NicholasSaballos How did you hear about WingChun?
Through a couple of friends of mine. I have some mutual friends with Sihing Brandon and they all knew about WingChun and talked about it when we were in high school. That was about nine years ago.

What motivated you to try your first class?
I was looking for a martial art. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. At the time, I figured anything would do.

What made you join the Academy?
The people. I didn’t and admittedly still don’t know much about martial arts in general. But the people who would become my first group of training partners were a bunch of really great people. And they stuck with me for a year. I’ll never forget those guys, we had a pretty big group. They made the experience fun so I really wanted to come back every night.

Why is attending Regular Class important to you?
There is no other time when there are that many available (and willing) bodies around us. It is the only time we have to practice our technique against another water and bone filled meat sack. That direct physical time is crucial to the development of technique and tactics. Training partners are important. WingChun could not be practiced without them.

How do you practice at home?
With a focus on one or two ideas, usually whatever I feel is my weakest at the time. Then I bust out reps to make it more comfortable. Truth be told, I’m never 100% happy with it!

Describe what aspect of WingChun you most enjoy training.
I like training the part where I hit the bad guy and they go down.

What makes WingChun unique?
I only know WingChun, so any assumption I make of our uniqueness could not be totally accurate. I do not want to misrepresent our system.

How would you sum up WingChun in one word?
“Collision-y”, meaning high-impact.

Explain your favorite WingChun principle, concept or motto.
Motto #1: If you think you are too weak, you are. I very much like this idea! There’s no sugar-coating it. Improvement takes work and work requires blood, sweat and tears from everyone. Strength is being able to overcome this difficult period of evolution. This is true in all different aspects of our lives. A person who does not believe in themselves will not be able to dig deep and go the distance — in anything.

Define the qualities of an ideal WingChun practitioner.
First, humility. Anyone should be willing to learn from someone who knows more regardless of rank or age. Second, honesty. The 17th century swordsman Miyamoto Mushashi said, “Do not think dishonestly, the way is in training.” To me, this means that regardless of what skill or rank you have achieved, it’s still just time to roll your sleeves up and get to work. Hard work is honesty. You earn your talent, you can’t steal it. And third, strength. It takes guts to go the distance in anything. This requires personal strength.

What are your long-term WingChun goals?
First Technician Grade. And when I get there, then it’ll be Second Technician Grade.

What hooked you to WingChun?
It’s blunt, like me. We get along fine because we understand each other!

How do you apply WingChun in life?
Efficiency. I hate sloppiness and inefficiency. Getting things done as necessary because they need to be done. WingChun has improved my ability to see inefficiency so I am far more productive than I used to be. My father always said, “Whatever you do, do it right.” I always believed this, but WingChun internalized it for me.