old textbooks, such as those written in the late 19th or early 20th century. As such, this form of savate would be considered a historical European martial art. Re-construction of these older systems may or may not be performed by practitioners familiar with the modern sport and is not at present likely to be particularly widespread.
La savate forme (2008): Cardio-kickboxing form of La Boxe Franaise-Savate.
These are the different stylistic approaches of the French arts of pugilism in the world today.