About Us…

F. Braun McAsh…

I’ve been in the professional violence business now for roughly 40 years and am really just starting to appreciate how much I don’t know. I think the first step one takes towards knowledge is being able to admit your ignorance and approach your art with appropriate humility. This is especially true when you’re dealing with the safety of actors, or presuming to teach students self-defense. The day you claim to know it all is a tacit admission of hubris and delusion. Therefore, a day without critical self-examination or review of what you think you know, or without discovering the smallest new grain of knowledge, is a day wasted.

My philosophy? As usual, others have said it better:

“I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” Thomas Carlyle

“A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents.” G. C. Lichtenberg

“A man who wastes one hour of time is one who has not discovered the value of life.” Charles Darwin

“Loyalty to a petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul.” Mark Twain

And barring that, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight!


Joanne L. Bentley

Love that feather pattern...

When I was 16, I remember a brown-belt in my Wado Ryu school telling me “You have spirit.” The expression on his face (in the syntax of a somewhat mature forty-something-er) was one of genuine appreciation; there was nothing gender-related in the comment, and without fully understanding why, I began to appreciate my physicality. My power.

It has long been my conviction too many women abdicate their strength in the presence of a male counterpart or significant other — as if by being physically capable, swift, and strong their femininity would be negated. Nonsense. It is wonderful to surrender to my femininity. It is equally magnificent to know the night belongs as much to me as any other.

So, from this root-place, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with discovering if there really is any truth to the idea of a physical limit. Personally, I believe limits reside only in the mind; the same mind which can produce fantastic feats through the physical bodies in which they reside. So limits, therefore, are choices.

A good friend of mine recently told me “You have the look of a predator.” Considering the beautiful predators I have in my life, namely two falcons and a Red Tail hawk, I’m going to choose to take his observation as a compliment. Balancing this element of my nature with the patient tutelage of my beloved friend and mentor Braun McAsh, it is my desire to connect with the techniques, knowledge and traditions left by the great European masters, and develop these martial skills in new students, wheresoever they may be.

In the great words of King Frederick II von Hohenstaufen, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily in the mid-13th Century, grandfather of modern Falconry:

“A day not spent hawking is a day wasted.”

Take my meaning?


49 Responses to About Us…

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  3. Kriz says:

    I definitely love your internet site but you need to verify the spelling on a number of of your content pieces. A number of of them are rife with spelling errors and I find it very bothersome to be honest nevertheless I probably will come back again.

    • @Dm1n says:

      Hi there;

      Thank you for stopping in to our site; we use Canadian/British spellings for many words in the articles. If you’re American, the spelling differences may seem unfamiliar. Rest assured, as published authors, we both know how to use the language. :)


  4. Narty says:

    Whoah this web site is good i really like reading your posts. Keep up the fantastic work! You know, lots of people are looking around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  5. Sue Hodges says:

    Thank you :) Absolutely fascinating website. Clearly articulated and inspiring. Knew you briefly, Braun, by way of a mutual friend at U of W (decades ago), and feel compelled to congratulate you on your impressive mastery and wish you and your colleagues continued success as you explore this, your passion!!!

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  8. Michael L. McQuown says:

    In hindsight, would you have considered another weapon for MacLeod than the katana?
    At what point does the rapier stop being an edged weapon and becomes pure point? My recollection was that even later rapiers had the top 6″ sharpened.
    At about your age, I am now beginning to work with the sabre, particularly the dueling sabre and the military training weapon. I don’t expect, given the emphysema and cardiac arrhythmia I will ever be a competitor, but I hope to at least be able to spar.
    I do feature swords in my fiction. (Check out my first e-novel, Spooks, at smashwords. If you ever have time, I’d be interested in your comments.)

    • @Dm1n says:

      When you work on a series, you are pretty much stuck with the established weapon. Duncan was given the katana by Hideo Koto after being his second in seppeku. (ironically, this was the first episode I choreographed – the first episode of season three) However, this is a very defined date. In earlier flashback episodes, prior to his receiving the katana, his weapon is usually a basket-hilt claymore or a sword appropriate to the period such as a rapier, military sabre, etc. The katana is a very versatile weapon, capable of being used with one or two hands, right or left, and able to be wielded in reverse-grip. I think, due to this versatility, I would have gravitated to the katana were the choice left up to me.
      There is no definitive date where the rapier becomes pure point. I have seen in the Victoria and Albert museum in London, a few Spanish rapiers whose blade is almost square in cross-section, possessing only a point, but these appear to be rare. Even the Spanish system, the Destreza, allowed for the cut.
      If you follow the evolution of rapier combat, you will see a gradual emphasis on the point since a thrust is faster to deliver than a cut and usually deadlier since a cut rarely kills unless an artery is involved, but a perforation, especially in the abdomen, leads to septicemia. That being said, killing is not always the intent of dueling or fighting and cuts or thrusts to the arms and legs or shoulder can serve to incapacitate without death.
      Go back and examine the works of Agrippa, Capo Ferro, Saviolo, Grassi, Fabris, Giganti, etc (in that order) and you will see a gradual shift from edge dominance to edge-point to almost exclusively point.
      Good luck with your sabre work. It was my first competitive weapon and I continue to teach it, although I concentrate on German Mensur dueling technique and the British military foot and dragoon sabre.

  9. Michael L. McQuown says:

    My apologies. I did not mean that you should buy the book, merely that that it where it is located. If you might be interested, I’ll e-mail you a copy.

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  12. Matt Ward says:

    You two are amazing. The post on the Spanish circle as a template for fencing was crazy. I would love to get into hawking, it seems so BA and Braun reminds me of a warrior Sean Connery!

  13. Leona says:

    Hi, I purchased two coupons for German LongSword THREE 90-Minute German Medieval Longsword Training Classes at The Ring of Steel in Victoria, one for each of my sons (ages 24 and 25). I cannot find a phone number or e-mail address to call about making arrangements. Can you let me know who they should contact?

    Thank you for your time.


    • @Dm1n says:

      According to Daily Island Deals, there were no takers. They never informed me of any sales. Surprising. The course was cancelled – we would require a minimum number of students even to recover the cost of the venue. However, we are planning on offering again as well as a course in rapier. We have taught many courses on the Island so I’m confident that we will succeed in getting the next one up and running.
      I think it might simply have been too close to Christmas. We’ll try again in the Spring and Fall.

      I apologize for this late reply. I hope the cancellation of this particular course won’t put you off.

      I can be reached at 604-459-9738.

      Thank you for your interest. We’ll try again soon.

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  31. Highly descriptive article, I liked that bit. Will there bee a part 2?

    • @Dm1n says:

      On the Mensur, I assume? No. The next article, which I’m just finishing, is on the weapons and training of the Roman legionnaire.

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  39. Terry Nicholls says:

    Hi Braun. Terry Nicholls here. About to take a course in Longsword (Fiore) here in Niagara. Wondering if you have a preference for a synthetic waster that you’d care to share… Looking for one with the best balance. Cheers!

    • @Dm1n says:

      Terry – good to hear from you. I don’t use synthetic weapons except for Cold Steel combat knives and tomahawks, so I’m afraid I don’t have an educated opinion. Never found a synthetic sword that matched the weight and balance of a steel one (provided the steel one is properly made)
      All the best on the Fiore course.

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