Introduction to Chetki

Aroundsquare’s chetki are our take on the classic “Russian prison beads”. They are designed for flipping, much like a balisong or a set of begleri, and with practice, a wide variety of tricks and combinations can be performed. But as the name suggests, these beads have a unique back story.

The term chetki (четки) translates literally to rosary or prayer rope, including both Christian and Islamic styles. But as the story goes, prisoners in Russian jails have historically been prohibited from carrying them due to their potential use as weapons. However, the linear, short style of chetki have been permitted in prisons. With idle time to pass, the flipping of chetki became common, and secular models designed with flipping in mind have proliferated, often sporting engraved "tattoos" matching those of their owners, or other images of significance. Over time, the manipulation of perekidnye (flipping) chetki (перекидные четки) has developed into an art in its own right, and the secular embodiments of the beads designed purely for flipping have begun to proliferate.

Aroundsquare's line of perekidnye chetki, beginning with the "pozvonoks", and followed by the "remeshoks" brings our contemporary take on this intriguing tool, with clean and minimalist designs focused on playability. The feel will be familiar to begleri players, but the mechanics actually have a lot in common with balisong flipping as well. They fit comfortably in the pocket and offer a fresh approach to exercising the fingers, sharpening the focus, and passing time.

Check out our YouTube playlist including chetki tutorials, restrining, and more. The video below is an old teaser we put out when we released our first chetki, the Pozvonoks. To view our full chetki collection, visit our collection page