All hail the mighty sword

Maple Ridge resident Braun McAsh has studied the art of the sword. He teaches a workshop in the German long sword on June 23.

Braun McAsh has been a professional fight choreographer for 35 years and has trained with some of the most experienced weapon masters in the world.

Braun McAsh has been a professional fight choreographer for 35 years and has trained with some of the most experienced weapon masters in the world.

As he held a sword above his head during a lecture at Science World, Braun McAsh had an epiphany.

“Kingdoms and empires have risen and fallen on a sword,” he told the audience, seemingly in awe of the weapon he held tightly in his hands.

“It’s about understanding the history of what led us to now.”

A professional fight choreographer since 1976, McAsh has more than 120 professional credits in film, television, and in stage productions – including for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and the Canadian Opera Company. But he is best known as the swordmaster for the TV series Highlander and the Highlander movie Endgame.

McAsh’s fascination with rapiers, foils, sabres and scimitars, however, is not merely theatrical.

Originally trained in theatrical combat techniques at the School of Dramatic Art (University of Windsor) and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, (London, England) he has also trained as the personal student of some of the most experienced fight choreographers and weapons masters in the world.

While an actor at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, he trained for more than four years as the personal student of the legendary Paddy Crean, Stratford’s resident fight director. He also studied with William Hobbs, one of the finest film choreographers. His original master was the Hungarian Olympic fencing coach Maestro Istvan Danosi.

“The fact that I’ve been an actor on stage and television, gives me an advantage when approaching the choreography of fight scenes because I am looking at them in context of the script – not just a scene of visual violence,” says McAsh, who recently moved to Maple Ridge.

“A horrendous scene of gratuitous violence tacked on by a third party is totally ridiculous.”

McAsh has studied the art of the sword and researched historically authentic sword techniques in museums all over the world, including France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy, England, Scotland and Wales, the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to sword skills, McAsh has studied unarmed combat for over 40 years and holds two advanced black belts.

“If we don’t understand where we came from, it is very hard to understand where we are going to go,” he says.

For McAsh, the sword, more than any other weapon, changed history. He believes the leaders of today could learn a thing or two from the sword and what it symbolizes.

“In the past, kings actually fought in battle. Nowadays, presidents and prime ministers don’t fight any more,” says McAsh, a self-described pacifist, who knows first hand the horrors of war.

“Henry V led his troops into combat to the point where he actually had a portion of his coronet sheared off.”

The sword is also a symbol of honour and has been for many different countries. In Europe, it was the symbol of knighthood.

“It implied honour, it implied loyalty, it implied service to the nation,” he says.

• Braun McAsh is teaching a workshop on the German longsword, and based on the works of Sigmund Ringeck, Von Danzig, Doebringer and the Wallerstein manuscript. The course takes place Saturday, June 23 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hammond United Church, 11391 Dartford Street in Maple Ridge. Info: or call 604-459-9738.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Born and raised in Maple Ridge, Ernie Daykin is still astonished at this community’s beauty. He recently captured this image of the snow covered peaks of the Golden Ears in the background, and cherry blossoms in the foreground. (Special to The News)
SHARE: View of Golden Ears from many different perspectives

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Spray paint was discovered at Hot Rocks. (Special to The News)
Popular Maple Ridge summer destination vandalized

Rocks discovered with spray paint along South Alouette

Police shut down 240 Street after a single vehicle accident. (The News files)
Maple Ridge man dies following crash

Police believe he went into medical distress before accident

An early morning fire forced the evacuation of a Maple Ridge apartment building on Saturday, April 3 (Deborah Hampton/Special to The News)
City of Maple Ridge thanks volunteers for response to Easter weekend blaze

Emergency Support Services volunteers stepped up to help displaced residents

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Cemetery staff installed the wrong headstone on the grave of Jima Kiir, even though the headstone’s photo did not match with the photo placed on the grave. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford mother upset city placed wrong headstone on son’s grave

Cemetery staff mix up graves of 2 recently deceased men from South Sudanese community

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
Puppies stolen during weekend break-and-enter in South Surrey

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s assistance in locating three American Bulldog puppies

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Most Read