End of an era: Roger Lafond, 1913-2011
The funeral of savate master Roger Lafond (1913-April 8, 2011) was held today in his home town of Le Perreux sur Marne, France. He was 97 years old.
He had commenced training in la boxe Francaise/savate in 1921 at the age of 7 years with his father, Eugene.
Roger served five years in a German prisoner of war camp and trained many POW colleagues under the attention of the guards. He resisted efforts to stop teaching, confirming that it was a sport. At one stage he was asked if he would teach some of the officers and guards. He declined the suggestion as fraternizing with the enemy.
After the war he revived savate schools all over Paris. In 1955 he created "La Panache", combining traditional French martial arts and some Japanese hand to hand combat. He was also among the trainers for the cast of the classic '60s British TV series, "The Avengers".
Maitre Lafond was still teaching students at the age of 95 years. "Lafond Savate" consists of boxing, open hand skills and is now the only syllabus in Paris to teach the traditional savate style of kicking. The impact weapons covers five lengths from 20cm through to 175cm.
Here is Roger Lafond in his prime:
and here he is a few years ago, with the crew from "The Human Weapon" TV show:
He was truly one of the last of the old-school savate masters.
May he rest in peace.