Sitra Achra

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

Let us arrange a brief excursion into the history of the traditional spanish knife fighting school “Sitra Achra”.

The Spanish traditional knife fighting school «Sitra Achra» was founded in 1996 in Prague by a few enthusiasts and fans of martial arts, in order to study and preserve the authentic martial traditions of Spain.

The founders of the school were: the research worker of the institute of forensic psychology, holder of the first dan in tanto-jutsu, – Martin Tsibulka (Czech Republic), official representative of the IKAEF (International Association of Kali and escrima) in the Czech Republic, the teacher of arnis, Kadu Guro – Ivo Shovanets (Czech Republic), and ,martial arts historian, writer – Denis Cherevichnik (Latvia).

The name of the school – “Sitra Achra”, came from Kabbalah, where it means the dark side of the humans nature. But in our case it has no implication of significance – just sounds good. In 1996 on of our founders was fond of European mystical teachings. This was the reason for the choice of name. So, that is definitely not any historical name.

The first lessons of spanish navaja wielding we got from senor Rodrigues Ferrera from Santiago de Compostela (Galicia)

Soon we founded the first in Eastern Europe Association of knife fighting (ABNO), which also included Schools of traditional fighting arts of the Mediterranean region, such as “Comitatus” (Karlovy Vary), “Clifoth”(Karlovy Vary), traditional martial arts of Germany, represented by the “Assault” school (Prague), the Japanese art of the blade represented by traditional school of tanto-jutsu “Nagomi” (Prague), and Filipino martial arts, within the school “Comitatus”. In the year 2000, only our school Sitra Achra numbered 150 active members.

In the year 2002 in Riga (Latvia), was opened a representative office of “SItra Achra” under the supervision of Maestro de armas Denis Cherevichnik – the first school of knife fighting in the Baltic States. SItra Achra has been actively participated in popularization of traditional european knife fighting in Latvia, Russia and other countries of the former USSR, we have been studying the history of fencing – including books and manuals of XVII-XIX centuries. Also “Sitra Achra” has organized a lot of study tours and meetings with the similar organizations in other European countries, as well as with keepers and bearers of ancient traditions.

Sitra Achra has regularly participated in Martial Arts competitions, and we have organized seminars and workshops for the companies “Masters of Defence” (MOD) and “Katz”. Also we have held seminars for international law enforcement and security organizations.

On the website – SItra Achra official page in the Baltic States, – since 2002, we have regularly published original articles, exploring and popularizing Spanish and Italian tradition of duels with knives, as well as dueling culture of Europe as a whole.

In the Czech Republic and Latvia, in such magazines as “Streleсke Revue”, “Streleсky Magazin”, “FHM”, “Zbrаne a nаbоje”, “Patron” and etc., there were articles and interviews covering the activities of the school.

Also, our school has been actively engaged in academic activities. Thus, for example, in the late 1990 ‘s, on the basis of the research we have published the book «Boj nožem I: Evropa, historie a současnost» ( Knife fighting I: Europe, history and the present ), which was printed in 1999 by the publishing house Hubertlov Bohemia. Soon after, in the year 2000, the same publishing house has published the second part of the book titled “Boj nožem II: magie nože : reverz – historie a součanost” ( Knife fighting II: Magic of the knife: reverse grip – history and the present ).

In 1999, our school has developed a knife “Albacete”. It was based on the design of traditional Spanish navajas. To keep the blade locked in fully opened position, we have used the traditional Spanish ratcheting-tooth lock. Navajas “Albacete” were manufactured in 1990 `s -2000 `s by the Czech company “FK- service” ( gunsmith Frantishek Kregl ).

In the year 2010 the heir and the successor of ABNO (Association of knife fighting and Defense ) became Federation of traditional Martial Arts of the Europe (TEMAF). As a President of TEMAF was elected Chief instructor of “Sitra Achra”, master of traditional Spanish knife fighting, Maestro de Armas – Mr Denis Cherevichnik.

And today, our school continues not only training activities but also academic work. So, un the years 2012-2014, there was published a number of scientific works of the President of TEMAF, Mr Denis Cherevichnik. In these works the author examines the “weapons culture” of Europe in the context of social history.

In 2013 Denis Cherevichnik has published a popular science peer reviewed book “A world history of knifing: The popular duels with knives in XVII-XX centuries” – fundamental work, dedicated to the history of the appearance, flourishing, and the disappearance of duels with knives in Europe and America.

Since 2014, we turned to a new (for the traditional school) trend – sports knife fighting, which is rapidly gaining popularity, and in such a short period of time in an unusual role for us, we have already made considerable progress.

In 2016 our school celebrates twenty years. Over the years we have done a great job and achieved a lot. So, for example, thanks to long-term efforts of “Sitra Achra” and Denis Cherevichnik to popularize the traditional European schools and styles of knife fighting, ancient Mediterranean schools of knife fighting became known in the former Soviet Union and becoming more popular.

For all this time, we have never changed our principles – despite the familiarity with many schools and techniques, we did not rush from one fighting style to another, and always were loyal only to the Spanish fighting tradition.

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