The whole may be greater than the sum of its parts, but those parts are pretty important and more than a little responsible for what makes a successful community, school, or group. One of the things that I found so very striking about the Austin Historical Weapons Guild, is the people. When I began my sword journey, I was merely looking for a new physical outlet but was blown away by the warm, welcoming community. It has been my desire to start shining a light on those people who made me feel like I belonged and make this school what it is.
Our first victi- err...subject is Andreas!
Andreas hails from Germany, but has been settled in Austin, Texas for some time. He enjoys improv theater, compass steps, and is one of the snappiest HEMA dressers you will see. He has been with the club for roughly a year and a half and in that time he has put forth diligent effort to his training, fellow students, and has even begun assistant teaching beginner courses. It’s safe to say that Andreas is a real asset with his positive attitude and willingness to help others.
How did you find out about HEMA?
I went to a wedding in Germany, where some of the groomsmen were giving a little longsword presentation. Then I saw a short feature by the New York Times called Inside the World of Longsword Fighting which made me search for a local group. That’s how I found the AHWG.
What made you want to try it?
I was looking to practice martial arts again, but at 47 years old I realized that Jiu-Jitsu (which I practiced long ago) would not be in the cards again. Longsword fighting turned out to be relatively gentle on the body, while training endurance, balance, coordination and strength. And it’s a lot of fun.
How long have you been training?
I started in January 2018… so about a year.
How do you feel your HEMA experience has changed over time?
The most perceptible change was muscle memory taking over. And I am happy to be at a place where I feel safe to spar - safe for my partner and myself.
How has HEMA impacted other areas of life?
My balance has become much better. And I made a bunch of new friends. Also… fencing pants are generally good evening attire.
What are your HEMA goals?
I really like to learn new ways to move and to understand the mechanics of the fight. I enjoy the little tweaks and improvements to the techniques and see them in action. And the community, in general, is really great!
Have you been to HEMA events such as workshops and/or tournaments? If so, what were some of your experiences?
I’ve been to two tournaments and participated in one. I really appreciated the camaraderie and the support that people gave each other. For me personally it was really nice to see men bond over the shared experience, giving advice and encouragement and generally being excellent to each other. I think it’s really important to have that experience in your life.
What do you appreciate about your school?
I like that between Anthony and Bryant (note: The two AHWG instructors) we have a great range of areas that are constantly covered - technique, mindset, the joy of the fight as well as body mechanics and safe ways to move.
Fighter: Andreas Fabis
Nicknames: Teutonic Thunder
Favorite Weapon: Longsword
Best HEMA Memory: The first time I threw a Zwerchhau without thinking about it. I remember: I stopped, dropped my sword, took my mask off and did a victory lap through the training hall.
Favorite Drill: Trading blows one after the other with a specific focus on Nachreisen. Then get faster and faster until it becomes a sweet flow.
Favorite Color: Red Purple (author note - it’s always purple, just which shade)
Favorite HEMA Vocabulary Word: Being German most of the archaic words sound pretty funny. “Zornhut” might be it, because you could translate it to modern German as “very angry hat”.