The Source Material of Defense Dans La Rue- at a glance
By Craig Gemeiner
During the 1830s Charles Lecour, a student of Michel Pisseux, trains with Pugilist Jack Adams and combines classical English boxing with the kicks of the older Savate systems. Lecour’s new system conforms to specific principles and bio mechanics allowing it to be practised by the general population as both a sporting activity and method of self defense.
Lecour’s most famous student ,Julien Leclerc, begins teaching Savate French boxing during the second half of the 1800s according to the principles and techniques of his teacher. During this period Leclerc completes an important treatise on Savate which is eventually published during the early 1900s. Entitled “La Boxe Pratique Offensive et Defensive Conseils Pour Le Combat Dans La Rue” the manual covers the practical application of both offensive and defensive techniques along with general advice for personal protection in the street.
Leclerc’s syllabus would become the creative influence for the stand up striking skills that comprise Defense dans la Rue.
In 1899 a student of Leclerc, Emile Andre, completes the first detailed treatise covering Defense dans la Rue. Entitled “L’art De Se Defende Dans La Rue” this accomplished work presents a fully systematized method of personal combat merging a small number of defensive sports. Andre’s manual provides a model for employing several fighting disciplines either separately or combined depending on the circumstances presented.
Apart from being an instructor in Defense dans la Rue Andre was also a fencing professor, Jiu-jitsuka and Savate coach, and wrote a number of manuals covering all four systems. His manuals proved to be extremely popular with subsequent reprints continuing for over a quarter of a century. A number of Andre’s books were translated into several languages and acquired such popularity that several plagiarized versions appeared through out Europe.
Jean Joseph Renaud
By the early 1900s Joseph Renaud was featured in several prominent newspapers and magazine offering tips for personal combat and dueling.
Travelling to London during the summers of 1905 and 1906 Renaud’s primary focus was to learn Jiu-Jitsu from Japanese instructors Yukio and Taro Miyake. By the time he had reached their Oxford street dojo he was already highly accomplished in the methods of English boxing, la canne, fencing , Apache street fighting and French Savate, in which he trained under Julian Leclerc and Charles Charelmont. Upon his return to Paris Renaud become heavily involved with Jiu-Jitsu and together with fellow countryman Ernest Regnier were responsible for popularizing Jiu-Jitsu in France.
More than a decade after Emile Andre published his first treatise, covering Defense dans la Rue, Joseph Renaud would write his own manual contributing to the establishment of the system. Printed in 1912 and simply entitled ” Defense dans la Rue” his manual draws heavily upon Andre’s original composite. However Renaud would expand substantially on the source material of his predecessor.
During this era several other French instructors were also making a name themselves teaching Defense dans la Rue. Georges Dubois in particular had received attention for his exploits as a highly accomplished Savateur and fencer. After a publicized contest with Jiu-Jitsu exponent Ernest Regnier, in which Dubois was defeated, the former retained, from the sport of Jiu- Jitsu, the essential elements he considered most practical for real combat on the street.
Street fighting and competition
Mix competitions pairing dissimilar fighting arts such as English boxing , Savate kickboxing, Jiu- Jitsu and French wrestling against one another becomes increasing popular in France, especially Paris. These mix bouts provided professors of Defense dans la Rue a broad spectrum approach in which to construct a quantity of core skill sets. However information gained from the experience with the Apache street gangs would reinforce their empirical basis. Techniques had to be fully functional outside the conventions and parameters of competition.