A world history of knifing

Dear visitors of our website and fans of traditional martial arts,

Let us introduce you the new book of TEMAF President and the expert in the Spanish traditional knife fighting, — Maestro Denis Cherevichnik:

“A world history of knifing: The popular duels with knives in XVII-XX centuries”

(2013, Riga: TEMAF; ISBN 978-9984-49-820-1)

Preview (Google Books): LINK
Preview (Academia.edu): LINK
Purchase on Navaja.eu: LINK
Presentation of the book LINK


In the list of references there is more than 600 sources: evidence of participants and eyewitnesses of duels with knifes, police reports, court documents, travel notes, newspaper articles etc.

The book, which appeared as a result of more than five years of data collection, translation and processing of the material, as well as, cross-cultural studies,- deals with the so-called “popular” duels with knives in the period since the early seventeenth century to mid-twentieth century. Their origin, history, as well as really existed authentic traditional knife fighting schools and systems. The author analyzes both the reasons for occurrence of knife cultures, and the factors that have contributed their disappearance. Examines the rituals, rules, codes of honor associated with knife duels. The knives for duels has been also described, as well as technics of knife fighting in different cultures, attitude to death, teaching methodology, various tricks and ruses.

The book describes the preparation of children in Spain, Italy and Argentina to fights with knives, as well as comprehensive educational methods for knife fighters in Europe and Latin America in XVIII-XIX centuries. Also the book examines the laws since XIII century prohibiting edged weapons, the authorities struggle with the culture of popular duels, and how the duellists evaded bans, laws and restrictions.

The book is written on the border of several disciplines: social history, cultural studies, cultural anthropology and weaponology, and divided into 13 chapters:

Chapter I. Flamenco with navaja: duels with knives in Spain

Chapter II. Stilettos and bel canto: duels with knives in Italy

Chapter III. The brutal tango of pampa: duels with knives in Argentina

Chapter IV. Cold glitter of the “Snickers”: duels with knives in Holland

Chapter V. Southern desperado: duels with knives in USA

Chapter VI. This is Härmä: duels with knives in Finland and Scandinavia

Chapter VII. Blood and honour of Hellas: duels with knives in Greece

Chapter VIII. Apaches of the Belle Epoque: duels with knives in France

Chapter IX. Duels for taking out: Export of the knife culture

Chapter X. Steel sardines of Rio: duels with cut-throat razors

Chapter XI. Scarface: scarification in dueling cultures

Chapter XII. A knife in the garter: women’s duels

Chapter XIII. Devil’s quitrent of the sea: knifing of seamen

Deluxe Limited edition. Enlarged format. Hardcover. Stitched binding with the bookmark. High quality paper. The total volume of 656 pages.

More than 500 unique color and black and white illustrations, many of which are published for the first time.

Scientific peer reviewed Edition. Scientific reviewers:

  1. Author of “The history of the Scythians”, Laureate of the State Prize of Ukraine, Ph. D. of Historical Sciences, Professor of the Department of World History of BGPU, — Vyacheslav J. Murzin
  2. Author of 73 scientific works, Ph.D., director of Ecological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Mikhail V. Zhukovsky

From the summary of the book:

“Readers are invited to the first of its kind, a fundamental study of the popular duels. Basing on the voluminous factual material, the author examines the tradition of knife fights in Europe and America, rituals and codes of honor surrounding these duels. This fascinating narration will be interesting not only to fans of the history of martial arts, culturologists, ethnologists or historians, but also to the wide range of readers.”

From V.J. Murzin scientific review:

“Denis Cherevichnik book “A world history of knifing: the popular duels with knives in XVII-XX centuries” fits into modern popular science literature, fully revealing one of the most interesting and least studied to date, the field of cultural and social anthropology – a history of the popular duels with knives. One of the main advantages of the book is not only its absolute relevance, but also the extensive body of material that the author attracts for his comprehensive study.”

From Mikhail V. Zhukovsky scientific review:

“Uncovering such non-standard theme, the author has not succumbed to the temptation to issue another guide to the knife fighting, which is on the shelves of bookstores today already abound. And this is in spite of the fact that Denis Cherevichnik well known in certain circles as the expert and the coach in the art of knife fighting. He went on much more complex and thorny path of creating encyclopedia devoted to the historical development of the popular dueling with knives — a topic that almost nobody before him had tried to uncover. The history of popular duels in different countries, traditions associated with them, weapons, migration of traditions from country to country, and from continent to continent, laws against edged weapons and duels — this is just a partial list of the presented material.”